The summer after my freshman year of college, I spent six weeks in Cuernavaca, Mexico, studying Spanish. I lived with a family, and the Mexican pastries we had for breakfast every morning are a favorite memory of that summer. In my mind, I can still conjure their flaky, cinnamony, sugary goodness.
Thankfully, I don’t have to head south of the Rio Grande to get my sweet tooth filled. I just head over to Chico’s Bakery at 9155 South Zarzamora on San Antonio’s South Side. At Chico’s, you will find a gigante (hee-gahn-tay) assortment of baked goods: cookies, cakes, donuts, empanadas, cupcakes, pan de huevo, pies and more.
Chico’s owner, Jose Raul Garza, counted 95 different choices the day I was there, including a Hello Kitty cookie. Jose Vasquez, one of Chico’s three bakers, said that he arrives at 4 a.m. every morning to make sure the shelves are full.
My two favorite items, by far, are Chico’s polvorones de canela and their wedding cookies. My husband and daughter are also huge fans, so life is mucho mejor (may-hor) when I bring home of bag of these treats. (February 2015 update: Chico’s is now owned by Michelle and Eli, who’ve renovated the look of the shop. I bought some polvorones and some wedding cookies, and I’m happy to report that they taste just as good. Why? Same bakers!)
Chico’s Bakery is open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. every day except Monday. Their phone number is (210) 922-4793. For those who’d like something savory before the sweets, Paulina’s Mexican Restaurant is close by.