Were he alive and living in Los Angeles today, writer, poet, synesthete and -- lest we forget -- lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov might have been found at La Monarca. Named for the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), whose annual migration (as VN would know) takes it from Michoacán to Northern California, La Monarca churns out dozens of fresh Mexican pastries on a daily basis. French bread, flans, tres leches, Mexican wedding cookies rolled in powdered sugar, cinnamon-tinged polvorones and hojarascas, flaky, buttery orejas and, during the winter holiday season, Rosca de Reyes. All this goodness comes from recipes derived and overseen by Executive Chef Alain Bour, a French native who lived in Mexico for 35 years. After being drawn in or, if you will, "netted" by the name, there is much in this bakery for even a nonsynesthete to savor.
La Monarca: 6365 Pacific Blvd., Huntington Park. (323) 585-5500.
La Monarca: 5700 E. Whittier Blvd., East L.A. (323) 869-8800.
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La Monarca: 1300 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 451-1114.