Three years ago, after searching for but never finding some of her favorite foods from Argentina, Buenos Aires native Lorena Cantarovici opened a Denver-area catering company that used her mother's recipes for empanadas, tartas and dulce de leche.
By last year, her operation was so successful, she needed a bigger kitchen. So she scored a lease for a spot near the intersection of Sheridan and Mississippi, where she was also able to build a counter and a small seating area so that it's possible for diners to drop in and enjoy a quick meal.
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I became obsessed with Argentine empanadas when I lived in that country, but after returning to the States, I only found close -- and not so close -- approximations. So soon after it opened, I headed over to Maria Empanada -- and for this week's review, I sampled every flavor Cantarovici bakes, plus everything else she keeps on hand.