Street Food: Empanadas Argentinas

July 2010
I had my first empanada in 1991 when I spent a month in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There, the savory pastry pockets (think gourmet, crescent-shape packages) are the snack of choice, and they show up at lunch, at afternoon tea, and in between meals. I was hooked. Several years later, empanadas began landing on local menus, but few did the Argentinean staple justice. Now, along with Buenos Aires Pizzeria and Sabor Latino, the month-old Empanadas Argentinas cart on the 16th Street Mall satiates my cravings. The cart's menu board offers four varieties: beef, spicy chicken, spinach and white sauce, and ham and cheese. The day I visited, all that was left was the spinach version, so I bought one and walked back to the office savoring the piping-hot, flaky dough and the rich filling. The simple, satisfying nature of the pastry---bolstered by my memories of meals in Buenos Aires---will bring me back again and again. Bargain Bite: Five bucks buys you two empanadas and a drink. 16th and Curtis streets