In case you didn't plan ahead for Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, and made your own pan de muerto (this recipe is from Diana Kennedy's "The Art of Mexican Cooking" and you should definitely try it, but including rising times it takes several hours), Mexican bakeries are stocked for the two-day celebration that starts Thursday evening (All Saints' Day) and ends Friday morning (All Souls' Day).
Pan de muerto, a traditional part of the festivities that commemorate friends and family who have died, is shaped into a mound and decorated with bone-shaped pieces of dough to symbolize an offering to the dearly departed.
La Monarca's pan de muerto, for example (pictured above), is topped with dough pieces flavored with orange zest and sprinkled with sugar so that the exterior is crunchy and crackly and slightly sweet.
Here are five L.A. panaderias to try, for pan de muertos or your everyday conchas and conas:
- La Favorita Bakery, 2305 E 4th St., Los Angeles, (323) 265-4445.
- Panaderia La Fama, 420 N. Ford Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 265-4587.
- La Monarca, 6365 Pacific Blvd., Huntington Park, (323) 585-5500; 5700 E. Whittier Blvd., Commerce, (323) 869-8800; 1300 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 451-1114; www.lamonarcabakery.com.
- El Gallo Bakery, 4546 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 263-5528, www.elgallobakery.com.
- La Mascota Bakery, 2715 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 263-5513, www.lamascotabakery.com.