Porto’s Precision Bakery

Porto's Individual Creme Brulee

It doesn’t happen often. But every once in while, someone takes a familiar concept and makes it better.

Such was the case in my latest reconnaissance to Porto’s Bakery & Cafe in Downey, California.

Admittedly, I didn’t know much before my visit. I had chosen the closest of their three locations and the bakery & cafe concept seemed self-explanatory.

As I approached the entrance, the chatter amongst the patrons sitting outside created a nominal buzz in the air.

It was soothing compared to the hustle and bustle that greeted me when I opened the door.

Hesitantly, I stepped inside and took it all in.

The store was large with three distinct sections – bakery, cafe, and whole cakes & pies. Each section had a line with the entrance staffed by personnel wired for communication. Additionally, there was a dining area inside with service.

Once I got my bearings, I entered the lengthy bakery line. There was an immense chalkboard overhead listing the numerous items and their prices.

Honestly, it was too much to absorb. I gave up and decided to look at the display case when I was closer.

Assuming it would be a while, I began keeping busy on my phone.

But I was wrong. The line moved quickly.

There was a system to this madness.

Porto's Blueberry Strati Cupcake

I soon found myself near the front of the line. Not wanting to be the clog in the machine, I began assessing the desserts.

When my turn arrived, I knew exactly what I wanted. I pointed out my selections. The associate boxed them, and then another associate completed my order at the register.

Not only was my wait less than 15 minutes, but it was a great value too. Three baked goods for a little over $7.

Most impressive.

I left Porto’s eager to find out if the taste would match the experience.

Now it should come as no surprise that I purchased a cupcake. What makes it unusual is that I opted for one with minimal frosting, the Blueberry Strati Cupcake.

It’s a white yogurt cake, layered with fresh blueberries and blueberry buttercream, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

From the moment I saw those blueberries peeking through the cupcake’s top, I couldn’t resist. The frosting was secondary.

So when I got home, I grabbed a fork and took my first bite.

It revealed…a blueberry muffin.

Hmmm, that’s odd.

I took another taste.

The fresh berries burst in my mouth. The cake was sweet and moist with a muffin-like density. The frosting’s consistency was thinner than I’m accustomed and its flavor wasn’t pronounced.

Porto's Brownie Slice

This was no cupcake, as expected.

Nonetheless as a muffin, I liked it.

Not knowing what to make of my 1st choice, I moved on to their Individual Creme Brulee. It’s a rich custard, topped with caramelized sugar and garnished with fresh berries.

The custard was speckled with vanilla beans throughout. It was velvety, while the topping was crunchy with a hint of caramel. The fresh strawberry slice and blackberry was just enough to offset the caramelized sugar.

For $3.00, I was very pleased.

Alas, after a confusing start and a great finish, I needed a tiebreaker for my Porto’s review. Hence I took a break and then returned for the final item.

The Brownie Slice – a dense chocolate cake with chocolate chips and chocolate ganache.

After assessing the brownie, I decided to heat it a smidgen above room temp, allowing the chocolaty parts to mingle.

Ooh, the result was fabulous!

I discovered melted pockets of chocolate chips throughout the warm brownie. And the thick ganache became a decadent glaze that covered each morsel.

Yes, I’ve had better. However not many, especially for only $1.35.

I give Porto’s Bakery & Cafe 4 out of 5 stars.

Had the cupcake been more in line with expectations, the rating may have been higher.

Still, with efficient service and tasty desserts at a great price, they’ve earned a new customer. I will gladly return for more.

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