Saturday, December 31, 2016

¡venga! empanadas

Place: ¡venga! empanadas
Location: 443 Valencia Street (between 15th and 16th Streets)
Hours: open at 8:00am (well, sometimes) Monday - Friday; 8:30am (give or take a few mintues) Saturday & Sunday 
Meal: one Sweet Corn (empanada, of course) ~ corn and red bell pepper, Mozzarella; one California Veggie (also an empanada) ~ baby spinach, Napa cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, raisins, almonds; one Mediterranean (yet still another empanada) ~ zucchini, artichoke, mushrooms in Béchamel sauce; and, to drink, a large glassa agua fresca Hibiscus tea (which is called a "Jamaica" in Mexican restaurants, but, apparently, los Argentinos choose to differ)

(There is no EweToobular juxtaselection between the Band or empanadas [of which I am aware; perhaps, the word "Danko" in Argentinian-Spanish dialect means "little stuffed pastry"].  This is mainly a nod to one of my recent Coffee Christmas presents [Thanks, Greg & Cindy!], Bettys Christmas Blend, which I am enjoying while keyboarding-up today's 'blog-entry.

¡venga! empanadas actually serves pretty decent Coffee on their own [from what I recall]. However, I need to start using up some of the Coffee that I received for Christmas.

¡¿Hmmmm?! I suppose this song might have seemed a much better connection if I were drinking a cuppa Bettys Jamaica Blue Mountain.

The music is by the Band and the video is by a friend of mine, Skip Way. If you enjoy the music and video, please check out Skip's EweToob channel for more great songs and stuff. )

Unlike on Monday, I did get to revisit my "originally planned plan" for breakfast, ¡venga! empanadas (see previous 'blog-entry from Sunday, November 16th, 2014). I actually got there a little after 8:30am this morning and they were just setting up for the morning still. Just in case, unlike last week when I had to "scramble" (as in "Papas con huevo"... ¡¿Get it?!) for a quick back-up plan, I had a great back-up restaurant all lined up this morning. Pork Store Cafe is just around the corner on 16th Street and they were already open this morning (I made sure to walk by beforehand to confirm this, too).

stupid parklets mini-rant of the day

There is a brand new (well, new since I last ate there two years ago) stupid parklet in front of (and sponsored by) ¡venga! empanadas. Normally I would boycott a place that supports any of these urban blights, but I had driven all the way over there (twice this week now) specifically to get some more of their empanadas. At least this particular blockadette is only a one-car obstruction and it is kinda cool looking, because of which I will boycott them later (or for the next two years until I remember to get back that way again, anyway).

(mini-rant over for now. Back to the good stuff.)

Otherwise, there are still a few other "Veggie" (¡ugh!) empanadas left to choose from: Spinach (baby spinach, ricotta cheese, roasted pine nuts); Mushroom (mushroom mélange with zucchini, onions and fresh herbs); or Caprese (sun-dried tomato, Mozzarella, basil; this was going to be my third choice, but they were out of this one this morning, so I substituted the Mediterranean for it instead).

I liked all three of these empanadas, but my favourite had to be the Sweet Corn. It was pretty simple, but it was stuffed fulla crunchy corn (hence the name) and Mozzarella cheese. I really thought that I was going to like the Mediterranean more than the California Veggie (¡ugh! again), but the sweet Napa cabbage added a really nice flavour and tipped the scales in favour of that one. "Gross! Raisins and cabbage, Brian?" Hey, it worked for me. I also liked that they had a cool "VENGA!" (noted in the majuscule here) stamped/crimped on each empanada crust; you might be able to see the logo in the above photo. Plus, it's always a fun breakfast when it can be eaten hand-held. 

For condimentary supplementation, ¡venga! empanadas has two very good homemade (well, empanadería-made) salsas of their own. One was a very tasty traditional chimichurri[1] verde, served in an open glass jar serving-thing with a spoon (Don't you just love my technical culinary knowledge?); I made sure to use a good amount of that on half of each of the empanadas. The other was a chipotle salsa, which came in a squeeze bottle; I used some of that on half of the Sweet Corn empanada. I also had a hot sauce back-up plan just in case I had to go to a back-up plan restaurant. Like the amount of Coffee (seven different types... seriously) that I had received for Christmas, I have so many new bottles of hot sauces (I had only received nine of those, though) that need to get used up sometime this Millennium.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating
Sweet Corn ~ 6.7;
California Veggie ~ 6.6 (no GBS points are ever taken off for any odious nomenclature; flavour is all that matters here);
Mediterranean ~ 6.5;
Bettys Christmas Blend ~ 7.5 (for a classic Britishlander tea room kinda place, these people really have some most excellent Coffees to offer)


1. Just in case you have never heard of this style of salsa:

Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day:

The name of the sauce probably comes from Basque "tximitxurri" (approximately "chee-mee-choo-ree"), loosely translated as "a mixture of several things in no particular order"; many Basques settled in Argentina in the 19th century.

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