Visiting San Francisco superhound Melanie Wong scouted us out some extraordinary pastries. First, Mishi's Strudel is "a piece of old world Hungary plopped into downtown San Pedro." Lingonberry palacsinta (think crêpes) are just like in Budapest, "buttery rich in flavor, meltingly tender and so thin," says Melanie.
Strudel is extraordinary, too. "The ultra-light and flaky pastry was thinner than paper and the definition of crispness," says Melanie.
Next: magical sfogliatelle at Amalfitano Bakery. This is an old-fashioned, multiethnic bakery serving the diverse San Pedro community. There's a little of everything, from hamentaschen for Purim to baklava to American cookies, Central European strudel, and Italian cannoli. But the sfogliatelle are the real winners—not flown in from Italy or the East Coast, but made right there.
"The ultra-crackly, brittle pastry of the first mouthful passed the tooth test," says Melanie. "Unlike the frozen variety that tend toward a thinner and not as crunchy pastry shell that softens too fast, the scatter of golden shards of flaky pastry on my dark sweater provided the physical evidence that this was the real thing. The ricotta cheese filling flavored with a bit of orange and/or citron was on the lighter side and not as dense, seeming to have less semolina in the mix."
Mishi's Strudel Bakery and Café [South Bay]
309 W. Seventh Street, San Pedro
Amalfitano Bakery [South Bay]
29111 S. Western Avenue, Rancho Palos Verdes