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A “dirty face” is a good thing if it's a chorreada from La Mascota Bakery in East Los Angeles. This slangy Spanish name describes a large, round, slightly sweet, whole wheat bun crusted with dark brown sugar so that it resembles a spotted face. The only clean-up is the money swept into the cash register, because La Mascota is virtually the only place in town where you can get chorreadas, and they sell out quickly. They're made from scratch from a recipe as old as the bakery, which opened in 1952. The formula blends whole wheat and all-purpose flours. The tricky part is getting the sugar to stick to the surface without falling off, because it isn't glued on with a sticky flour paste. Making breads such as these is a dying art, says Edward Salcedo, head baker along with his brother Ygnacio (it's a three-generation family operation). Go early to make sure you get one. The bakery opens at 5 a.m. —Barbara Hansen

2715 Whittier Blvd., Boyle Heights, 90023. (323) 263-5513, lamascotabakery.com

LA Weekly