Nilda Veras has a lot of secrets. Secrets she won’t tell you about even if you pry.
She’s originally from Puerto Rico but came to Anchorage several years ago to be closer to her sister. And, when she moved here, she brought the secrets to baking Latino pastries. I met with her this week to learn how to make a tres leche cake. She taught me the basics, but wouldn’t tell me everything she puts in her cakes. She was afraid other people would copy her recipe.
Inside her shop in midtown Nilda effortlessly moved between two mixers, one beating egg yolks, the other egg whites. The table jerked back and fourth to the beat of the mixers. Nilda told me that for several years she sold pastries to people at her church, then, after a lot of encouragement, she opened her own shop this month. She said she’s the only Latino bakery in Anchorage.
“Since I was a child I always liked baking,” Nilda said.
She told me that Latino pastries often use passion fruits. Guava syrup’s dripped over quesito de guayaba, which is a pastry that’s similar to danish. Pineapple’s stuffed inside a massive white sabor Latino pineapple filled cake. Portion’s here are generous, you can easily share a pastry between two, or three people.
I asked Nilda what made her store special.
“It’s just something I love, I have passion,” she said, “it’s the flavor, we add the secret, and we make it special.”
Nilda’s Party Creations
4240 Old Seward Hwy. #21
Here’s a sweet story: students at Airport Heights Elementary School are growing basil. They’ve grown so much basil they’re selling it. Table 6, in midtown, started buying it this week to put in the soups and dinner specials.
“It is just an incredible product,” Alex Perez one of the owners of Table 6 said, “it’s beautiful, it’s greener than green. It’s fantastic.”
At the end of the year the students will use the money they raised to throw an amazing 6th grade graduation party–Table 6 will be the caterer.
A former teacher donated equipment to grow the basil, and the start up money to buy the seeds and other supplies came from a $500 grant from the Alaska Schools Foundation.
The school is using the basil growing venture as a real life economics lesson.
The students thought about growing flowers to sell to expensive, they found. Same problem for tomatoes.
“We would have had to charge $100 for each tomato,” 6th grade teacher Emily Becker said.
On a recent school day 6th grader Amaya Austin added added fertilizer to a 2 gallon bucket, which she poured over 3 month old sprouts.
“It smells really good,” Austin said.
Let the battle of the burgers begin!
I realize this post will make no sense since I just spent the last blog entry writing about losing weight, but, whatever, I’m ready for a competition. And mamas hungry. So, who makes the best burger in town and why? Submit your ideas and we’ll test it out. I recently stopped by Tommy’s Burger Stop, (amazing!) and had the Hellcat. It’s a burger loaded with bacon, jalapenos, blue cheese, pepper jack cheese and sauteed peppers. Spicy!
Submit your burger favorites here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will test them out and report back. Stay tuned!