Monday, May 31, 2010

Eating the Island, Part 4: La Bombonera

Food blogs and shows, average foodies, and travel sites all say that La Bombonera Bakery in Old San Juan is an institution and a must stop. 



Since we were staying in Condado, we decided to saunter into Old San Juan to load up on calories before heading to El Yunque National Park.



After hearing so many glorious reviews about this place I just had to go. First off, this place is about the nostalgia factor because its old. The mallorcas are the sweet, butter, powder sugar covered pastries that are La Bombonera's claim to fame.  If you go to Starbucks (its okay if you do), its very similar to the Moroccan bread that they sell.  So, true to form I ordered a ham, egg, and cheese stuffed mallorca and a coffee.


First came the coffee which was more of a cafe con leche, half of a cup of espresso and some steamed milk.  I added sugar and gave it a taste.  The coffee had a good flavor, but wasn't the best I've had (to be fair, I lived in Argentina and had awesome coffee all the time). The espresso machine is quite old, word on the street is that its the original.  Another snappy contraption was this juice maker that churned out orange juice at lightening speed.  This machine is a clear necessity since by the time the pitcher was full, it was emptied with orange juice orders.  My boyfriend tried to juice and said it was quite good, I decided to pass because the machine did not look very clean to me.




La Bombonera's Juice Maker from kashiad on Vimeo.



On to the food, my salty and sweet bundle of joy. In my mind I imagined a Puerto Rican montecristo.  So when the server brought my food, my eyes lit up!  The pastry looked amazing and there was a delicate dusting of powdered sugar on top.  However, right before biting in, I realize there is no cheese, I had to have that cheese.  So we told the waiter falta el queso (the cheese was missing).  He promplty took my mallorca away and said he would fix it.

Now, before I continue this review, I would like to say that nothing burns me up that bad service.  I can deal with bad food, every chef might have an off day, but there is nothing more that I cannot stand more than:
A.) bad service from wait staff; this includes general rudeness, lack of attentiveness, overall forgetfulness, and last minute niceness to get a good tip out of bad serice, and
B.) bad management that does not address the issues caused by problems in subsection A.


In my mind and perfect world when something that needs to be cooked is left off of a sandwich, call me demanding, but I expect a whole new sandwich.  I was more than irritated to get a mallorca back…the same mallorca, that has been nuked in the microwave beyond recognition, to melt the cheese, and then recovered with an ungodly amount of powdered sugar to cover the hot mess. Furthermore, in his “making my new sandwich” I lost half of the eggs from one side of the sandwich!


Okay, so I’m angry…I’m very angry but I have to try it, I just have to try it.I go to pick up the sandwich and my finger got a steam burn! I'm growing increasingly irritated.  I finally grab a fork and knife in defeat and the microwave without a doubt ruined the potential as it made the filling rubbery and the bread hard as a rock.  Overall this was a bust and compounded by bad service. On my way out of the bakery, I walked past a plaza and bought a quesito off the street.  Sadly, this tasted better than the "legendary La Bombonera" mallorca. 



The verdict: Skip it.  You can find mallorcas all over the island and get better service.

La Bombonera
259 Calle San Francisco  
Old San Juan, San Juan
787.722.0658 

Overall Ranking
Food: 1 out of 5 fros
Service: 0 out of 5 fros
 

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