It's what's inside that matters
My sister in law is kind of a saint, and not just because she married my little brother, but because she is a poster child for acts of kindness (i.e. bring home a box of empanadas) for the sake of my empanada treasure hunt. Empanada place has two locations: one in Culver City and one in Costa Mesa. I've been to the Culver City location once and was disappointed by the super greasy fried pies with minimal filling (and lots of hot air in between). But these were from the Orange Curtain location, and much better. The fillings were robust, fresh while the dough was at least not dripping in oil. Empanada's Place's prices ($2.99 each) are, however, one of the highest around town. The fillings were fantastic, however I am partial to the baked empandas.
Empanada place has a fun menu with pictures depicting all their crazy shapes for each empanada flavor.
I started off with the Spinach empanada crammed also with mozzarella, parmesan, and "white sauce." I enjoyed the delicate, melt-in-your-mouth bite of this dough baby. The dough layer is thin, creating just a holding pouch for the innards. It was gone in a green flash.
The Cheese & Onion was also lovely with fresh white onions and mozzarella cheese. I liked how the aggressive onion paired with the mild cheese resulted in an irresistible balance of flavor (and aroma).
Cheese and Fresh Onion
Being an eggplant lover, I was excited to try the Berenjena or Eggplant pie with fresh eggplants, tomato sauce, parmesan and mozzarella. I also loved the shape of this empanada.
Tribal Dolphin Drawing?
The innards reminded me of Greek eggplant salad, melitzanosalata. It was a heartier vegetarian filling.
Empanda's Place also makes alfajores, similar to the Peruvian variety with dulce de leche sandwiched between two butter cookies and rolled in a little coconut.
1. Grand Casino Bakery
2. Rincon Argentino
3. Rincon Chileno
4. Empanda Place
3011 Harbor Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626