Little pastry pockets in all of their American and international permutations — baked or fried, filled with savory or sweet ingredients and lined up by the dozen with some sort of dipping sauce on the side — are among life's most craveable snacks. But finding just the right version to feed your hunger can be a challenge, particularly if you lack the time or energy to seek out new and delicious bites in sprawling metro Denver.
Thankfully, several new purveyors have popped up that are offering comforting cuisine in both familiar and uncommon formats. Pastelitos, samosas, hand pies and tequeños are on the menu at these five companies, all of which specialize in delivering fresh or frozen goods straight to your house. During these odd times, when your home has become your office, your gym, your kids' school and your social venue, it can now also be your favorite international eatery.
Fill it with food from:
My Stop Denver — Gastronomia Venezolana
If you're familiar with Cuban cuisine, you've probably had pastelitos, delicate pastries filled with guava and cream cheese. Venezuela has a pastelito, too, and it differs a little from the Cuban variety. My Stop Denver makes petite puffs with bubbly shells filled with ground beef, chicken or cheese, along with occasional specials like carnitas. You can order fresh, hot pastelitos to eat right away or request frozen pastelitos to heat and eat later; either way, they come with a choice of ajo (garlic mayo), guasacaca (avocado salsa) or picante mayo. They're $2.50 each, $6 for three (with one salsa), or $24 for a dozen (with three salsas). Deliveries are available every day but Monday by calling 786-724-8818 or 720-984-7456. Visit My Stop Denver on Instagram or Facebook, and direct-message the company through those platforms for a full menu.
Palava Fine Foods
In 2007, The Palava opened at 11002 East Yale Avenue in Aurora; the East African restaurant quickly became a gathering place for immigrants from all over Africa. One of the most popular menu items were the samosas, and although the restaurant is now closed, the owners have converted the space into a USDA- and FDA-inspected commercial kitchen turning out samosas and chutneys for home delivery. The recipes are East African with Indian and Middle Eastern influences, and options range from lamb, chicken, beef and barbecue pork to spinach, potato and coconut fillings. Orders come in professional packaging and include a choice of mango, pear-ginger or sweet-and-sour chutneys. Order boxes of frozen samosas online from Palava Fine Foods, or pick them up at local grocery stores such as H Mart, Arash International Market, Pacific Ocean Marketplace and Nooch Vegan Market (meatless samosas only). Boxes run about $9 each for eight samosas, but the price comes down if you order in quantity.
Tequeños look like something invented for state fairs and sports stadiums: They're hand-sized batons of golden-brown bread dough spiraled around a gooey interior of white cheese — the preferred filling in their native country of Venezuela. While tequeños would be at home on any party platter, the sweet and savory fillings created by Aura's Bakery seem better suited for breakfast with coffee or an afternoon snack than being wolfed down with cheap beer. In addition to the standard cheese filling, there's Nutella, guava and cheese, pesto and goat cheese, or bacon, ricotta and leek; you can also order a sweet apple tequeño. Order them baked or fried for $14 to $16 a dozen; visit Aura's Bakery on Instagram for a complete menu and ordering instructions for home delivery.
The tequeños from Tequeworld are a little sleeker and slicker in appearance and packaging than the homestyle products from Aura's, but they're proof that Venezuelan cuisine is on the rise in Denver. They come as minis or as cachitos — the tequeno's bigger cousin — that are large enough for a meal. Either way, they come loaded with cheese as well as guava, plantain, sweet corn or ham. You can order them in various package sizes, from a twenty-pack of cheese tequeños for $20 to a two-pack of cachitos for $6. Tequeworld has a full online market of other Latin American products, too, so you can also stock up on specialty cheeses, sausages, cooking ingredients and snacks. Order from the Tequeworld online store; your purchases will be shipped, rather than delivered directly, so these aren't the best option to satisfy sudden cravings.
Over the past few years, John Hinman had built up his bakery business to provide restaurants with a wide variety of bread products. But with the pandemic drastically slowing restaurant orders, the baker has returned to his first love: pie. Hinman's pies have been a staple at the Union Station Farmers' Market, but now you can find a bigger selection at the Hinman's Bakery online store, where he sells sweet and savory pies in three sizes: a standard nine-inch, a mini five-inch, and a single-serving hand pie. For a full meal, you can't beat the pork green chile pies, but chicken or veggie pot pies and shepherd's pie are also standouts. Hinman's also offers a full range of fruit pies — currently blueberry, peach, cherry and apple — to satisfy your sweet tooth. The baker just cranked up the online store on August 24, so the current purchase option is for Friday pick-up at 5604 Kendall Court in Arvada, but delivery for larger orders will soon be added.