Saturday, January 19, 2013

Italian To Mexican

For a few decades now, some of South Philadelphia's Italian neighborhoods have been recolonized by other ethnic groups. Mexicans have staked their claim to a number of areas, as a visit to the blocks of Ninth Street south of Washington will attest.

Over at 8th and Watkins, a long-time Italian bakery is trying to span both worlds.

Las Rosas bills itself as both Mexican and Italian. I tried a sesame-seeded Italian bread (long style) and enjoyed it. The Las Rosas loaf is on the light side, more like Sarcone's than Frangelli's, with a nicely crackly crust. I also sampled one of the Mexican pastries and savored that as well: a small sweet pastry filled with guava paste.

Most recently the shop was DiGiampietro Bakery, a short-lived try by Danny DiGiampietro in the business. Danny, who still owns the building, went back to his day job of jobbing Sarcone's breads to sandwich shops like DiNic's. His bakery, in addition to making very fine hoagie and steak rolls, did a very nice pizza, too. Before Danny took over, it had been an Italian bakery under different ownership for decades.

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