Although situated only a few blocks from the bustle of Old Town Albuquerque, this eatery is not one that the throngs of tourists are likely to encounter. Bordered on all sides by homes, the Golden Crown Panadería blends into its residential surroundings, making it more likely passersby will smell the escaping aromas than actually spot this local bakery.
The challenge in visiting the Golden Crown is choosing from a large number of pastry options. Although the names on the menu do not come as a surprise to those familiar with Mexican cuisine, it is unlikely that you have encountered versions such as these. Here, the deep-fried empanadas are filled with pumpkin, apple, blueberry, or cherry; ruler-sized fruit flautas are coated in powdered sugar; and crisp tostadas are covered in cinnamon sugar. All are homemade, delicious, and best eaten at one of the outdoor tables where you can soak up the sun and not be concerned about all the sugar that falls to the floor with every bite.
Probably the single best way to satisfy a sweet tooth at Golden Crown is with the official state cookie of New Mexico: the biscochito. Similar to a shortbread cookie, but traditionally accented by anise flavor, the version here is perfectly crisp and covered in a satisfying sprinkle of sugar. Buy them by the dozen, because they are virtually addictive. If you are not a fan of anise (like licorice), fear not: Golden Crown also offers biscochitos in chocolate and cappuccino varieties.
Good as desserts are, we would willingly sacrifice every last one of them for Golden Crown’s magnificent green chile bread. Not only is each loaf a piece of edible art, perfectly shaped and golden brown, but the taste is enough to make any Atkins-dieter forsake his or her strongest convictions. The tomatoes, onions, cilantro, Parmesan cheese, and spices would pack plenty of punch into each bite, but fresh-roasted green chile sets this bread off and makes it uniquely New Mexican. It is spicy enough to satisfy the most devoted green chilehead without horribly assaulting tongue and tastebuds. Although delicious in and of itself, it’s even better when toasted and spread with a light layer of melted butter. A few bites and time may actually stand still! Other flavors of loaves (i.e. rye, cinnamon raisin) do emerge from the Golden Crown oven, but are best left for locals for whom green chile is a daily staple rather than a rare treat.
In addition to the baked loaves, Golden Crown also makes pizzas, including one version with a green chile crust. Biscochitos and loaves of green chile bread (including one shaped like a Thanksgiving turkey!) can be shipped anywhere in the United States for those wishing to indulge without leaving home.