Friday, July 30, 2010
Empanada Soulmate Seach Part I: Rincon Chileno - Hollywood
In the meantime, I scour the streets of Los Angeles looking for my empanada soul mate. Of course, I'm slightly ruined by my Aunt Mary's Empanadas Criollas that she whips up for special occasions in her humble Athenian kitchen, so I mainly seek out the Espinacas or Spinach ones.
Being a Hel-Mel aka Heliotrope-Melrose junkie (i.e. Scoops, Pure Luck, City College Cafe) it wasn't hard to see the sign across the street from my regular establishments.
Also, I was curious what Chilean empanadas were all about. Rincon Chileno not only sells empanadas, but pumps out a variety of other Chilean dishes from their kitchen as well as sweet baked goods. The walls of the tiny store are covered with traditional Chilean supermarket shelf goodies.
On a recent visit, I stepped inside to a tray of goodies laid out on the counter:
The most noticeable difference between Rincon Chileno's empanadas and the other Argentinians ones I've had is the dough color. Here it is a golden yellow dough where as the Argentinian ones have all been a regular beige bread color.
I order three empanadas to go: de carne (beef), since they were fresh out the oven ($2.25), de espinaca (spinach) ($2.50) and de espinaca con queso (spinach and cheese, why bother translating?) ($3.50). Now, these are the most expensive empanadas I've ever had, but they are also the largest. Size matters.
The de carne's were stuffed with not only beef but whole black olives, bits of hard boiled egg and sauteed onions. The spice wasn't anything crazy, but the ingredients were fresh and moist. The lack of spice was more than made up for in the chimichurri sauce bursting with garlic and green heat. Ps. I love finding hard boiled egg in my empanadas. Bonus!
Finding an empanada with just spinach (and no cheese) was impressive in itself, quick, someone alert QuarryGirl.com of this vegan madness! When I first ordered the de espinaca, the guy taking my order questioned me:
"Are you sure you don't want the one con queso?"
I wanted pure spinach, baby. I enjoyed this version, however, hypertension sufferers beware, it's super salty. The dough is dense and chewy/slightly undercooked in parts, but not in careless sort of way. It actually adds to the overall complexity.
The de espinaca con queso empanadas are the version I compare all empanadas with in my smackdown. These ones are stuffed with a mild mozzarella tasting cheese in addition to the salty spinach stuffing. Nice, but I guess deep down inside I was hoping for some boiled egg. It was a colossal and filling empanada, no doubt but I was left wanting someone more (beside a tall glass of water).
Low and behold the menu:
4354 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90029