Outstanding new bakery/deli with Peruvian accents. Family run.
Latest visit: April 15, 2013
First visit: April 13, 2013
I first heard of Sara’s Pastries and Deli from a brief article in the business section of the ABQ Journal on March 11, 2013. Jane and I spent our honeymoon (May 1977) in Peru, visiting Lima, Cuzco, and Machu Picchu. We fell in love with the food (and the pisco sour!). Seafood you wouldn’t believe. Fresh fruits and melons for breakfast. Unbelievably good baked goods and pastries. Street food (like anticuchos — skewered marinated beef heart, grilled).
And my ophthalmologist Ana Huaman, who keeps me from going blind, is from Peru. I like Peru.
When we finally got a chance to eat at Sara’s, we were quite surprised (and delighted) to find a standing-room crowd. I asked Alejandra, Sara’s daughter, if the sizeof the crowd was unusual, and she told me that while the place was definitely doing well, the appearance of a glowing review the day before by my friend Andrea Lin Had pulled people out of their Saturday stupor for a try at good Peruvian food. “We got slammed today,” said Alejandra, “in a good way.” Business had been so good that day that the bakery case was nearly empty. I guess we’ll have to come back soon (earlier in the day, of course) to try some of the beautiful tarts.
Sara came to this country about ten years ago. She spent some years translating Victoria’s Secret sales information into Spanish and training the Call Center workers to answer queries multilingually. About five years ago, her husband, a house builder, fell victim to the construction slowdown and near the same time the Victoria’s Secret in Rio Rancho gave it up. This afforded Sara and the rest of her family to start her bakery and deli, which allowed her the opportunity to pursue one of her loves: Peruvian food and pastries. Her food is prepared with much love.
We decided to order more food than we could possibly eat, and we ate it all anyway. We just couldn’t stop.
Roasted Pork Sandwich
Homemade roasted pork, lettuce, red onions with habanero peppers, and a choice of a signature sauce all served on our fresh baked French bread. Side of chips.
One of my favorite sandwiches in the Duke City is the Cubano served at The Guava Tree. Sara’s roasted pork ranks right up there with Anamargarita Otero’s Cubano. The pork is tender and succulent. The red onions add just the right amount of piquancy. If you want it hotter, just ask. They understand fire eaters. The fresh baked bun is perfecy.
If you ask, Sara will put this combination on multigrain bread for you and give you the sauce in a separate cup’ This is what our old friend Cheryl did. She is from Atlanta and cannot abide hot stuff.
These sandwiches are served with Miss Vickie’s kettle cooked chips in many flavors. Great texture and taste. My favorite is the Jalapeño chips. They have a great bite, and they bite back.
Chicken Salad on a Fresh Croissant.
Classic chicken salad made with house-made mayonnaise served on a croissant.
Everybody makes chicken salad. What sets this creation apart from the pack is the delicateness of the dressing and spicing. And the croissant is, well, fabulous.
Peruvian Red Tamales
Steamed red Peruvian chile corn masa, stuffed with chicken and black olives. Side of red onions with habanero peppers.
So you’re from New Mexico and you think that all tamales are the same.
This is not your red chile/pork/masa tamale, but a whole different thing. Served on a banana leaf (instead of corn husks), and covered with more of those tangy red onions, these tamales are incredibly delicious masterpieces. If you want them really hot, just ask. I’ll try the green tamale on my next visit.
Tres Leches “My Way”
A popular Latin American sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk, topped with Italian meringue and sprinkled cinnamon.
This is the very best tres leche that I have had in the duke City. Moist and not soggy. Sweet but not too sweet. A joyous dessert.
Pecan cake filled with dulce de leche and whipped cream, drizzled in dark chocolate.
This, like all of Sara’s creations, is edible art. I usually turn up my nose at pecan stuff, but this may change my mind. It’s that good.
There are lots more desserts. I probably won’t eat my way through the entire collection. But, on a subsequent visit after an early morning balloon flight, we tried the fruit tarts and the Dulce de Leche Napoleon. Our guests tried the Spinach Quiche. Good breakfast. Good coffee, too.
If I could drive, I would probably eat here at least once a week. Sara’s artistry has won my heart. And my palate, too.
How about some anticuchos, Sara? Please.
What others are saying
Gil Garduño — New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite
“The most centrally-located of Albuquerque’s three Peruvian restaurants is Sara’s Pastries & Deli, ensconced in the increasingly familiar Journal Center Market Place, a strip mall quickly becoming a very popular dining destination. Sara’s neighbors include the nonpareil Torinos @ Home, El Pollo Picante, Twisters Burgers & Burritos and other restaurants. Launched in February, 2013, Sara’s Pastries & Deli fills a niche in offering the delectable and decadent dessert offerings of Peru.
“There’s a venerable saying in Peru that translates to something like “Peruvians have two stomachs—one for food and another for dessert.” That idiom illustrates the passion with which Peruvians approach desserts, which, ironically were virtually unknown prior to the arrival of the Spanish. As with the entirety of Peruvian cuisine, desserts are heavily influenced by the streams of immigrants which settled in the country. The resultant cultural and culinary mix is why you shouldn’t be surprised if you see arroz con leche, pastel tres leches or even tiramisu on the dessert menu of a Peruvian restaurant.”
Andrea Lin —Star Food Writer for the Albuquerque Journal
“Albuquerque has Asian cuisine in spades, and Italian, French and Mexican, too. Peruvian, however, is less familiar around our city, a fact sure to change with three distinct Peru-centric restaurants that have opened since 2011.
“Just a few minutes of online research will glean the gist of the cuisine. Peruvian flavors are bold and contrasting, based on a foundation of starchy tubers, corn and roasted meats to fiery chiles as condiments – all of which should be delightful to a New Mexican’s palate. Sara’s Pastries & Deli in the Jefferson corridor is 2013′s new spot to enjoy hearty Peruvian dishes with a helping of European sweets.”
Sara’s Pastries and Deli
7600 Jefferson NE, Suite C
Albuquerque, NM 87109