Cesia’s Bakery

1 Jul 2011
Cheap Eat (up to $7)
West Huntsville
4 out of 5

Shane’s Take

I love pastries and baked goods. They are delicious and fun to eat. Except for pizza, I rarely can think of anything I’d rather eat than pastries. Of all the awesome sites we saw in Paris a few months ago, two things stick out: Eiffel Tower and countless delicious pastry shops. To my delight, while driving down Bob Wallace the other night, I looked right as we passed the building that houses Little Caesar’s and China Taste and noticed a new proprietor in the old Soul Burger spot: Cesia’s Bakery, Panaderia Mexicana. Mexican pastries? Sweet maria, we’ve gotta go there. So we did.

Cesia’s is not aimed at the fru-fru pastry crowd. It lacks all the embellishments and decor and foolishness that adorn an American-owned joint: no romantic pictures of bread on the wall, no Hobby Lobby cookie jars, no “Free Wifi!” sign, no Coldplay. Instead, there is a countertop, a register, a Blue Bell ice cream freezer, a double-door glass case of pastries, a Pepsi fridge full of flan, and a TV blasting Univision (for the proprietor, mind you, not you). Atop the counter sit three trays, each one containing a pair of tongs. The idea is simple: walk in, grab a tray, pick out your pastries, and pay.

Bread Pudding

Once we understood the self-serve arrangement, it was us, a tray, a pair of tongs, and baked goods. With some help from the cashier (we were struggling to help ourselves), we chose three treats:

  • A block of bread pudding: Unlike other bread puddings I’ve enjoyed, it was not covered in syrup or doused in rum, and the pudding was more bread than pudding. It had a nice if unusual flavor and was less sweet than a typical American bread pudding.
  • A filled holeless donut: Think of a slightly heavy deep-fried pastry sandwich covered in sugar and filled with a yellow filling. I also enjoyed this pastry, although it was a bit greasy and like the bread pudding lacked the sweetness of an Americanized pastry. I don’t know what flavor the filling was given, but it tasted pretty good.
  • A square of flan: Of the three items we chose, the flan tasted the best, although I was underwhelmed since it didn’t have the amusing foreign touch the other pastries had.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience. The atmosphere of the store isn’t spectacular, but it has a truly authentic feel. None of the food was pinch-me-I’m-dreaming delicious, but it was all interesting, flavorful, and fun. Plus, it was $3. Three dollars! We got three treats, lots of help from a cashier who now surely thinks the natives are dumb, and a 5-minute trip to a foreign bakery for $3. I’ll be returning soon.

Mexican Pastry

A few other notes:

  • I don’t know that I’ve been to a place in America that reminded me so much of being in a foreign country. It’s great.
  • Nothing we ordered was particularly sweet, but that’s not a complaint: American food, like much of our culture, is a bit over the top, often annoyingly so.
  • Unlike many bakeries, Cesia’s is open late (9:00 pm). The pickin’s were slim when we went at 8:20, but who else is open then?
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