Let me preface this article by saying that I rarely venture off campus. On the whole, I stick to USC’s three main dining halls, and if I’m feeling crazy, I’ll go to the campus center or Trojan Grounds. But all of that changed when my Writing 150 teacher brought into class the best pastries I have ever had. I knew from the moment I bit into La Monarca Bakery’s Dulce de Leche croissant that I had found a true gem, and that no distance was going to stop me from getting there.
I try to stay within the bounds of USC, but unfortunately, La Monarca Bakery is not a place I could get to by walking. That left me with one option—take an Uber. On the day I decided to take an Uber with my brother to La Monarca Bakery, there was a surge. It was 3.5X the normal fare, and I STILL went, so that should be an indicator of how incredible this bakery is.
As soon as I pulled up to La Monarca Bakery, I could smell delicious croissants and pastries inside. Across the street from the bakery was a practicing mariachi band, and kids playing and singing Spanish songs because it was late evening. The bakery is located in a mainly Latino neighborhood, and you can definitely tell when you walk in and see the rows of freshly made Mexican pastries.
When I walked into La Monarca Bakery, it was quiet and brightly lit, and I was greeted with the welcoming staff and the delightful scent of Mexican coffee. Before I get into their pastries, let me say that their coffee is just as good. Mexican coffee is definitely a step above your average Starbucks. It is a bit sweeter and, similar to Mexican hot chocolate, has more of a cinnamon taste, and overall makes it feel like the holidays instead of a regular Tuesday evening.
I scanned the two cases of pastries, the pastries on the front counter, and the refrigerated case. After a lot of impatient foot-tapping from my brother, I finally decided on a dulce de leche filled cuernito, a dulce de leche filled croissant, a chocolate filled croissant, and a cheese danish for my brother. I also picked out a slice of espresso flan for my brother and I to “share”.
Now it came time for the best part of the trip—the taste testing. I was curious to what exactly a dulce de leche “cuernito” was, because though I have taken Spanish all throughout high school, I had never heard of a cuernito. After a bite, I discovered that it is a long flaky pastry, that is filled-to-bursting with dulce de leche filling. It was so delicious that I even considered eating the one I had bought to take home for my friend (I felt bad, so I didn’t). I definitely recommend the espresso flan as well. Flan is a traditional dessert that takes a lot of time and expertise and, at La Monarca Bakery, it tastes so much better than anything I’ve made with a mix. Lastly, I tried the chocolate croissant, which was so much flakier and had more chocolate than my usual chocolate croissant at Starbucks.
La Monarca Bakery is definitely not your average bakery. Yes, it has cakes and bread like a traditional bakery, but it stands out with its offerings of so many uniquely filled pastries, with flavors like dulce de leche or pineapple, and Mexican desserts like flan. But the best part about it is that everything is made fresh throughout the day, so you can stop by on a Tuesday night, like I did, and still find everything you’re looking for. La Monarca Bakery has eight locations throughout Los Angeles, and a coffee and pastry will only cost you about $8, which is definitely worth it once you taste how amazing they are. So, even though you may be used to a tall Starbucks and chocolate croissant from Trojan Grounds, let me tell you, it is so worth it to make the trek to La Monarca Bakery.