On weekends, cars wedge into the small lot of this service station-turned-panade
ria, with most people hoofing it from distant parking spaces down the street. They know. They've been warring over parking spots every year for the last two decades or so to get at the pan dulce
of La Victoria. The apricot empanadas with toasted coconut flakes catch your eye, but soon you notice the maranitos
(gingerbread piggies) and the neon-colored galletas
(cookies). They vie for your attention amid the other desserts, most of them variations with piña
. Oh, yes, and azúcar
. This is where you pick up your Day of the Dead breads, and if you can afford them, the fancy skeleton-shaped ones. But today you came here to pick up a birthday cake, because you know it is, hands down, the best cake in all of Houston, beautifully decorated in a spray of brightly colored fresh flowers. The cake will have to wait until later, but you sit down for a piece of melt-in-your-mouth tres leches
to energize you for the walk back to the car.