As the old saying goes “what you put out will come back to you in unexpected ways”. Truly, some people actually do things not expecting anything in return which is the case of my mother. My mom was an extremely giving person always helping others including the Gonzalez family which had recently arrived from Cuba and opened Karla Bakery on Flagler and 64th Avenue in Miami, Florida. Being the new kid on the block circa 1989 and the Cuban pastry aficionado’s we are, Karla became our favorite go-to bakery. I remember trying their innovative panini pressed croissant sandwich and my favorite warm cheese and guava pastries as if it were yesterday. Little secret – I loved guava as a kid and family members would call me the guava queen, a name I still hold truly and dearly to my heart today.
Karla and her then husband plus two children tirelessly worked in their bakery 7 days a week and were devoted to pursue the American Dream. Besides hosting our family parties, my mom would also place orders for her office events and recommend Karla’s goodies to everyone she knew. Sadly, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which endured many stopovers to a local community hospital. During her lengthy and countless stays she always craved and missed her Karla pastelitos. She took it upon herself to visit with the hospital administration. Her pitch was ‘this is Miami and we can’t have a local hospital without offering Cuban bread and Cuban pastries’. Through her persistence, Pan American Hospital approved Karla Bakery as their preferred pastry vendor bringing a huge opportunity to the Gonzalez Family plus joyfully spreading this Cuban bakery’s authenticity.
Although my mother and one of Karla’s kids passed away, Pan American Hospital closed and the economic downtown shifted everyone’s lives, karma resurrected when I reached out to Ariel, Karla’s son which is currently in charge of operations, to say hello and offer him a new space for their bakery. Speaking with him brought beautiful memories of my mother and I enjoying countless breakfasts, lunches and snacks at his bakery almost 30 years ago! Through my persistence and vision, I’m excited to report that we secured a great new home for Karla Bakery in Doral which should be opening by the end of 2020. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with the Gonzalez family and extremely thankful for my mother’s wisdom of giving without receiving, her tenacity, kindness, faith, friendship and love of others for without that I would not be the woman I am today.
Michelle, the guava queen
PS-since a portion of our commissions are donated to our community, this month’s donation was made in honor of my mother to La Liga Contra el Cancer.