San Antonio Bakery 2 - 36-20 Astoria Blvd, Astoria NY 11103
N/W Train to Astoria Blvd
I've been hearing nothing but great things about San Antonio 2 Chilean bakery. Meg has praised their hot dogs many times and recently, I also read about it on Local 718 blog, which further convinced me to try it. I brought Jess along, who I thought would be a great critic, given her experience with Latin food. Sure enough, the food at San Antonio passed her taste test and she even compared it to a legendary hot dog place in her hometown of Los Angeles. So I kid you not...this is the real deal.
While its exterior can be misleading and a bit uninviting, I do encourage you to look past it and go inside. Once you enter, you'll notice a relatively large, clean space with plenty of tables and chairs for dining in. They even offer table service, which I found to be a really great convenience. And though the decor is as simple as can be, you can expect to feel comfortable and relaxed. After you finish your hot dogs, or whatever else you came for, you can always stop at the front pastry counter and order a cookie or an exotic dessert to go. Overall, I'd say the theme of this place is to not judge a book by its cover.
The Completo - We came for the legendary hot dogs and both Jess and I ordered the Completo. As its name suggests, this dog came with everything under the sun including chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a generous helping of guacamole and mayonnaise. I know the mayo topping sounds weird but it worked beautifully with the rest of the flavors, adding a creamy texture. Although the contents of the hot dog were stupendous, the best part for me was the bun. The bread was so great--toasted just slightly--producing a gentle crunch when you bit into it. I'm a proponent of using really good bread in all sorts of sandwiches including hot dogs and burgers and I was glad that San Antonio shares my views.
This Completo also came with a very generous side of pebre (Chilean salsa), which enhanced its flavor and tang even more. I couldn't believe what a generous portion it was--it came in a mini (but deep) clay pot that was filled to the top. Mmmmm...
Dessert - Even though we were full, I couldn't leave San Antonio without trying an authentic Chilean pastry. There were so many amazing things to choose from but I finally settled on a crunchy layer cookie filled with caramel custard, enveloped further in shredded coconut. Wow! The crunchy and deliciously flaky crust was just sublime and unlike my experience with layered pastries, it didn't crumble upon contact. The caramel custard was pure heaven and I loved that it wasn't overly sweet. The cookie was slightly chilled, which made it even more enjoable and easier to eat--I highly recommend it to all you caramel lovers.
Service and Cost:
The service couldn't be better. We were served right away and our hot dogs came out in less than 10 minutes. Enjoying a leisurely lunch and good conversation, we weren't rushed to leave and felt very relaxed. It also has to be noted that the staff is very friendly to non-Spanish speakers, so if you're not a Latina (just like I'm not), know that you'll be treated with kindness and respect.
Just as delightful as San Antonio's hot dogs and baked goods, so are their prices. For two Completos, two waters and the pastry I describe above, we paid a total of $11.50. If that's not a wallet-friendly offering, I don't know what is.