Gallo Blanco, the Garfield neighborhood gem, has added to its menu of Mexican specialties, assembling a thoughtful roster of coffees, cookies, and pan dulce.
Together, they aren't a seismic change by owner Doug Robson but a cool new layer that regulars and sugar-seekers will appreciate. And the best thing about these additions is that you can get them whenever Gallo is open, boosting not only dinner but Gallo's nice breakfast scene.
It all starts with the pan dulce. This Mexican sweet bread is sexy stuff.
Each loaf is about the diameter of a softball. The outer shell is checked with stark squares of sugar, deep-set furrows running like canyons between them. These sugar squares are created after punching down the dough following the initial rise. Plain sugar or sugar laced with chocolate is spread over the dough. The dough is then scored with a knife. As the bread cooks and puffs, the squares become increasingly defined.
Robson says that pan dulce is eaten all the time for breakfast in Mexico. On a recent trip to Mexico City, his hometown, Robson downed pan dulce for breakfast just about every day.
"Essentially, it's a yeast-risen bread which they sweeten up with sugar," he says. "In Mexico, it varies from town to town."
Robson developed his pan dulce, cookie, and latte recipes with Gallo Blanco's chef, Carlos Eizada. They landed on the menu last Friday, March 16.
To go or not go with the bread, Gallo now serves a line of coffee drinks. They are made with beans from Presta Coffee Roasters in Tucson.
That line includes your standard cappuccinos and lattes. On the more unconventional end, the line includes a few coffee drinks that take cues from the south, from Mexico and the great coffee culture of Cuba.
At Gallo, you can drink mocha powered by a fudge sauce made from Mexican chocolate. There's a latte made with cajeta, goat's milk caramel. The restaurant's cortadito is an espresso with sugar that would be done in the Cuban style if it weren't for the use of piloncillo, Mexican brown sugar, which pulls the influence west across the Caribbean Sea. Gallo, too, is doing a Spanish latte with just an echo of sweetness.
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The restaurant's new cookie game is traditional and delivers. Huge discs of chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and double chocolate (white and milk) cookies are coming out of its ovens. Don't miss the Mexican wedding cookie, coated in a sugar blizzard but for the apple-like membrillo, quince jam, right in the middle.
Things at this Garfield hangout just got a little bit tastier.
Gallo Blanco. 928 East Pierce Street; 602-327-0880.
Tuesday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to midnight; Saturday 8 a.m. to midnight; Sunday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Monday.