In the days when you used to be fed on airlines, United gave me something dubious in the wee hours of the morning: “a breakfast burrito,” a rubbery concoction filled with sausage, eggs and chemicals. So I’m skeptical when restaurants try to put breakfast, salad or dessert in anything but the middle of a plate.
I brought my appetite and skepticism to empanada joe’s, now open in the Wrap Factory’s former digs. They offer sausage, egg and cheese, caprese salad and even banana and chocolate encased in empanadas ($3.66). These are not your Latina mama’s empanadas. In fact, I don’t think these are empanadas at all.
The flaky pastry pouches are reminiscent of turnovers and offer surprisingly complex flavors, especially in their caprese salad and veggie mama versions. EJ’s prides itself on being “healthy,” baking its empanadas, which are 80 percent cooked, for two minutes before serving. Jessica Seinfeld take note: empanadas are a great way to disguise healthy food for children, but beware, they’re deceptively expensive. I took three kids, and they wolfed down the light little pockets and begged for more. Columbia students will appreciate these grab-and-go snacks. As for me, I prefer empanadas heavier, fried and a little greasy.
(at 111th Street)
-Nancy J. Brandwein
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