Newly opened La Azteca Tienda and Panaderia in Lakewood is one part grocery store, one part bakery. Enter and look to the left to see a line of bakery cases filled with pan dulce, cookies, doughnuts and slices of cake.
To the right, you will find a grocery story with narrow aisles crammed with everything from pinatas to a wall of spices.
Here are five pan dulce to try at the bakery. Items are priced as low as 33 cents each, up to $1-$2. Find tongs and trays beneath the bakery case to serve yourself.
Cochinitos: These pig-shaped cookies are sort of like a cross between gingerbread and a molasses cookie. The cookie is mildly spiced and comes with a bready, soft texture.
Concha buns: These buns are molded to look like conch shells and usually come in vivid colors. One bite into the bright pink concha and I knew that it had been out of the oven a few hours.
Pumpkin empanada: I cracked open the sugar-dusted turnover to reveal a lightly sweetened and spiced pumpkin filling that was thick and sticky.
Flaky croissants: Be prepared to mess up your clothes with a single bite of the shattery, crisp croissants.
Galettas with jam: This delicious, oversized sugar cookie came with a big dollop of jam pressed and baked into the center. This was my favorite item of the tour.
More pan dulce: Earlier this year, I toured all of Pierce County’s Mexican bakeries in search of the region’s best pan dulce (Mexican sweet breads, rolls and pastries). Find the article at bit.ly/2i13wJ3.
La Azteca Tienda and Panaderia
Where: 8534 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood; 253-733-9044, facebook.com/Lakewoodazteca.