Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Empanadas, Etc.

Latin America = most of the countries south of the US border. Latin American food = a billion different things. A review of "Latin American Restaurants" is difficult, because while they might be similar in some respects, each country's cuisine is unique. I'm lucky that I live close to a lot of restaurants who identify as Latin American, whether they be Costa Rican, Cuban, Mexican, Argentinian, Puerto Rican, or just "Latin American" in general, but I'm even luckier that all these places feature one of my favorite comfort foods: empanadas.

Good For: Dinner, patio drinks, getting together with friends.
Ambiance: Casual, with several seating areas depending on your party's size.
Notes: I've liked everything I've gotten from D'Noche. Along with the always popular Trio de Empanadas, the rest of their "Starters" pair well with their cocktails (my favorite is the D'Noche Mojito).

Good For: Dinner, patio drinks, getting together with friends...and oatmeal shakes!
Ambiance: Casual, open air, cozy, festive, and celebratory. It's always a party at Irazu.
Notes: The sweet plantain empanada is my favorite, but they are all worth a try (with Salsa Lizano on top!). Irazu is BYOB, vegetarian friendly, and cash only. They are also closed on Sundays, which I've learned the hard way (standing outside on a Sunday evening, hungry and craving a steak sandwich).

El Nandu
Good For: Empanada takeout!
Ambiance: I've honestly only ever gotten takeout from El Nandu. Eating in is on my list.
Notes: Order empanadas with confidence - they are all good. My favorites are the Tucumana (steak, olives, green onion, eggs) and the Maiz (corn, green onion, red pepper, egg, and cheese).

Honorable Mention
90 Miles
Good For: Empanadas and Cuban coffee.
Ambiance: Intimate, somewhere in between casual and formal, low lit.
Notes: 90 Miles isn't my favorite place to dine (it's kinda pricey and every time I'm there I wonder why it's so dark inside), but they do have awesome cafe con leche and they're BYOB, which makes it an easy spot for group gatherings. They may also need to adjust their slogan ("Taste the Forbidden").

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