Panaderia Rio Lempa
9271 S Gessner Dr, Houston, Texas 77074
MY REVIEW: Like many panaderias this place has kolaches, donuts and croissants on the menu. I was attracted by the signs in the window and the fact they seldom seem to lack for customers, although it's a very small place. The American/Texan style pastries are all made with a bready-egg dough and are heavier than what I'm used to; the croissants are not flaky at all.
They also carry a number of Salvadoran products including several cheeses and crema, some with the Rio Lempa brand on them (Lempa is a river in El Salvador). The Salvadoran pastries I've had here have not been as dry as what I've gotten at other Salvadoran panaderias. The Maria Luisa, a moist, dense cake, perhaps made with cream cheese, with a milk pudding layer, has more filling than other places; the version of this with pineapple filling is very good. The semitas are also good - in El Salvador this refers to a moist cake made with cream cheese, not a bread. They have sandwiches on the menu and also offer tortas and breakfast tacos. Salvadoran tamales are my favorite because they're commonly very moist but here the tamal de elote was dry, almost like a steamed corn bread -- not bad, just not what I prefer. I haven't tried the riquas or pupusas.
The most interesting item from the steam table was sardines in a chile sauce; they were very large sardines and much better than those in cans. Another interesting item I haven't been able to decipher the name for is yuca shavings, balled up and fried - sort of like a hash browned potato patty made with yuca. Because it was yuca, of course, it was pretty chewy.
Everything is very modestly priced.
The menu on the wall is all in English but none of the staff I've encountered speaks good English. However they've all been very friendly and helpful in answering my questions to the best of their ability.
SUBMITTED: 3/25/2008 LAST VISIT WAS: 03.08
FREQUENCY: Visited 4-6 times
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