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Good to Go: Carrollton’s El Portal Cafe Offers a Gateway to Sweet Goodness

The roscón is a sweet bread you'll want to have regularly in your house.EXPAND
The roscón is a sweet bread you'll want to have regularly in your house.
Taylor Adams

Good to Go is a column in which our food writers explore Dallas' restaurant scene through takeout orders, delivery boxes and reheated leftovers.

The white paper bag has just a touch of grease seeping through after a few minutes from when you pick it up.

Inside is a simple-enough looking bread, small and rounded with dark specks. On first bite, a slight sweetness and a rounding saltiness make you want to devour the whole thing.

Almojábana ($1.49), a bread made with cuajada cheese and corn flour, is just one item you can get at the Colombian bakery and restaurant El Portal Cafe in Carrollton.

One traditional treat that will make you crave a return is the roscón ($3.50). This larger, round sweet bread is filled with arequipe — a thick, smooth paste made with caramelized milk and sugar. A wedge of this begs to be enjoyed with coffee, whether it’s in the morning for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up.

MilhojasEXPAND
Milhojas
Taylor Adams

If you’re going for straight-up dessert, you can try the milhojas ($2.99). It’s a nearly precarious stack of puff pastry and a sweet cream, topped with a condensed milk-sugar mixture. Don’t let this one sit on its own in your fridge. The delicate layers yearn to become one blob as it ages. Instead, get into this crispness while it’s fresh for a light but sweet dessert.

Even loading up on pastries (some of which you need to, or can’t resist to, eat quickly) doesn’t mean you have to stop your order. Get a round of empanadas to go — just ask for them cold ($11.94 for six).

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Empanadas de carne, fried at home, from El Portal. (They do come with aji, but this version of the salsa pictured is from nearby Casa Vieja Restaurant, which also has phenomenal empanadas.)EXPAND
Empanadas de carne, fried at home, from El Portal. (They do come with aji, but this version of the salsa pictured is from nearby Casa Vieja Restaurant, which also has phenomenal empanadas.)
Taylor Adams

This way, they’re bright, yellow hemispheres that look naked, but pop those in some hot oil at home, and you have freshly fried, meat-filled empanadas that will make for a crispy, savory meal when you’re ready for them.

There’s no dine-in happening here right now, but takeout’s easy. Call in your order, and pay when you get inside.

El Portal Cafe, 2810 E. Trinity Mills Road, Carrollton. 972-477-3927. Open 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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