Maverick Square in East Boston, with a taqueria on every corner and pupusas coming out of the cracks in the pavement, is the go-to spot for Mexican and Salvadorian street food. But an unassuming storefront on the quieter, northwest corner of the square offers another Latin American option: LaSultana Bakery. Divided into two sections, this Colombian bakery-cum-cafeteria offers sweet and yeasty pastry, fresh-baked stuffed bread, and homey traditional meals.
Start with an arepa ($3.15), the Colombian answer to a quesadilla, and make sure to ask for it with quesito paisa; but make an appointment with your cardiologist before you even look at the picada ($3.50). These highly seasoned slices of chorizo, morcilla, spareribs, and inch-thick chunks of chicharron and salchichon (read: magnum bacon and hot dogs), all fried in lard, are an Atkins dieter’s dream come true. Though the large, crispy, and chewy empanadas ($1.10) come with a satisfying meat-and-potato stuffing, a Colombian meal wouldn’t be complete without arroz con frijoles ($2.25) — and the beans at Sultana are silky, salty, and porky.
On the pastry front, the huge pan hawaiano ($2), stuffed with ham and pineapple, offers the most calories for your buck, but it doesn’t compare with the buñuelos ($1.15) — softball-size savory fritters made with queso blanco. To finish it off, try the rollo de fresa (strawberry jelly roll; $1.30), or the doughnuts filled with bocadillo (guava paste), or arequipe, the Colombian version of dulce de leche ($1.30). Sweet and doughy, they’re the perfect accompaniment to rich Colombian coffee — and shame on anyone who goes to the doughnut chain across the street.
La Sultana Bakery, located at 40 Maverick Square, in East Boston, is open Monday through Friday, from 5 am to 8 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, from 2 to 8 pm. Call 617.568.9999.