At 5 a.m. Barra de Navidad is just coming alive and, if you happen to be up and about strolling or biking your way towards the open farm area, you may be stopped in your tracks by the amazing smells of fresh baking.
Almost certainly, the aromas will be emanating from La Tanda, a new bakery operated by Irwin Friesen and Christine Mykytuk, a Vancouver couple who have been coming to the Costalegre region since 1997.
Recently setting down roots in the “Barrio” of Barra de Navidad, they opened La Tanda Bakery on Avenida Nueva España in March of this year. Deciding on a soft opening with no announcements, word spread quickly and, for a few weeks, it was a bit of a struggle to meet demand. Christine, a “farm girl,” is the chief baker. Assisted by Irwin and two local employees, La Tanda offers homemade sourdough and rye breads, fresh buns, a wide selection of pies and muffins, cinnamon rolls, bagels, apple crisp and more. All items are made fresh daily with 99 percent local ingredients. Single servings of meatloaf, chicken pot pie, beef pie, lasagna or Shepherd’s pie and homemade soups are also some of the menu specials. You will find only one or two of these main courses on any given day.
The general theme is “comfort food,” providing a taste of home for Americans and Canadians who aren’t quite acclimatized to the Mexican diet. Be sure to come early for cinnamon rolls and fresh bagels. These hot sellers fly off the shelves.
Special holiday orders or birthday cakes require at least two (business) days’ notice. Irwin is currently in the process of creating a website where clients can see the daily menu options and order online. Permanent residents will be pleased to hear that the bakery will stay open during most of the low season, closing only for a month or two.
La Tanda Bakery is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Avenida Nueva España 180A, across from the Unidad Deportiva Sports Field.
Friday, December 8 marked the opening of a two-month exhibit/sale at La Galeria on Avenida Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in Barra de Navidad. The display features 16 impressionist paintings of renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo Rivera, created by 14 Mexican artists, most of them from Jalisco.
Admission to the display is only ten pesos. A host is always available to answer questions, in either English or Spanish. Proceeds from the sale of the artworks support Unidad por Barra/United for Barra, a nonprofit that manages and pays for the upkeep of La Galeria, as well as supporting other community projects.