Be sure to breathe deeply when walking through the doors of San Rafael Panaderia y Pasteleria Bakery, because you don’t want to miss the smell of freshly baked bread and pan dulce.
San Rafael opened this month on South Tacoma Way, in the heart of Lakewood’s Korean neighborhood.
The bakery is also next door to one of my favorite destinations for Salvadoran pupusas, El Pulgarcito.
Earlier this month, when the bakery was just getting started, the two bakery cases flanking the right side of the bakery were about half full of breads and pastries. To the left of the front door, I spotted a rack holding day-old sweets with discounted prices.
The display case held crescent-shaped sweet Mexican bread with a sticky raisin filling. A flaky turnover carried a swipe of pineapple jam and pastry cream. Puff pastry, with a sugar glaze, crackled into broken shards at first bite, the long pastry sticks deceivingly light and airy, and quite messy.
A refrigerator case held wedges of cotija cheese, plastic tubs of crema and canned drinks.
I also spotted lofty loaves of bread, sandwich buns, colorful concha buns and a few other pan dulce. Nothing was labeled on my visit and prices weren’t displayed, but I purchased five pastries for about $6.
It’s a bare bones sort of place — all bakery, no seating. A counter worker assured that the stock would be increasing to include cookies and other desserts. They also bake custom cakes. A refrigerator case held wedges of cotija cheese, plastic tubs of crema and canned drinks.
San Rafael Panaderia y Pasteleria Bakery
Contact: 8534 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood; 253-330-7403. Cash only.
More Lakewood bakeries: German Pastry Shop and Boulangerie.