This morning, Bwog woke up hungry and hankering for something not sweet, but savory. Fortunately, Saturday Brunch will never be Sunday Brunch and Bwog wanted lunch. And so on this dark Saturday, Bwog strode down Broadway past the parfaits and waffles of Community and Le Monde in search of vittles of a more proteinaceous variety.
Ecce Empanada Joe’s! Despite its highly anticipated arrival, the little eatery opened to little fanfare a few weeks ago. Unlike Chipotle, tempting customers with both flex and Burrito Bowls, Empanada Joe’s offers neither and unsurprisingly lacks the long lines and loyal following of the former pseudo-latino burrito bar. But occasionally, today for example, hunger outweighs reliability. And despite of Empanada Joe’s generic, prefabricated décor, a result of franchising no doubt, Bwog’s gastronomic gusto was a success.
Entering just minutes after Empanada Joe’s opened this afternoon, Bwog enjoyed a lunch of two stuffed pastries and a side of corn salad. For all those who no habla Espanol, the word empanada comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap in bread (sp. pan.) The pastry to filling ratio often poses a problem to chefs and results in overly doughy or excessively juicy empanadas. But the folks at Empanada Joe’s have the formula for flaky on the outside to flavorful on the inside down. Although their menu is small and primarily consists of the eponymous treats, there are some desserts and a bunch of tasty sides as well. But the variety lies, however, with what’s inside the empanada.
Most of the filling options involve the typical ingredients of Latin American cooking, pulled pork, sausage and peppers, beef and the like. But there are vegetarian options and some creative, decidedly un-ethnic, spins on bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwiches. It’s a little confusing to know how much to order the first time around. But Bwog recommends at least two empanadas, reasonably priced at $3.38 each and a side, $3.42 each, to round out the meal. Together the Rio Chicken, spicy without being overwhelmingly so, and the Veggie Mama, a little light on veggies and heavy on the sauce, left just enough room for the corn salad. To be honest, this was most anticipated item of Bwog’s lunch, but damn those great expectations. Unfortunately the corn salad, consisting of canned corn and neither enough lime nor parsley, fell short.
Nonetheless Empanada Joe’s served up fresh, hot and healthy-ish lunch in minimal time and for minimal money.