Tag Archives: empanadas

Two for Tuesday: Arepas & Empanadas

My love affair with empanadas doesn’t go back very far, but when I first had them, it was forever.  My preference is for corn flour empanadas, and I opt for the more traditional ones rather than concoctions like pizza empanada.  I was excited to see that Raleigh, NC, got an empanada bar, so I had to try it.  Calavela Empanada is in a trendy neighborhood near City Market in downtown Raleigh, and it also has a bar for the night crowd.  Downtown Raleigh tends to have a young professional crowd, and that’s who patronized this restaurant when I visited.

I wound up getting the Piggly Wiggly since I was in North Carolina–it’s a pulled pork empanada and the holy frijoles with black beans, sweet potato and Oaxacan cheese.

empanadas

Both of these lacked flavor, and the dough was more of a pie pastry than what I’m used to for empanada dough.

My friend got the champ, which is a mushroom empanada and poblano loco with poblano peppers.  She felt the same way about hers as I did.  On the flip side, these are only $3 a pop, so this is the cheapest option for a night out in downtown Raleigh.

Guasaca in West Raleigh is a fast food restaurant serving arepas.  Arepas are Venezuelan breads made from corn flour.  I’ve had them in the city, but I must admit I was not a huge fan.  What’s cool here is that you can order a signature arepa or build your own.  I got an avocado chicken arepa and a tilapia one with baked plantains and caramelized onions.  I also got red sauce and cilantro sauce on the side.  These were pretty yummy, although messy because the bread is not a pocket so it doesn’t hold the ingredients.

2013-12-16_14-06-37_467

Advertisements

9th Avenue International Food Festival

Today and tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday, May 18 & 19, 2013, is the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival.  The festival runs from 42nd Street to 57th Street.  As you can see from this pic, the darkening sky didn’t keep festival goers away.  In fact, when it started to pour, they got umbrellas.

9th Ave.
There are all kinds of ethnic foods as well as typical fair foods like zeppole, funnel cakes, arepas, candy apples and grilled corn.

grilled corn

There are booths with Hell’s Kitchen and New York t-shirts and your standard street fair hats, sheets, spices, etc.  If you’re a single lady, there are some cute cops on the festival route, especially at 48th Street.

Some booths of note to check out are Empanada Mama, one of the festival sponsors, which has a few spread throughout the festival:

Empanada Mama

And Thai buns across the street:

Thai buns

I got the 3 for $5, Thai sweet sausages, pulled beef and curry chicken.  All were good.

Thai buns1

Schmackary gave out free samples of its chocolate diablo cookie, a chocolate cookie that brings the heat.

Schmackary's

It was really good.

chocolate diablo cookie

Friendship has a booth giving away free samples of cottage cheese.

Friendship

Poseidon Bakery, one of the festival sponsors, has a table of Greek pastries.

Greek pastries

The Best of 2012

As 2012 ends, it’s a time to reflect on all the delicious meals and treats I had this year.  It was a year of firsts for me:  my first empanadas, my first ramen, my first soup dumplings.  I tried bottarga (an Italian delicacy–dried caviar from tuna or gray mullet eggs).

Here are lists of my favorites for the year.

Dina’s top 5 brunches of 2012:

1.  Barbounia‘s shakshouka

Moroccan eggs

2.  West End Grill‘s omelets with sweet potato chipotle short rib hash

sweet potato chipotle short rib hash

sweet potato chipotle short rib hash

3.  Robert‘s ricotta pancakes

ricotta pancakes

4.  Popover Cafe‘s Carolina Dinah with cheddar cheese grits

carolina dinah

5.  Market Diner‘s breakfast

Dina’s top 6 frozen treats of 2012:

1.  Grom‘s candied chestnut gelato

Grom's chestnut

Grom’s chestnut

2.  Itizy‘s vanilla ice cream

itizy

3.  Yogorino‘s plain frozen yogurt

Yogorino

Yogorino

4.  Yo Art‘s Greek lemon frozen yogurt

Greek lemon

5.  Sundaes and Cones‘s Thai tea and corn ice creams

ginger, corn and Thai tea ice cream

ginger, corn and Thai tea ice cream

6.  Mo’s cherry and mascarpone gelato

mascarpone and cherry gelato

mascarpone and cherry gelato

Dina’s top 6 desserts of 2012:

1.  Smyrna‘s rice pudding

Smyrna rice pudding

2.  Epicerie Boulud‘s brandied cherry beignets

brandied cherry beignets

brandied cherry beignets

3.  Benoit‘s tarte tropezienne

vanilla cream cake

vanilla cream cake

4.  La Silhouette‘s honey mascarpone mille feuille with toasted oats and cherry curd

honey mascarpone mille feuille with toasted oats and cherry curd

honey mascarpone mille feuille with toasted oats and cherry curd

5. Pie Face‘s lamington

lamington

lamington

6.  Minamoto Kitchoan‘s fukuwatashi

Kitchoan goodies

Kitchoan goodies

Dina’s top 14 dishes of 2012:

1.  Braai‘s chicken bobotie

chicken bobotie

chicken bobotie

2.  Braai‘s portobello mushroom with goat cheese

portobello mushroom with goat cheese

portobello mushroom with goat cheese

3.  Caffe Falai‘s gnudi

Gnudi

Gnudi

4.  Lillie‘s lobster mac and cheese

lobster mac and cheese

5.  Xai Xai‘s eggplant rolled and stuffed with goat cheese

2012-07-25_18-04-41_663-1

6.  The Palm‘s crab cake appetizer

2012-06-15_18-01-53_173-1

7.  David Burke Kitchen‘s crab and tomato gazpacho

2012-07-23_20-50-17_587

8.  Porter House‘s organic Scottish salmon

Scottish salmon

Scottish salmon

9.  Almayass‘s shrimp provencal

shrimp

10.  Totto Ramen‘s char siu bun

char siu bun

char siu bun

11.  Swizz‘s raclette

raclette

12.  Joe’s Shanghai‘s soup dumplings

Joe's Shanghai soup dumplings

Joe’s Shanghai soup dumplings

13.  Empanada Mama‘s corn flour cheese empanadas

empanada

14.  Num Pang‘s pulled duroc pork sandwich

duroc pork