As you've probably already guessed, at any given moment of the day, I'm thinking about food in some form or another. I get obsessed with ingredients quickly -- panela cheese! mangoes! mamey! -- and then the obsession peters out, replaced by the next thing. Lately, hovering about it all, is my obsession with the concha roll. Bondy
started this whole business. A few weeks after we moved here, we went there for breakfast, and the waiters presented us with the lushest, softest concha I'd ever seen. This was not the bland concha of my American childhood. I took a bite and felt myself lifting up out of my seat, my spirit transported to the clouds, where piles of rainbow-colored conchas frolicked in rays of God-light.
Since then I've tried to find a concha that's equal to or better than Bondy. I hadn't had much luck so far, but then I heard about Maque, a Condesa café on Parque Mexico. My guidebooks raved about Maque's conchas. So we went last Sunday for breakfast. A friend warned us to get there before noon, because the tables fill up quickly. Just before noon, there was already a 30 minute wait, and the smell of baking bread enveloped the entrance and teased everyone. Waitresses in long, light-blue dresses and white scalloped aprons bustled around with trays of pan dulce, offering bisquets, cuernitos, cinnamon rolls and tiny baby conchas to the customers sitting outside. I tried to ignore the rumbling in my stomach. Finally, we got a table, and our waitress took our coffee order and rushed away. I stared longingly at a tray of bread nearby. A few minutes later, she appeared again. This time clutching the tray and a pair of tongs. "A piece of sweet bread?" she asked. I pointed at a caramel-colored baby concha. "And for you sir?" Crayton got a cuernito. She placed the concha on my little white plate, and I prepared my fork and knife. Oh man. This was it! This was it
. I took a bite of the concha and... Disappointment. It was on the dry side. And bland. The crunchy, quilted crust was nice, but it was definitely not as good as a concha from Bondy. I decided not to even take a picture of it. When she came around the next time, I ordered a bisquet with a dollop of queso.
It was dense and buttery, and much better. I'm not going to rule out Maque yet. Maybe our rolls were old. Maybe new ones had just came out of the oven, but a mean waitress grabbed them and served them to another table. Maybe the larger conchas taste much better, and everyone knows that but me. I'm going to give them one more chance. And the next time I'm there, I might have to sneak in a taste of their cinnamon rolls, too.