Pastel De Nata 1881 is complicated. It’s a tiny, outdoor stand at the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets, so between the parking, the sun and the tourists around you, you’ll question whether it’s really worth the effort. Then you’ll eat what they serve—the only thing they serve—and all questions will be answered. A pastel de nata is a Portuguese egg tart, and this kiosk does them so well, you could double the foot-traffic, add 10 degrees to the temperature and move the stand without telling us, and we’d still seek them out.
The legend of these pastries dates back to the 18th century, when French monks emigrated to Lisbon and tried to emulate the sweets they loved. Pastel de nata soon became the rage. A flaky crust surrounds a rich, creamy egg custard, which is sprinkled with just enough sugar to take it to the edge of burnt. We know, flaky crust and egg-y center sounds like quiche—but it doesn’t taste like quiche. This sweet, luscious egg custard has a different consistency and flavor. It’s magical … or religious … maybe both. Pastel sells one for $3, two for $5 or five for $10. And when they’re gone for the day, they’re gone. The owners plan to expand, to other malls, with other hurdles you should absolutely jump over to reward yourself with these sweet treasures.
PASTEL DE NATA 1881 785 S. Grand Central Parkway, 702-686-8633. Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.