Hidden almost in plain sight in the Huebner Oaks shopping center and sandwiched between dance studios and Brindle's Ice Cream is Romelia's Bakery and Specialties (11255 Huebner Rd., Suite 110), a little-known treasure.
Opened in May 2014 by Monterey natives Romelia Garza and Eduardo Valenzuela-Garibay, the bakery is a playground for head chef Garza to showcase her own style that you won't see in a typical bakery. The location is small and designed in mind for a customer base of commuters and deliveries rather than sit-down diners. The front gallery is filled with ready-to-go, ready-to-drool-over goodies like cupcakes, chocolate croissants, scones and pan dulces.
What sets Romelia's apart from other sweet goods joints is that it doesn't serve usual cakes. Instead, the spotlight is on their signature "Treasures," pecan meringues with assorted fresh fruit like berries and mango atop cream cheese frosting. The treasures range from palm sized, four-inch pastries to full-sized three-tiered 10-inch cakes.
"Bakery is a very broad name. We tend to do these kind of specialties ... birthday and bride cakes, we don't do that," said owner Valenzuela-Garibay. "We tend to do more tasteful products with high-end ingredients; we're enticing people to taste so they can notice the difference that it's made with the highest ingredients."
While the bakery offers catering and customizes pastries to-order, there is definitely a vision Garza and pastry chef Julieta Zamudio want to maintain. At a glance, the menu may seem small, but the level of quality put into their pastries is evident from the first bite. What Romelia's sets out to do is get customers coming back for more of what they love to make.
"What we want to create is a need for this type of pastry. We don't want to be too wide, [we want to] stick with this and grow in lunch and breakfast-type of products," Valenzuela-Garibay said.
To get there, the bakery is now focusing on getting more of that early and midday traffic with sweet and savory scones and fresh-brewed Colombian coffee. With the recent purchase of a new sheeter machine to help roll out dough en masse, croissant sandwiches will also soon be on the menu for lunch-goers.
The three-person staff, all very friendly and inviting, won't hesitate to slice up a sample and talk about their favorite pastry. The chocolate croissant is hands-down the winner, but don't pass on the coconut cookies. Waifish and crisp, they'll will turn into your new guilty pleasure.
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