Word of Mouth

Maria Empanada offers an authentic taste of Argentina...at Tony's Market

I wanted to weep tears of joy when I bit into my first empanada at Maria Empanada, the restaurant that's the subject of this week's review. I ate empanadas on a daily basis while living in Buenos Aires, but I hadn't had a real addiction-worthy version of the treat in the States until I stepped through the door of the tiny shop on Sheridan and Mississippi.

The woman responsible for my revelation was Lorena Cantarovici, a Buenos Aires native who built her catering company-turned-tiny-restaurant with her mother's recipes. It took her months to get the dough right, and even longer to get the fillings -- but she eventually figured it out, and the savory pastries she displays in a case on the counter are definitely good enough to fuel a serious empanada habit.

And there's no question I'm headed for addiction, mainly because I discovered there's another place where you can pick up Cantarovici's empanadas: Tony's Market on 10th and Broadway also stocks these treats -- including my favorite flavor, a pastry pocket stuffed with a gold mine of creamy corn.

You'll find them in the bakery, where, like us, you'll likely be buying them by the dozen.

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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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