Maria Empanada channels Argentina in Lakewood

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.

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.

How was the food? Find out tomorrow, when the review is posted here.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk

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