He doesn't have a commercial space yet, but Ricardo Palacio -- who dreams of having his own bake shop and eventually, his own restaurant -- is turning out some mighty fine-looking sweets from his kitchen at home. In fact, his Facebook pix alone are enough to send those of us who are sugar-susceptible into a swoon.
What can you buy at Catrinas Bake Shop -- a space more cyber than physical at the moment? Palacio says he'll custom-make just about anything anyone wants, including artisanal breads, cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cheesecakes and cookies. Here's how it usually works:
Customers call Palacio with an idea, and he chats with them about how he might customize the item in question, making it more one-of-a-kind. Once the brainstorming and collaboration part is over, he sets to work. At this stage, he prefers a three-day heads-up, but if you're in a jam, he'll do his best to get the goodies to you sooner. And by the way, unless you live in Queen Creek, Surprise or some other Metro Timbuktu, he very likely delivers.
And in case, you're wondering who Ricardo Palacio might be, and why you'd throw your hard-earned money at him, rest assured, he's got some street cred. His 10-year resume includes stints with Sam Fox and Upward Projects (Craig DeMarco's family of restaurants) at True Food Kitchen, The Arrogant Butcher, Windsor and Churn.
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Palacio says he's self-taught and his Hispanic grandmother, a wonderful cook who also dreamed of her own bake shop, is his inspiration. That's why the named his fledgling business after La Catrina, the lady skeleton in the hat who's considered a Day of the Dead icon.
Palacio, who uses fresh eggs from his backyard chickens, doesn't have set prices for everything yet, so you'll have to ask when you call him at 602-350-3435. But his 9-inch cheesecake (his specialty) costs $35, and his pineapple upside-down cake, baked in a 12-inch cast iron skillet, goes for $25.
If you want to get hungry in a hurry, check out his Facebook page.