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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Porto's Bakery & Cafe - Glendale

Expectations in and of themselves aren't bad per se. But expectations when it comes to food always leaves me disappointed. After all, how could anything possibly live up to its hype?

Porto's Bakery in Glendale has been featured on tv and has half-hour long lines at lunchtime. From reading the hype, I was expecting some type of gustatory enlightenment. A melt in your mouth airiness with the cakes, smooth creaminess with the custard, a perfumed sweetness to the fruit filling.

Or at the very least a darned good cake.

As this is a bakery, I judge bakeries by their cakes. Sure they feature breads and sandwiches and other pastries, but as they also feature special occasion cakes and wedding cakes, I expect a really good cake. I should also say I'm not a fan of Latino sweets to begin with as I've always found them too sweet. Yes, there is such a thing.

I tried their best-selling Cuban cake with pineapple and custard filling. The spongy part of the cake? A bit too heavy and somewhat damp. I don't mind dampness in cakes when it's tres leche cake, in which case with three kinds of milk it should be damp. But this was not tres leche. The custard and pineapple filling was too sparse. The frosting was light enough but the thicker decorative parts of the icing left small sugar crystals to melt in my mouth. Too heavy, too sweet, too wet. But at least the candy flowers were pretty.

Their famed guava and cream cheese strudel fared slightly better in my estimation. The sponge cake wasn't so heavy. The cheese was whipped so light. The guava filling was nice and thick.

As cakes are dessert, something I enjoy after my meal. I like them light, just slightly sweet, a palate cleanser if you will. These cakes eaten at the end of even a very light meal? Too much. Few of our guests could finish their small slices either.

But eaten first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee or tea, much better. Of course, that's not necessarily a good endorsement. I ate them because they were there, taking up room in my fridge. I wouldn't drive out of my way, wait in line for half an hour, just for these cakes.

Porto's Bakery (several locations)
315 N. Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91203


  1. I'm not a fan of super sweet cakes either. From your descriptions, I don't think I'd enjoy the desserts here any more than you did.

    - Chubbypanda

  2. Hi CP,

    Yeah, I prefer the lighter Chinese and VNese cakes myself. I was going to mention it but I didn't want to drive the point home that much. Super sweet cakes seem to be popular with a whole lot of people after all.

  3. try the creme brulee

  4. Hi Anonymous,

    I can get good creme brulee almost anywhere. :)

    As I said, while I'm sure their other sweets are probably good, their specialty is Cuban cakes, and I didn't much care for the overly sweet taste. Not worth the drive or wait in line for me.

  5. Actually, Porto's cakes are good - but not the best.

    Try their potato balls. Their cuban sandwich. Their roast pork sandwich with garlic lime dressing. Their coconut pastry. Their chocolate croissant. THEN you will love Portos.

    They are not like very other bakery. But they are good. And for some things - amazing.

  6. oddlyme,

    Thanks for the other suggestions. Lil' sis likes their potato balls. So I guess I'll definitely have to try that.

  7. I know this is kinda late but the best stuff to eat here are the "Medianoche" sandwiches (same filling as Cuban sandwich but on a type of egg bread), the cheese rolls, guava and cheese strudels, potato balls that's pretty much it. The special occasion cake we get from there is a 3 layer yellow cake, that has been moistened with brandy syrup, and has a layer of custardand guava cream as the filling, coated in meringue frosting it's pretty tasty :)

    Their mojo sauce (garlic sauce) is a disgrace to Cuban cuisine though hehe. And their Cuban tamales recipe has changed and they are the real deal :) I moved actually like 5 minutes away from their Magnolia and Hollywood Way location so I stop their for lunch every now and then jus for the heck of it, or treat my grandma there, closest thing to a real Cuban bakery outside of miami i think.

  8. Nathan,
    Haha. This is sooo old. I actually like their cheese and guava rolls. Should update this post to reflect that!


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