Maria Empanada

This Argentinean café and bakery moved from West Mississippi Avenue to Platt Park in 2014, then expanded into the Denver Tech Center in 2016 with a new shop sporting gleaming white tile, a high-end espresso machine and enough pastry-case square footage to properly display the many empanadas, tortas and desserts being baked up in a bright, modern kitchen. Empanada varieties follow a traditional Argentinean pattern; each plump pastry has its own shape based on the filling. The best of the bunch may be the corn version, with sweet corn kernels spiced, cheesed and swaddled in tender dough. Other tempting fillings include spinach with béchamel; the classic combo of ground beef, peppers, hard-boiled egg and olives; and a Caprese with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Thick wedges of tarta, like a savory deep-dish pie, come loaded with spinach, mixed minced vegetables in cheese or mushroom and leek. For a little eye-rolling indulgence, the perfect alfajores (sugar-dusted sandwich cookies) come in two sizes, the smaller of which can be popped in the mouth like an Argentinean prescription to perk up a dreary day.