Friday, September 11, 2009

Empanada @ Ruben's Empanada

Ruben's Empanada (left), Empanada in Argentina (right, photo from travel companion)

If you haven't had an empanada yet, you are missing out. An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry, which is made by folding dough around the stuffing. The origin of the empanada may have come from an Arab country, which commonly serves this pastry with spinach and meat, and was introduced to Spain and Portugal during the Arabic occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. Though the name comes from Spain and Portugal, you don't need to travel that far to have a taste! These days empanadas can be found in just about any country that has some of that Spanish, Portuguese, or Arabic ethnic influence. I don't know when I had my first empanada, perhaps in Spain, but I've surely had it several times over since then -- in California, in New York and in Argentina.

I've always been a fan of Ruben's Empanadas and if you haven't been, you should go! Ruben's offers more than 15 different types of empanadas catering to herbivores (corn, mushroom, spinach, spicy tofu, veggie chili), to carnivores (beef, chili, chicken, spicy chicken, ham and cheese, Argentine sausage) and to seafood-ores (shrimp, tuna). Ruben's Empanadas' roots are from Argentina, noting its semi-circle design.

This here is the Argentine Sausage - ground beef and ground pork sauteed in a red wine sauce. Every bite you take is a mouthful of meat! It may be a tiny bit bland at first, but it caters to everyone's taste as salt and pepper are provided on the side (and hot sauce!). I've had this and the spicy chicken numerous times and am never disappointed. This empanada and its peers cost $4.00, with the exception of the shrimp that costs $4.50 (slightly up from when I last had it a year-ago).

Ruben's has expanded its empanada menu to include a sort of "dinner/lunch" like sense that offers one empanada + rice + chorizo for $8.00. There are other sorts of combinations as well, that only include rice and beans for $7.50. Below is a picture of the rice and chorizo option.

In my mind, empanadas are the perfect simple meals -- which proved true during my travels in Argentina -- I bought these right before a trip, having them to tide me over until my next meal or travel destination. They travel well and can be a hearty meal! So, if you don't want to travel to Argentina or Spain, feel free to stop by one of Ruben's empanada locations that can be found throughout New York!

A few of Ruben's Empanada Locations:
505 Broome St, cross street Watts -- located in Soho
122 1st Ave, cross street 7th street and 1st avenue - East Village
64 Fulton St, cross street Cliff and Gold -- located in Financial District (many more in this area)

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