Colombian Bakery’s colorful and bustling storefront serves as a coffee shop, meet-up spot and place for a quick bite. The glass cases are stocked with an ever-changing assortment of Colombian pastries: round roscónes filled with magenta swirls of guava paste, baseball-sized buñuelos fresh from the fryer, and pandebono with sweet cheese. Behind the counter, the smiling ladies of the bakery froth up milky cups of café con leche (Colombian coffee, of course) and the fridges are stocked with a Technicolor assortment of Postobón sodas — neon yellow piña (pineapple), lavender-hued manzana (apple) and the intriguingly named, bright orange kola (nothing like Coke or Pepsi).
Another refrigerator holds squeaky wheels of queso Colombiano, squares of syrupy flan and cheese-filled corn cakes ready to pop in the oven. Behind the counter are candy jars filled with SuperCoco lollipops and Colombina Coffee Delight hard candies.
In a warm display case sit little paper trays of chicharrón, crunchy deep-fried pork belly chunks, big nobs of salchichon (like a South American Spam) and best of all, perfectly uniform, crescent-shaped, corn-yellow empanadas. Their corn-dough exteriors are filled with shreds of tender beef or chicken and little bits of soft potato. These perfect little empanadas are served with a side of Colombian Bakery’s bright ají, a spicy-sour sauce made of finely chopped scallions, chiles, tomatoes and vinegar.
Colombian Bakery | 4944 N. Fifth St., 215-455-5130. Hours: Mon.–Sat., 5 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sun., 6 a.m.–4 p.m. Recommended dishes: Empanadas, salchichon, pandebono, Colombian sodas.
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