Here’s what I really love about the food truck scene: one day I can get Indian curry, the next day an all-American, New England lobster roll and the next a delicious selection of Latin American empanadas. And even within the menu at DC Empanadas there’s diversity in the fillings–fruit and cheese, beans and rice, and some good ole meatballs, marinara and mozzarella.
DC Empanadas officially started rolling in the beginning of January and is further proof that frying something will only make it more delicious. I’ve made two trips to the truck so far and have subsequently devoured every little pocket of fried dough with hot fillings that I’ve gotten my hands on. The types of empanadas they offer change daily, so I’ve happily done some of the legwork for you and tried seven of them. Yes, seven–that’s about one-third of the menu. You’re welcome.
For you carnivores out there, I recommend the WMD (Weapon of Max Deliciousness), Taj Mahal, La Venganza de Tio Shawn and the Jersey Shore. Spicy chili with beans and melted cheddar is good enough on it’s own, but is even better wrapped inside an empanada and served up as the WMD. Same goes for meatballs with mozzarella and marinara sauce, also known as the Jersey Shore empanada. I was skeptical about putting peas in with the chicken tikka masala in the Taj Mahal empanada, but somehow it works. The vibrant green and subtle crunch of the peas is a nice addition to the tender chicken marinated in spices. And if you’re craving some more traditional Latin American flavors, go for La Venganza de Tio Shawn–spicy chipotle chicken with melted cheese, rice and beans.
Of course if you don’t eat meat, the vegetarian options are just as tasty. El Greco is filled with silky spinach, onions and feta (pretty much a twist on spanikopita) and Tio Shawn tastes similar to La Venganza de Tio Shawn, but without the chipotle chicken. After all those savory empanadas, if you still have room for dessert, go for the rich Fruity Bottom empanada with tender pears and melted brie.
All of the empanadas are fried perfectly–crispy, crunchy edges with the soft middle pouch that holds all the flavorful fillings inside. And when they’re hot and right out of the bag, all the insides are melted and all the flavors meld together. For $9, three empanadas is both a satisfying and affordable lunch option.
Bonus: go for the Mexican hot chocolate during these bitter winter days. It’s just the right amount of sweet and with a hint of cinnamon that makes it better than that packet of Swiss Miss you’ve been keeping in your desk. You can find the truck’s location by following them on Twitter, @DCEmpanadas.