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BEST PANADERÍA (BAKERY) Phoenix 2005 - Flores Bakery

We miss the good ol' days when, instead of a 7-Eleven or Circle K, every neighborhood had its own little grocery pit stop right around the corner. Flores Bakery in Guadalupe is just that kind of place, an old-fashioned blast from the past with exceptional baked goodies to boot. Besides the usual quick packaged snacks, you'll find a small meat counter serving up fresh tortas with carnitas and barbacoa, as well as prepared masa for homemade tortillas, premade tortillas, sopes and crispy tostaditas. But Flores Bakery's shining glory is its traditional Mexican pan dulce (sweet bread) in a variety of colorfully decorated shapes and flaky puff pastry orejas (or palmas, buttery palm-shaped sweet pastries). Rich tres leches cake is de rigueur here, as well as cream-cheese-slathered carrot cake. We tried one of the gigante puffy turnovers filled with slightly sweetened apple filling and sprinkled with large-grained turbinado sugar, which was over-the-top delicious. But Flores' specialty, in our minds, at least, is its bolillos con crema y jalapeños. The very thought of these soft, French-style rolls stuffed with huge hunks of fresh cream cheese and vinegary jalapeño slices baked to a golden brown makes us whimper uncontrollably.
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