Posts Tagged With: Empanada Mama

I Rank Empanada Mama’s Empanadas

photo 2A Hell’l Kitchen Guide staple from day one, this mama hasnt skipped a beat since it opened.  Even when things seem slow everywhere else in the neighborhood (between lunch and dinner), these guys are busy.  I’ve gone on a special empanada diet for the past few weeks.  And for the purpose of this post, I picked 10 Empanadas which consists of all the popular ones, plus a few I was just curious about (e.g. polish).  Scoring is 1 to 10 Z’s, with 10 Z’s being the best.  Congratulations to the winners.

ZZZZZZZZZ (9) – SPICY CHICKEN.  The creme de la creme.  Chunks of chicken breast slowly cooked in mama’s special picante sauce which is reminiscent of the Israeli S’chug, a fiery delicious Yemeni spread.   This is the definition of “pleasant Heat” that stays with you for a few hours.  Fairly spicy, not for everyone

ZZZZZZZZ (8) – BRASIL – Traditional Brazilian style empanada with ground beef, olives, sauteed onions, and potatoes.  Juicy, flavor packed with excellent depth.

ZZZZZZZz (7.5) – CUBAN – Slowly roasted pork, ham with mozzarella cheese and a touch of sofrito sauce.   Very nice!  The ham and the sauce take this to another level

ZZZZZZZz (7.5) – DESAYUNO COLOMBIANO – Colombian sausage, cheddar cheese, eggs and Spanish onion.  A solid breakfast snack that’s available throughout the day.

ZZZZZZZ (7) – VIAGRA – Seafood stew with shrimp, scallops, and crab meat.  The shrimp half is a bit boring, but then when you get to the other stuff.. oooh boy!  Nice fishy flavors.  The Viagra especially goes well with the Brazil!

ZZZZZZZ (7) – TJC – Mama’s tuna melt with cheddar cheese and jalapenos.  While I didnt rate it here because I havent had in a while, the Tuna/Jalapeno Empanada (no cheese) may be even better

ZZZZZZZ (7) – MAMBO ITALIANO – Roasted Italian sweet sausage with red and green peppers, onions, mozzarella cheese and a touch of tomato sauce.  Pretty much exactly what you’d expect…  Sausage and Peppers

ZZZZZZ (6) – POLISHPolish sausage (Kielbasa) sauteed with sauerkraut.  Good if not a bit bland.  I like my Kielbasas a bit tangier.

ZZZZZ (5) – REGGAETONCaribbean style roast pork with sofrito seasoned yellow rice and peas.  I’ve enjoyed this in the past but now finding it a little dry and in desperate need of that green sauce.  Would have been better without the rice

ZZZZ (4) – CHEESESTEAKSkirt steak with mozzarella cheese and a Latin twist.  The latin twist is it squirts all over the place when opened!  Steak a bit tough, no flavor, no likey

Even though I ranked the Polish and Reggaeton at the bottom, the only one I would avoid is the last one.  Reggaeton is fairly popular.

The green sauce is nice.  Red sauce not so much

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Scenes From the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival

Warning:  Some of these images may be disturbing.  They may include large crowds, pictures of alcoholic beverages, tender grilled octopuses (yes, octopuses is not only acceptable but rolls off the tongue better.. try saying it a few times.. Octopuses) and ways in which we can cheat the system and walk around holding an alcoholic beverage on the streets of NY.  They may also include scenes way too familiar to the average NY food festival goer including pictures of Shish Kebab, corn, and strange looking dudes sporting cats and giant beer bottles on their heads.

I’m also taking this opportunity to award the first ever ZAG award to the vendor showing excellence via most palatable eats.  The ZAG (Ziggy Against Gyros) goes to Empanada Mama and their terrific Brazil and Spicy Chicken Empanadas.  Congratulations guys.photo (9) photo (8) photo (25) photo (24) photo (23) photo (21) photo (18) photo (19) photo (20) photo (17) photo (15) photo (14) photo (11) photo (12) photo (13) photo (10)

 

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Best Dishes in Hell’s Kitchen- Round 2

Pure Thai Ratchaburi Continuing the best of hell series where I feature 5 dishes from Hell’s Kitchen.  Round one can be found here.  Will try to make it a monthly feature pending approval from my gastroenterologist

Ratchaburi crab and pork dry noodles at Pure Thai Cookhouse (above)– The neighborhood’s dry(er) noodle offerings are intensifying as of late, but this is perhaps the original and still the one to beat.  The noodles are handmade in house in the Thai shophouse-like setting (in fact originally Pure’s name was Pure Thai Shophouse until Chipotle made them change its name – long story).  That dry but tender bright delicious pork, the wonderfully chewy tasty egg noodles, the sweetness of the crab, and nuttiness of the “I cant believe its not Broccoli Rabe” Yo Choy.  Add some of the citrusy broth from the bottom for added flavor.  Easily one of my faves, named after the Ratchaburi region in Central Thailand where one of the owners (the wife) came from.  BONUS:  For an app get the Ribs (below)Pure Thai Ribs

Chicken Shawarma at Azuri Café – I hear disturbing reports lately that Ezra from Azuri is cracking smiles at tourists.  I’m not sure if it means a change in attitude, trouble with Mrs Ezra, or?  This is simply not the neighborhood Ezra we know and love to hate.  With that said, the falafel is still the best in the area.  But you can get good falafel all over town, and lately its the Shawarma that’s winning me over.  After a good amount of shaving from the turning spit, he cooks it a little longer on the griddle with secret sauce and spices.  Then he stuffs the goodies in the whole wheat pita with the fresh salads in the same careful technique that made his falafel a neighborhood icon.  And in true Israeli style adds some Amba sauce (Mango based condiment), pickles, and if you want… spicy “Harif” S’chug.  You have to say “HaRIF” with the jewish spitting Chhhh if you want it though.  The result is a glorious mess of flavors thats worth the extra Shekels.Azuri Cafe - Chicken Shawarma

Trenette at Mercato.  There are quite a few excellent pastas at my favorite casual Italian in Hell’s Kitchen, but if I have to pick one, its the simple but addictive homemade Trenette.  Almonds and garlic used liberally, tomato and basil contribute to the flavor explosion of this $12 dish (yes, a $12 pasta in NYC).  Save some of the bread for this one and I dare you to leave anything on the plateMercato Trenette

Empanada mamma Spicy ChickenSpicy Chicken Empanada at Empanada Mama – Ok, I keep trying various empanadas and every time I go, I must order at least one Spicy Chicken to enjoy last.  I especially need one good one to cool me down after the Viagra Empanada, perhaps my second favorite of the bunch but for different reasons.  Hey, I don’t name them.  Chunks of tender, mouthwatering chicken slowly cooked in Mama’s special picante sauce creating this super pleasant heat.  Just like mama used to make!  Well, its just an expression, my mom has no idea what Empanadas are?

Silan at Taboon – Vanilla ice cream with puffed rice and date honey sprinkled with caramelized pistachios and topped with shredded halva, SHREDDED HALVA!  Need I say more.  I probably should.  But I’m tired!  Laila Tov!

Stay hungry Amigos!Taboon Silan

 

 

 

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