Authentic Cemitas at Puebla Bakery
I've often joked that if I wait long enough, all my favorite Mexican regional foods will show up in Houston (hence my ongoing search for the Guadalajaran birote and a torta ahogada).
Well, I'm pleased to say that Puebla Bakery (6880 Telephone Road, 713-242-6850) does right by its namesake Mexican town with authentic cemita, a brioche-like egg bread that is flavored with anise.
One long-held theory is that the cemita has its roots in the flat breads of the Middle East, "semitic breads," if you will, that were brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. Indeed, there is a large Lebanese population in Puebla and Mexico City (think Salma Hayek).
However, Rachel Lauden has done some excellent research and has proposed that the cemita has its roots in the archaic Spanish word "acemite."
Food Geek Trivia: The cemita shows up in other regions of Mexico but in slightly different forms. For example, along the Texas border, it is a sweeter and sometimes denser bread. Sylvia Casares of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen fame teaches a "Border Breakfast" class and shows how to make border-style cemitas. – Jay Francis