by Chris Warren
Xela is an awesome town, however, given that it lies squarely within the tortilla belt, those who have wandered its cobblestone streets in search of a good baguette or other artisanal breads are likely to have been disappointed… until now. Yeah, yeah – Bake Shop is good, but sometimes their abundance of sweet treats isn’t quite what the doctor ordered. Xelapan? Forget it. San Martin? Great when you’re headed to Hiper/Pradera, but otherwise it’s not exactly convenient. I’m here to let you in on 2 little secrets that just might change your life…or at least add a bit of variety (and fiber) to your diet.
First comes Artesano, brought to you by the former chef at El Infinito, Carlos, who has now struck out on his own and opened an innovative bakery with some really fantastic stuff. His daily offerings include whole wheat oregano baguettes, Italian style breads stuffed with onions, beet, banana and carrot muffins as well as dark chocolate banana sweet breads. He is constantly rotating in new products including hearty soups and vegetarian sandwiches. Within the next few weeks he is planning to offer pizzas, calzones and if all goes well, San Francisco style bread bowls for his soups. If any of that sounds good, go pay Carlitos a visit at Artesano. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 2-8pm, it’s at 7a Calle 15-18, right next to Ojala/Centro Cultural los Chocoyos by the Chocoyos bridge.
The second best kept secret in Xela has got to be Comida la Chatia, a small bakery run by curly-haired Quetzalteco, Juan Pablo Munoz. If you have a bread craving, it’s very likely that he’s got exactly what you need. Pita bread? Check! Bagels? (Simply choose between Onion, Garlic, Veggie, Basil, Sunflower Seed, Rosemary and Whole Wheat!), Garlic bread, Seed bread, Empanadas, Banana bread… and the list goes on. In fact, even though he has a wide variety of breads that he makes weekly, he loves to take special requests, so take advantage and see if he can fill that emptiness inside like only your favorite artisanal breads can.
Now comes the hard part – since JuanPa bakes everything to order and delivers directly to your house/hostel…etc, you need to either call in your order or leave him a Facebook message on his Comida de la Chatia facebook group. Don’t worry – he speaks fluent English as well as Spanish. You can reach him by phone at 5923-4356 and then he’ll invite you to his secret Facebook group where you can place future orders quicker than you can untag yourself from last weekend’s incriminating photos!