Bakers of All Nations
54 E. Jericho Tpke. Mineola, NY 516-294-4034
Despite its name, Bakers of All Nations does not sell confections from all over the globe. In addition to a range of good American layer cakes, French pastries and Italian desserts, the draw here is the breads and pastries of one nation in particular: Portugal.
Paula Rego started working as a secretary at the then-11- year-old Bakers of All Nations in 1999. In 2003, she bought it with her business partner, John Malheiro, a veteran baker from Cardinali in Carle Place. The new owners knew a good thing when they bought it and made no substantive changes.
Malheiro is justly proud of his broa ($3.25), the classic Portuguese bread made from corn and rye flour. With no gluten to help it rise, it is too dense to be cut easily with a knife. "You have to break it off in pieces," Malheiro said. No easy task, since the crusty exterior is almost sharp enough to break skin. The interior, however, is moist and a little sweet. It's unique and delicious, worth a trip to Mineola.
While you're there, don't pass up the pasteis de nata ($1.25), little puff-pastry tartlets filled with caramelized custard and dusted with cinnamon. These are the most famous Portuguese dessert, and undeniably delicious, but not necessarily the best. Giving them a run for their money: elegant, little columnar rice cakes and tartlets filled with almonds, orange, coconut and, most exotic of all, candied spaghetti squash.
If you're in a savory mood, order the torta mista, a toasty, gooey Portuguese version of a ham-and-cheese panino.
Bakers of all Nations bustles 365 days a year, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., except on Sundays, when the doors don't open until an indolent 6 a.m. -- Erica Marcus (Newsday / July 28, 2011)