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Empanadas, Hatian & Jamaican Patties

l
lel Aug 4, 2008 04:07 AM

Searching for the best of the above in the Boston area. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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  1. PaulB RE: lel Aug 4, 2008 05:06 AM

    For made on premise Hatian try Camies Bakery 152 Columbia street Cambridge, for made on premise Jamaican reccommend Lennie's Tropical Bakery 1195 Blue Hill Ave Mattapan.

    5 Replies
    1. re: PaulB
      gini RE: PaulB Aug 5, 2008 06:17 AM

      Which patties at Camies do you like? Anything else you like there?

      1. re: gini
        StriperGuy RE: gini Aug 5, 2008 06:35 AM

        I've had those patties at Camies, the meat ones are pretty good. I would give my right pinkie toe for a good jamaican patty in Boston proper without having to schlep all the way to Dort. or Mattapan.

        1. re: gini
          PaulB RE: gini Aug 5, 2008 04:26 PM

          Ive only had the beef one at Camies, nothing else off the menu as I usually hit Izzy's when in that neighborhood.

          1. re: gini
            d
            dulce de leche RE: gini Aug 6, 2008 12:16 PM

            I't's been a while since I've been, but I used to get the spicy chicken & the fish in sauce, with the rice and beans sides (usually the one with the bean sauce, not separate rice & beans). Yum.

            1. re: gini
              gini RE: gini Aug 11, 2008 10:48 AM

              I had the beef patty last week - pretty low ration of beef: pastry, but I thought the pastry, while tough after sitting under heat lamps all day, was pretty darn good.

          2. g
            gourmaniac RE: lel Aug 4, 2008 09:38 AM

            Lennys are house made, tasty and cheap ($1.25) but the dough is a little thick. While you're there, try the fried chicken. I had a very good chicken thigh with excellent crust also for $1.25. For Haitian patties, there is a bakery on Main Street (north of Court) in Brockton witha French name that i can't recall. They are excellent with a light pastry and even cheaper than Lennys!

            1. e
              eatanddestroy RE: lel Aug 4, 2008 02:46 PM

              I'm addicted to the Haitian chicken patties at Le Foyer in Mattapan.

              1 Reply
              1. re: eatanddestroy
                r
                rsucre RE: eatanddestroy Aug 5, 2008 07:27 AM

                I would definitely second Le Foyer, it's right behind St. Angela's Church off of Blue HillAve.

              2. opinionatedchef RE: lel Aug 5, 2008 11:58 PM

                Warning: I have tried Jamaican patties all over, looking for real/handmade ones. I have never found any. Many shop/restaurant owners will tell you the truth- that they buy them (the main factories are in NYC and NJ) Some will not tell you the truth. The factory made ones have a strong taste of black or white pepper; the meat is rather pastey, and the dough is thick, tough, and yellow.Camies are NOT home made; neither are the ones at the Jamaican place on Huron Ave; neither are the ones at Smoke and Spice?on Huntington Ave. near the MFA. Neither are the ones at the Jamaican restnt in Worcester, or the Jamaican Jerk Hut in Philly or the 2 patties places in D.C., or the patties place in Brooklyn near the Museum, or the 2 jamaican restnts in Vancouver; all these places admitted so to me. The patties you find might be BAKED on premise, but not MADE.I have never understood why Jamaican restaurants , across the board, do not make their own. I mean, you can find real homemade empanadas and samosas, so why not patties?? I have heard from many people over the years ,“oh, go to ___’s; theirs are home made and great.” I drive there and find the same old factory made ones. So now I always call the place and ask them, so I save myself the trouble.

                If any of you are positive that some patties that you have found ARE made from scratch by the vendor, and are delicious,please tell me; I will go there(after calling, of course.).One sure sign of made- from- scratch is the pastry; its shape will not be cookie cutter identical from one patty to the next.

                Now, as for empanadas, the most authentic that I have had in the Boston area are made at Tango, the Argentinian restnt in Arlington on Mass Ave. I buy them by the dozens and freeze them. Then I nuke them lightly and finish heating and crisping them in the toaster oven.They make beef, chicken, veggie but I only like their beef ones. The filling is beef, onion, olive, raisin and egg, w/no spices or herbs.( how I wish So. Americans used cumin.) (to give them more flavor, I drizzle them w/ bottled chipotle sauce.) They are 4” crescents, deep fried, and the pastry is lovely/tender, wih a braided edge..There is a substantial amount of meat in each, maybe 1/3 c- 1/2 c. In NYC there's a place on the upper East side called Empanada Mama w/ a lot of interesting So. Amer. things and some good empanadas. In D.C. there is a chain of empanada places w/ both traditional and non-traditional fillings, but the pastry is very tough and flavorless, and baked.

                12 Replies
                1. re: opinionatedchef
                  StriperGuy RE: opinionatedchef Aug 6, 2008 06:33 AM

                  Cool. Thanks for the update. Gotta hit Tango.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    itaunas RE: opinionatedchef Aug 6, 2008 07:54 AM

                    Note in past threads, some of us hounds specifically recommend against Camie's Jamaican patties, but in favor of their Haitian pies. The Haitian pies were made in house, although I have not been back in a while, and are certainly not yellow. The Jamaican are frozen, yellow, you might even see the manufacturer's stamp on the bottom. Capones empanadas (frozen) are also an option a bit dallied up, I only go for the meat which does have a touch of cumin. On the Brazilian side you are probably best off going for a freshly fried pastel, although bakeries do offer cupcake sized empadinhas and by the slice empadao, both usually with chicken filling.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      Dax RE: opinionatedchef Aug 6, 2008 12:21 PM

                      Curious to know if you tried the (sometimes) made-to-order empanadas at La Mamma? They are, however, Chilean not Argentinian so the fillings are totally different.

                      1. re: Dax
                        opinionatedchef RE: Dax Aug 6, 2008 04:05 PM

                        hi dax, don't know la mamma. where/what is it and tell me about their emp's- fried/baked, texture and taste of filling, meaty or skimpy?
                        thanks v. much!

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          itaunas RE: opinionatedchef Aug 6, 2008 08:56 PM

                          Its a pizza/sub/lunch counter place in Allston on Brighton Ave, between union sq and harvard ave. Same side as Harper's Ferry. They'll tend to sell you fried empanadas out of the warming oven, which is why the suggestion of ordering fresh fried. Fillings are decent and they have a large variety, but I always thought the dough, fried, was frozen (hound confession, I have mostly eaten out of the warming oven, though). They do offer Chacareros too and deliver in the area.

                          1. re: itaunas
                            opinionatedchef RE: itaunas Aug 6, 2008 11:01 PM

                            thank you, itaunas. i think i tried some things there years ago but was unimpressed. and your description of 'decent' does not exactly compel me to make that journey and try them again!

                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                              Dax RE: opinionatedchef Aug 7, 2008 07:47 AM

                              Dough may not be house-made, not sure. I have definitely seen them rolling it out and filling with the various ingredients for the made-to-order ones though. I tended to see what was left in the case and then order something other than what was available to they would make to order. I really like them but then again I never tried Tango's. I think I may be in town briefly in a week so will try to get there then.

                              As far as La Mamma's, the ... $1.75(?) investment (each) is well worth it to try one or six to see if you like them. I thought the meat (ground beef) ones were excellent, especially with a little chili-garlic sauce. They also have a "house-made" sauce, or so they say.

                              1. re: Dax
                                opinionatedchef RE: Dax Dec 4, 2008 09:05 PM

                                so dax, I finally ate empanadas at La Momma tonight. i got fresh fried beef, and mushroom ones. they are small, holding maybe 2-3 T. filling and have excellent flaky homemade pastry with a rolled /braided edge. the beef filling is very similar to the beef emps at Pollo Brasas in Union Sq. Somerville-some onion and raisins; nothing much else. too sweet for me. the excellent homemade hot sauce
                                helped counter the sweetness. the mushroom one was just mushroom and a gravy, w/ mozarella.we liked it better than the beef filling but the overall affect was so light as to be like an hors d'oeuvre. Tango is still the #1 empanada i have had in Boston. However, i still have Viva Mi Arepas' empanadas on the docket to try....

                                1. re: opinionatedchef
                                  Dax RE: opinionatedchef Dec 24, 2008 04:00 PM

                                  Thanks for the follow-up post and will try Tango's empanadas on my next visit.

                                  I recall the onions, beef and spices in the beef one, but not raisins?

                      2. re: opinionatedchef
                        PaulB RE: opinionatedchef Aug 6, 2008 01:41 PM

                        >Camies are NOT home made;

                        My bad on Camies. Please note the JA ones at Lennies are indeed homeade (as is the coco bread and other baked products), though they may not satisfy your taste. JA place on Huron (Ortanique) is now closed and never claimed to make patties, and the place near the MFA is called Flames. The commercial ones in this area come from Brooklyn and Hartford CT and some are not bad IMO.

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          opinionatedchef RE: opinionatedchef Nov 25, 2008 10:28 PM

                          I have long raved about the rotisserie chicken at Pollo las Brasas(Union Sq., Somerville) but an intrepid CH recently posted that they had empanadas there, so we tried some today. Larger than any I've encountered , maybe 5" diameter and very full of meat filling- 3/4-1 cup. They are baked and the dough is bread like(similar to, but better than the spinach and cheese borek dough at Eastern Lamejun in Belmont.) Unfortunately, the filling is very sweet. All I can detect is beef and raisins;nada mas, man. No onion, olives, egg, seasoning. $4. What a shame. Maybe some future chef will change the recipe and make them lively and delicious. I'm sure these empanadas have their fans, and I appreciate knowing about them, but I still have not found any in Boston to beat Tango's.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                            Dax RE: opinionatedchef Dec 24, 2008 04:03 PM

                            I've never had an empanada with olives or egg.. Perhaps this is an example of the regional/country variations?

                        2. m
                          mwk RE: lel Aug 6, 2008 07:41 AM

                          Hi,

                          There's an article in today's Boston Herald Food section, about an Venezulean Arepa place in West Roxbury. It sounds good, so it might be worth trying out.

                          Viva Mi Arepa, 5197 Washington St., West Roxbury, 617-323-7844

                          http://www.bostonherald.com/entertain...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mwk
                            Joanie RE: mwk Aug 6, 2008 09:49 AM

                            I've been there and liked their arepas much better than Orinoco. Not that I know arepas, but these were great. And huge and cheap.

                          2. opinionatedchef RE: lel Nov 18, 2008 07:59 AM

                            here are good threads on both emps and patties:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568967

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/553231

                            1. m
                              mcupcake RE: lel Nov 18, 2008 09:06 AM

                              I love the chicken empanadas at La Pupusa Guanaca in Jamaica Plain. And their namesake specialty, too, the pupusas. La Pupusa Guanaca is a little El Salvadoran place that is cheap, cheap, cheap with food freshly made to order. They don't speak a lot of English there, but it all turns out fine in the end.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mcupcake
                                b
                                bostonbroad RE: mcupcake Nov 18, 2008 10:01 AM

                                I get food here often (to bring over to the Behan) and love their chix tacos, yuca fries, and both pupusas that we always order - pork and bean and cheese. Their tamales, however, are a disappointment.

                              2. b
                                B. Savarin RE: lel Nov 18, 2008 06:32 PM

                                Surprised no one has mentioned Irie in Dorchester for Jamaican patties. I used to think they were good until I got spoiled when my Jamaican co-worker brought in some homemade beef patties. I almost passed out from pleasure.

                                As for empanadas, Chacarero in Downtown Crossing often has very tasty Chilean/Argentine style empanadas with meat, olives, egg, and raisins. Definitely worth trying.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: B. Savarin
                                  opinionatedchef RE: B. Savarin Nov 18, 2008 07:39 PM

                                  BSav,
                                  do tell more. about the emps.; fried or baked? full of filling or skimpy? how big?spicy/cumin-y or plain? Traditionally, therey're very plain (no spices) but how I yearn to find spicy ones....

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                                    beetlebug RE: opinionatedchef Nov 19, 2008 12:30 PM

                                    re: the empanadas at Chacarero. I had one when they first opened on Province Street (so, maybe 4 years ago?). Nothing special at all. They reminded me of frozen ones. But, maybe they've changed since then.

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                                      Dax RE: opinionatedchef Dec 24, 2008 04:07 PM

                                      Food Wall in JP used to serve these "curry beef dumplings" that were like small empanadas. They are still on the menu. Can anyone confirm they are like little empanadas.

                                  2. drewinmrblhd RE: lel Dec 17, 2008 09:27 AM

                                    I had the pleasure of tasting some very good Jamiacan patties today at a spot in Lynn. Jamaica's Flavor restaurant is located on 121 Pleasant Street in Lynn. They had beef, chicken, and spicy vegetable. I tried the chicken ones and they are fantastic and priced at $1.60 per pattie. I was told they are made in house daily and they tasted it.
                                    http://jamaicasflavor.tripod.com/inde...

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: drewinmrblhd
                                      StriperGuy RE: drewinmrblhd Dec 17, 2008 10:35 AM

                                      Huh, I saw that place during my last Lynn jaunt. Definitely on the list.

                                      1. re: drewinmrblhd
                                        opinionatedchef RE: drewinmrblhd Dec 25, 2008 09:42 PM

                                        drew, forgive my diligence here, but my posting history will show my obsessiveness about this subject of patties and empanadas. From the photo of the Jamaica Flavor's patties in the link you provided, they look just like the ones that come from the n.j. and n.y. factories- that most all the jamaican restaurants sell. I have had sooo many occasions when i have been told that 'they make their own patties', only to find that they sell these frozen manufactured ones(BAKED daily, but not MADE daily.)..... I will try some when I'm next in Lynn for my La Fe fix(and to try some of striper's Lynn recs.), and I'll post a report. Of course, I would be thrilled if you were right about them being homemade and delicious. After all, it's a lifelong quest!!

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                                          Prav RE: opinionatedchef Dec 26, 2008 08:44 AM

                                          Those pictures on the Jamaica's Flavor web site could be from a commercial stock photography... I have a feeling they weren't shot "in house". So their patties could indeed be the of the delicious, charmingly irregular home-made style, and not the ubiquitous Tower Isles patties! :)

                                          1. re: Prav
                                            opinionatedchef RE: Prav Dec 26, 2008 02:00 PM

                                            brilliant thinking! i will temper my scepticism w/ a little hope and report
                                            back!

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