Rico Pollo won't fly on Federal, but San Antonio Mexican Bakery rises above the fray
Fortunately, I was mentally prepared to scout for more food -- and salvation awaited just a few doors up the sidewalk. The yeasty aroma of fresh-baked treats wafting from the San Antonio Mexican Bakery and Juice Bar held the promise of absolving the sins of my depressing lunch.
As at many Mexican bakeries, the variety of breads and pastries at San Antonio is almost overwhelming. In well-stocked panaderias, I love walking from case to case with my cafeteria tray and metal kitchen tongs, choosing from mostly unlabeled shelves of buns, rolls, turnovers, biscuits and cookies. For about half of what I paid for an unsatisfying meal at Rico Pollo, I was able to fill a sack with treats that included a pecan tart that would put most Southern grannies to shame, a pumpkin empanada, a flaky cinnamon crisp and a bolillo con queso y jalapeño (the queso being cream cheese, in this case).
I saw no evidence that the juice bar was operational, though: no menu, blenders, jars of aguas frescas, or bubblers full of horchata or jugo de naranja. Hopefully this was just an oversight on my part, because fresh juice and pastries seem like the perfect way to join my Federal Boulevard neighbors on a Saturday morning, especially after a night of overindulging. I will in solidarity don my flannel pajama pants and Ugg boots, dart past the charred-fat aromas emanating from Rico Pollo, and give in to the temptation of San Antonio's baked goods.
Now if only I could get a good cup of coffee around here.