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Nov 22, 2006 03:01 AM

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.