Concha rolls are never far from my mind, seeing as I'm on a permanent quest to find the best concha in Mexico City.
The subject came up again on Saturday night, when my friend Jesica urged me to give Maque
another chance. We were sipping tequila at a local lounge. "They're really good!" Jesica said, as the music pumped at the bar. "I promise!" I'd banished the Condesa bakery from my list a few months ago, after tasting one concha and finding it dry and bland. But it is possible I got a bum batch. So I went back to Maque on Tuesday morning. As soon as I sat down, a waiter appeared and asked if I'd like a piece of bread. "The concha," I said, firmly. He chose a particularly large chocolate concha from his basket, and set it on my plate. It looked beautiful. (That's it above.) I took my knife and fork, and gently sliced off a piece. Took a bite, and.... The chocolate coating was powdery, almost sandy. Like they'd wiped the concha around the floor as a Swiffer. I poked away at the coating with my fork and tried a piece of the bread. It was... okay. Soft enough, but almost... papery tasting. And an off-buttery flavor lurked in the background. I declared it dead after four bites. The point is: I really trust Jesica's opinion, and Maque has a great reputation here in Mexico City. Am I missing something? Are the conchas at Bondy actually Americanized, and I just don't know it? I had them again about a week ago, and they were the stuff of dreams. A toasted-sugar, almost creamy chocolate coating lay on the bread, which was so soft, you could probably mash it with the underside of your fork and it would stick. It was like the center of a cinnamon roll. (But without the cinnamon.) Oh man, oh man, oh MAN. But maybe that isn't Mexican at all. Well. The next steps in my Best Concha of Mexico City test are visits to Sak's, La Casita del Pan in Coyoacan, Pastelería Suiza in Condesa (just because I want an excuse to go there), and on the advice of reader Alice,
La Casa del Pastor. And need to make my own conchas, just so I can figure out how difficult this really is.