The Barry Bonds of Bakeries

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Barry Bonds was amazing.  I’m not only talking about the fact that he was, quite possibly, the most feared hitter in Major League Baseball history.  The size of his head is just a wonder to behold.  It’s like someone stuck a pumpkin on top of his shoulders.  Amazing.  More impressive than his massively buff skull, was his almost fifty pounds of weight gain throughout his illustrious career.  He packed on most of the muscle after the age of 35.  He did it gradually, over a span of about two weeks.  In an era where steroids were as commonplace as gravity, Bonds did it with nothing more than hard work, good nutrition, and a clear cream.  Quite simply, amazing!

Which brings me to my most recent culinary find: Porto’s Bakery in Glendale, CA.  Garnering lofty praise from both national food writers and local bloggers for some time, Porto’s has a non-pretentious charm set amidst the eclectic boutiques and cafes of Brand Ave.  The place is gargantuan, busy and efficient.  There’s always a line, but the half dozen or so workers behind the glass-encased goodies keep it moving.  I despise lines.  Usually, the BBQthDirector will attempt to visit a food establisment during slow times.  I don’t think there is such a thing at Porto’s.  And for good reason.

It is, quite simply, amazing.

I was somewhat thankful for the long lines.  It gave me the opportunity to do some recon, peruse the inventory.  It was a feast for the eyes.  Everything looked sooooo good!  For the first time in my life, money was not an issue.  I didn’t care one bit what anything cost.  I was going to purchase what I wanted.  I was dead set on stimulating the economy in one fell swoop.

IMG_2166With some realistic encouragement from my BBQ Honey, I came to my senses and settled on a few items: one apricot danish, one brownie, one chocolate croissant, two raspberry kisses, and two tres leches kisses.  The treats filled a dozen-donut box.  To our surprise and relief, all this yummiliciousness cost less than a dozen donuts, just over five bucks!  I dare you to find more perfect croissants.  Buttery, flakey and buttery, they’re a treat in themselves.  Dip the ends in high-end european chocolate and … *drools and loses focus*  The other items were all equally evil, the apricot danish being my BBQ Honey’s fave.

With the realization that my five dollars and change worth of spending would probably not be quite enough to officially end the recession, I jumped back into line (I really do despise lines).  This time, I made a bee-line for the hot counter that was adorned with savory appetizer-sized goodies.  Bedazzled by the om- nom-nom-ness of this incredible food, I forgot to take pictures.  Let me attempt to paint pictures with words.  Potato Ball (excellent) – mashed potato filled with a tasty ground beef mixture (similar in taste to filipino menudo, which is nothing like Mexico’s tripe-filled counter-part), breaded and deep fried to a beautiful golden brown deliciousness.  Chicken Croquette (better than excellent) – a creamy rice mixture with diced chicken, breaded and deep fried.  Ham Croquette (very good) – same thing but with ham.  Meat Pie (good) – seasoned ground meat wrapped up in a pleasantly flakey phyllo dough.  Chorizo Empanada (excellent) – a classic dense crust filled with very tasty, slightly spicy, not-at-all greasy chorizo sausage; the telling feature is the pronounced chile flavor of the meat.  Quite a bit of yummiliciousness, but still not enough to stimulate the economy.  Once again, just over five bucks.  And we were stuffed.  Do the math and you’ll be impressed to note that we spent about 11 bucks for an amazing breakfast for two.

We made a return trip the very next day.  The only reason we didn’t come back the same day was because we went to a Pastor’s retreat 200 miles away in Pismo Beach.  We made Porto’s our dinner stop on the way home.  Croquettes, potato balls, and an apricot danish all made repeat appearances.  We experimented with the following items:  Red Velvet Cupcake (very good) – moist and yummy (I never use the word yummy), with a great cream cheese frosting; topped with red sprinkles and a rose petal.  Fresh fruit tart (excellent) – this item was picked pretty much for its visual appeal (pictured below with cupcake in background), but it also packed a wallop of a gastronomical punch; this is really saying a lot, coming from a guy who normally picks heavy, rich, chocolatey desserts.  Rellenitos (weird) – plaintains and black beans; must be a cultural thing; not gross, just not my thing.  Cinnamon Rolls (very good) – I like mine gooey-er.  Cheese Rolls (beyond excellent, approaching legendary) – I have no words; seriously, I’ll buy a dozen of these next time.

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Good thing my church has an addictions program.

Porto's Bakery (Glendale) on Urbanspoon

For more food talk, check out my food blog: The FUNdamental Foodie.

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34 comments so far

  1. Renae on

    It all sounds good! Of course I am hungry and it is 10:30 pm 🙂

  2. Daniel Ashton on

    So does this mean that the bakery is injected steroids and stuff into their baked goods??

  3. runnerforchrist on

    your restaurant reviews make me want to move to california! 🙂

  4. ally from the westside on

    great post!!

    i grew up in glendale just a couple miles from portos and remember how cramped it was before they added the cafe. there are some great bakeries here in west l.a. but nothing that comes close to the value of portos. my heart fluttered at the sight of the tres leches kisses! you need to try the guave cheese rolls and anything with mango!

  5. janet2000 on

    Now to talk the hubby into going shopping at the Glendale Galleria….

  6. jaynepomuceno on

    Daniel, I made no steroid accusations! Let’s go ahead and beat Jen to the punch: Bonds NEVER tested positive for steroids!

    runner, where ya from?

    Ally, thanks for stopping by! Ever been to Mani’s Bakery? It used to be our favorite bakery.

  7. L.A. Food Bloggin on

    Yes, definitely one of the best in the L.A. area. It’s been a few years, I think I’m overdue for a chocolate croissant!

  8. Erika on

    Awesome sandwiches, too! I never really liked pickles on a sandwich until I had the Cubano. And ditto what a previous commenter said about the Gauva Cheese Rolls!

    They now have a location in Burbank.

  9. Sylvie on

    That fruit tart looks so good!

    What are the kisses?

  10. flowersbymegan on

    Never been to the bakery, but my boss occasionally caters our lunches with Porto’s goodies and brings a Porto’s cake for birthdays! Everything is great! He sure knows how to keep his workers happy!

  11. rachelle on

    lol @ describing portos treats as “evil”

    you’re so right! 🙂

  12. jaynepomuceno on

    Sylvie, the kisses are a shortbread type cookie shaped into a huge kiss, filled with either raspberry or dulce de leche (i think). Very, very good!

  13. Jessie on

    In a few weeks their pumpkin empanadas should come out. Pure evil. You’ve been warned!

  14. Michelle on

    Great post, Jay! I’m a contributing writer at L.A. Food Bloggin. Your Famous Dave’s campaign got me hooked. Your reviews are always informative and very entertaining. Keep up the wonderful blogging!

    Now I’m getting in the car to go to Porto’s!

  15. Becka on

    Oh, Man…so hungry. 🙂

  16. jaynepomuceno on

    Wow, all these first time commenters! Welcome, folks! That’s the power of Porto’s for ya! Anyway, I must confess, we’ve been back a couple more times in the past week (making it four visits in five days–yes, officially addicted). Tried the Guava & Cheese Danish and Coconut Pineapple Cake, both of which were fabulous!

  17. elmer on

    don’t fight the addiction, man. resistance is futile.

  18. Jen on

    lol, wow, hatin’ on Bonds again huh? One of these days the Padres will pick up a power hitter and then you won’t have to be hatin’ anymore. 🙂

  19. runnerforchrist on

    oconomowoc, wi! pretty much smack dab between milwaukee and madison (if that helps any!) 🙂

  20. runnerforchrist on

    and, yes, i love cheese curds, too! 🙂

  21. Becka on

    Hey, runnerforchrist, I used to babysit some kids in Oconomowoc. Went to Maranatha.

  22. jaynepomuceno on

    A power hitter in San Diego? Wow, one can dream….

    Oconomo-huh??

  23. Becka on

    Oh-cahn-oh-moh-wahc. lol That is my phonetics. More confusing? Ask Jen, she can tell you.

  24. Daniel Ashton on

    It isn’t that hard to pronounce Oconomowac once you have heard it a couple of times, but until then it i really easy to butcher.

  25. zaza on

    “a day with jay” should start out at porto’s. i mean it is virtually ‘on the way’ to everywhere! =)

    btw, iam starving right now and the pics look so good!

  26. jaynepomuceno on

    Zaza, that’s why you were H.S. valedictorian.

  27. zaza on

    lol. i know, i know. thx! (i wasnt though, but we dont tell anyone, k?) haha =)

  28. jenmarie on

    Oconomowac…Sigh. I miss Wisconsin and all it’s funny sounding names.

  29. jaynepomuceno on

    Seriously?? Why am I thinking you were the star of the show?

    Maybe I’m just getting old.

  30. […] with its dozens of choices, is one-stop shopping for my food research (read my original review here).  I am commited to trying something new with each lovin’ visit.  With passionate praise […]

  31. […] their cakes pale in comparison to their pastries and hot savory items (read my two other reviews here and here).  Don’t get me wrong, the Parisian (chocolate cake with chocolate whipped cream […]

  32. […] has a bit of a culinary crush on Porto’s Bakery in Glendale (read my cyber alter-ego reviews here and here).  Good thing Porto’s is 40+ miles away or we’d have some trouble making the […]

  33. […] California: A state legislature with a clue. Los Angeles: New water mains. My Hometown, La Verne: A Porto’s Bakery (which would technically be a gift to me, but hey….). Becka B: A new sump pump. Jen D: A guy […]

  34. […] originally reviewed Porto’s after discovering it in September of 2009 (read the review here).  We live about 35 miles from Glendale but managed to return four times that week.  We came to […]


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