Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Driving for Empanadas: Chile vs. Argentina

Long before the euphemism "hiking the Appalachian trail" was associated with a certain South American country, Argentina was known for Evita, tango and empanadas.

I drove to Tito's Market in El Monte last Friday to pick up a dozen empanadas for a potluck happy hour. At $1.39 each, the hearty beef pies are a tasty, inexpensive and lazy way to feed a group.

On Saturday, I was invited to another potluck dinner (is this a sign of the times?). Still more in the mood to drive than bake, I headed to my old haunt, Rincon Chileno in Hollywood, for a Chilean version of the meat pie. They sell for $2.25 each, but are about 50% larger that the ones at Tito's. (And if you purchase six, the seventh one is free.)

Chilean empanadas from Rincon Chileno, Argentine empanadas from Tito's

Then I headed back down to El Monte for a half dozen Argentinian empanadas so that I could compare the two.

For me it was no contest. I love Tito's, BUT I prefer the flaky golden crust of the Rincon Chileno pies. I also prefer the beef filling, which is fried with onions and surrounded by boiled egg and olives. Tito's omits the onions and the eggs and limits the olives to one per pie.

Chilean empanadas from Rincon Chileno, Argentine empanadas from Tito's

I thought that the Rincon Chileno empanadas would be scooped up while the Tito's pies went begging. But guess what? They were both scooped up (another sign of the times?), and many of the potluckers told me they preferred Tito's.

You'll have to be the judge.

Rincon Chileno
4354 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 666-6075.

Tito's Market
9814 Garvey Ave.
El Monte CA
(626) 579-1893


Mrs. Myers @ Eat Move Write said...

That looks fantastic. I don't even eat beef. Maybe I could make a ground turkey version! Thanks for the post!

Cafe Observer said...

Thank you a brunch for this posting, SC!
Personally, my fav empa nada is the tasty kind. Next time you go to pick up the e's, let your blog family know so we can give you our orders.

Jean Spitzer said...

Sounds great. No wonder you're invited to all these potlucks.

marinik said...

mmmmmmm, I could so go for one of those... doesn't matter which one... I'll have to try.... thanks for the info :)

The Food Librarian said...

Yum! Both look very good. I'm hungry. Haven't had empanadas in a while!!

Beth said...

Man, I wish I lived in California so I could try out all these Californian restaurants you keep blogging about!! :D

Hidero_Vanny said...

Wow! Looks yummy!!!!!
Your article makes my mouth water!
I'd love to try some.

Chrissy said...

They both look good. I wish there was a place like that out here ( santa clarita)

Anonymous said...

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DK Miller said...

Those sound and look so good. Too bad I'm not in CA.

Petrea said...

I believe it is a sign of the times. I admit I'm intimidated by potlucks, not being confident of my cooking skills. Thanks for the idea.

Margaret said...

Chile over Argentina? I'm not even telling Steve you wrote this post.

Allison Lemons said...

My favorite are Colombian empanadas. They are fried, so maybe not as healthy, but so good!

Susan C said...

Mrs. Meyers, I think ground turkey would work beautifully, especially since the meat is highly seasoned.

CO I'll definitely spread the word the next time I go so that you can put in your orders.

Jean, And I thought it was my sparkling personality. :)

Mari, With your cooking skills, I'll bet you could make a mean empanada.

Food Lib., And with a glass of sangria, it doesn't get much better.

Beth, You'll just have to make a food-focused visit.

Hidero, Thanks!

Chrissy, You could be in Hollywood in less than 30 minutes. Come to Rincon Chileno for a Saturday dinner (with live entertainment) and drop into the deli for empanadas to go.

Jewelry Box, I love your handmade jewelry.

DK, You and Beth both need to make the food excursion!

Petrea, You underestimate your cooking skills! Just the same, it's often nice to be able to pick up the goods for a potluck.

Margaret, I want you and Steve to try the Argentine emapanadas at Tito's and report back to me.

Allison, I'll definitely have to seek out Colombian epanadas. I have a friend from Colombia. I think I'll send him a Facebook message right now.

altadenahiker said...

I'd go for either one right now. But the olive, onion, beef stuffing sounds mmmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

How do they keep overnight? how do you reheat them? do they stay crispy?

Hmmm I wonder who did the El Monte Metro link station?

Marcy said...

Susan thank you for the compliment about my little "heartbreaker", and you're right he is one! I hope your 4th is a happy, fun filled time as well!( I am gonna so pig out tomorrow! tehe ) Bless you and your little sweetie too! xo~

Susan C said...

AH, I'm with ya' on the onions.

PA, That's a good questions about reheating. When I was at Rincon Chileno, I asked this question, and she said a few minutes in a 325 degree oven. But I find they taste fine at room temp. A friend went to Tito's on Friday to pick up empanadas for a potluck party on Saturday. I'll have to ask her how they held up overnight.

Marcy, MMMMM, Pig out!

Esi said...

I just tried to make Argentinian empanadas, but the dough wasn't so successful. Seems like it would be much easier (and probably more authentic) to just go out and buy them :)

D3000 said...

Wow those look great...Susan just a side note Tito's uses our bread (Frisco)for their sandwiches and their 3 footers...maybe one day you'll try these for your guests.