We first swung by La Unica Bakery at 4606 N. Main St. on a whim a few weeks ago and were pleased with the springy, buttery choncas we sampled.
But there were six other cases of baked goods in the place, and some savory lunch options, so stopped again last week and grabbed a gordita with barbacoa, a taco with chicharron and a taco with chicken, plus two dessert empanadas.
Toss in a bottled water, and we barely broke $8 for all that. Not bad.
The feel of the place is quirky. Four counter seats look out on a dirty, under-construction strip of North Main. Behind them sit two high-tops and plenty of open floor space. It's the sort of place where every bill you're handed from the register has flour and sugar on it.
The tortillas wrapping the tacos were great -- soft and fluffy, but never chewy. The chicken inside was well-seasoned, if a bit dry. We're not chicharron veterans, but this stewed version was tasty, if a little mushier than we might have liked. The barbacoa looked as if it would be horribly stringy, but it wasn't. In gritty, mealy gordita form, the textures piled on for a hearty, whole-mouth taste.
The apple empanada we tried was like biting into a pillow, but the filling was disappointing, very syrupy with no large apple chunks. We thought the pecan empanada was darker by design, but in reality it had just been baked too long. The crust was far too thick and dry.
We're willing to try a few of their other baked varieties, but on first glance it seems savory is a better bet here than sugary.
Anyone have better suggestions from the bakery cases?
Click through for more photos.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.