It wasn't really planned, it just sort of happened, that while on our way to Mango Rico and Associated for some Memorial Day BBQ preparation items, José and I had ourselves an empanada round-up. We were hungry, about to cook, and needed a little something. Empanadas sounded just about perfect, but where? We know where we like them in Corona (On National St. close to 103rd, forgot the name of the bakery!). We know where we like them on Broadway in Elmhurst (La Gata Golosa), but close to Roosevelt and 82nd Street, we just weren't sure, so we tried 3 different places, in the hopes that we would never again have this particular problem. Since we weren't planning on this, the pictures are from my phone, sort of blurry, and not very good, but at least it's documented somehow.
First off: Las Americas Bakery. We got 3 meat empanadas, which were extremely hot and incredibly crispy, with a great corn flavor to the crust. The filling was meaty and potato-y, and really stuffed in there. The empanadas were great. But: they only gave us one tiny container of sauce for three large empanadas. That is a crime in our world, as we (and when I say we, I mean José) need one container per empanada. The worst part was that the sauce was really good. Red, chunky, and spicy, a perfect addition to the starchy, meaty filling. So we moved on.
There once was a yogurt place, on the corner of 82nd and Roosevelt. It didn't do that well. Until it became half yogurt place, half Colombian bakery, and now it's doing just fine. Well not really a bakery, since they don't actually bake anything there, but they do sell Colombian baked goods. And empanadas, of course, so that was the second stop. We got three meat empanadas again. They were not as fresh as the previous bunch. Had been sitting in the heat box for a little too long. A little too chewy, a lot less filling. They did give us enough sauce, though, so they win points for that. A green, not too spicy sauce, more like a chimichurri than anything else. $1.25 each.
Last stop, before we got too full: La Delicia en Pandebono. Who make all kinds of things beside their pandebono, which are great. Again, three meat empanadas, again, $1.25 each. They were fresh tasting, very hot, crisp, and the meat filling was good- large chunks of meat, very tender. Not quite as crunchy and crispy as Las Americas, but a strong competitor. And the best part of all: see those lovely, grape-covered ceramic containers? They are filled with salsa. A spicy, oniony red sauce. No doling out one little container, at La Delicia, they want you to spoon on as much salsa as you could ever want. That made us very happy.
After tasting the empanadas from these three places, I think we now know where to go. Sort of. We might do Las Americas on occasion, and maybe pay for extra sauce, but more likely we will go where the sauce flows freely.
Las Americas Bakery
40-30 82nd St, Elmhurst
Yogurberry/ Pan y Mas
Roosevelt Ave and 82nd Street, Elmhurst
La Delicia en Pandebono
40-23 82nd St, Elmhurst