A couple of teenagers in low-slung jeans and white sneakers have dropped by for an after-school snack. "Those free?" asks one of the boys, nodding toward discounted bags of day-old pastries piled on a rolling metal cart. They lean against the glass counter, taking in the dozens of galletas (cookies), and finally settle on a half-dozen rainbow-colored pressed butter cookies shaped like wreaths and four-leaf clovers.
"The hardest part is seeing the neighborhood kids grow up so fast," Rose says.
"And finding time off to spend with the family," her sister-in-law adds from her perch. The bakery is open daily, save for a handful of holidays and two weeks in August.
"Papa always liked to say, 'The sun rises for everyone, you just have to work hard to make it happen," Valencia continues. "And you do have to get along with all the in-laws and out-laws to work here, that's for sure."
La Mascota Bakery
2715 Whittier Blvd. Los Angeles