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Empanadas- In Orange County

We are having a Spanish themed party and I would like to get empanadas. In the past I have usually gone to Carpi's on Katella in Orange or Tustin. I was told they are closed.

Has anyone tried Empanada Man in Lake Forest. If so, what varieties.

Any other alternatives?

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  1. I have tried the beef and chicken versions. They were ok, but far from transcendant. Pastry wasn't greasy or sodden, but neither were they crisp and shattery. Fillings tasted ok, but not especially memorable, either.

    Would it be heretical to bring Vietnamese pate chaud instead? These are pork or chicken meatballs encased in a pastry shell. Mini pate chaud would be good for a party: I recommend the ones from Top Baguette in Little Saigon. South side of Bolsa Ave, 100 feet east of Magnolia.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Professor Salt

      I don't think my wife would go for it. They sound amazing. I think I will go there for lunch this week. I have been going to Zon Baguette in Tustin for my Bahn Mi lately. It is right around the corner from my office. It is quite good though.

    2. I hate to say this, but Bristol Farm's weren't all that bad - and all disappeared at the last party...

      1. El Gaucho Meat Market has Argentinean style ones, I am not sure what you are looking for. You can order them made and fry or bake at home or they will do it for you for a little more.
        Also, Trader Joes has some like 6 in a pack, they were really good but very spicy.

        2 Replies
        1. re: silvana

          I have never been to El Gaucho. Thanks for the tip. I also just remembered that The Past Connection in Costa Mesa, while an Italian restaurant is Argentinian owned and they carry empanadas. Have anyone ever tried them?

          1. re: cdmedici

            I haven't tried them at Pasta Connection, so not much advice to offer. However, I drove by their second location in Orange recently, since that's the area you originally mentioned. It's on Chapman, a couple blocks east of the 57.

        2. You may want to give Inka Grill (peruvian) a call. They make 3 different kinds; beef, chicken & veggie - and their sauce is to die for. They're located in Costa Mesa and Aliso Viejo (I think).

          1. Carpis's has indeed changed hands. The Carpis moved out of country and it is now a mexican restaurant. I'm assuming you like the argentine empanadas best, since you mentioned Carpis. The argentine [meat] version I'm used to generally have ground beef, boiled egg, green olives and onions [and depending on who's making them, may or may not include raisins]. Carpis used to also make some ham and cheese ones that were awesome. I'm not sure if there is a specific empanada that typifies what you would find in spain, but I liken the empanada to the latin potato salad [if you will] in that everyone has their own recipe or version, and there is no one correct dead on style. What follows are my takes on the local empanada scene. Empanada Man's are decent, esp. the choclo [the creamed corn ones] and the ham and cheese are passable, but their meat ones tasted to me like they had taco seasoning in them. This immediately doomed them in the eyes of my argentine in-laws. Another thing is that empanada man is not afraid to throw some non-traditional ingredients in their empanadas [Hawaiian ham and pineapple, shrimp or chile verde pork, anyone?]. I think it fitting with such a versatile food item, but there are some that think that new-fangled and empanada don't belong in the same sentence [see aforementioned in-laws]. This place is close to me in South County and the convenience alone means that this place gets more of my business than any of the others. Moving on, El gaucho's are just ok, IMHO. For some reason the harbor city location's empanadas are better, but I still love their other argentine foods, esp their sandwiches [choripan, matambre, de miga, lomito, mmm]. Reginas aren't bad either, but I find the place overly pricey for argentine food in general. Gaucho grill? Nah. The best around [that aren't homemade, mind you] are probably to be found at Bebas, a Bolivian restaurant on Grand between First and Edinger in Santa Ana, although our Bolivian brethren may refer to them as salteƱas.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SouthOCHound

              I love the Saltinas at Bebe's, but I heard that they closed last month. The owners are apparantly scouting a new location that actually has air-conditioning.

            2. The argentine [meat] version I'm used to generally have ground beef, boiled egg, green olives and onions [and depending on who's making them, may or may not include raisins].

              SouthOCHound, you got me hungry!!!

              1. I **hate** the food at Felix Continental in old town orange. the only thing I'll ever eat there and go there for is the empanada.

                Also, I enjoyed the empanada at Pizza Grotto Peruvian restaurant on Chapman and Haster (behind shell station) in Garden Grove.

                1. The new Mexican place that took over Carpi's was still making the same empanadas after the changeover. I couldn't even tell the difference. I haven't called recently, so I'm not sure if they're still available.

                  ETA: I just called the old number and was told they still make the empanadas. Like I said, I haven't had them in a while, so I can't vouch on the quality, but as of about 6 months ago, they were still as delicious as when the Carpis were making them.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: emily

                    The place by the old Carpi's is called Taqueria Guererra. I think Carpi's is still there but it's now a pool bar. Taqueria Guererra has empanadas, chicken, beef, ham & cheese, and vegetable. They're pretty good, not great but I'm not so picky since it's hard to find empanadas, period. They cost $1.25 and are deep fried.

                    1. re: GrindzHound

                      No, oddly enough, the bar in front of Carpis was and still is called Capris. The Carpis are definitely gone and the bar was never a related venture. But good news on the empanadas, even though I wonder if the new place can still get them right without old man Carpi around. I'll definitely check it out. The real trick is the deep frying, so if they stick to that, they can probably pull it off. I was lucky enough to have the homemade kind [the upside of marrying into an argentine family] on Thanksgiving again and deep frying is really the key. Major bummer about Beba's closing -- hope they reopen soon.

                  2. Update: I purchased 20 empanadas from Taqueria Guererra on Sunday and they taste just as good as when the Carpis were making them. In fact, I think the beef is a bit better (a bit spicier, less "sweet"). Total cost was about $27, which is fairly inexpensive, too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: emily

                      That's excellent news, Emily. With Beba's down, OC has been an empanada wasteland. I'll definitely have to scout this place out. Thanks for reporting back.