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Thursday, March 3, 2011

San Francisco's Best Empanadas: El Porteno Empanadas

My latest great discovery at San Francisco's Ferry Building are some amazing Argentinian empanadas.

I'll admit I don't really know all that much (or anything at all) about empanadas because I've never had them before. Well, I guess I did have some sweet empanadas when I was a kid at a Mexican fast food restaurant, but I'm not counting them because they weren't real empanadas. In fact, they were empanada wannabes.
So, a few months ago I read about El Porteno's Empanadas online and thought to myself "WOW I need to go try one of those!"

There was that day when my foodie pal Carl and I tried to track down the El Porteno food truck at the Ferry Building in San Francisco but it wasn't there so I was sad. LOL I had to console myself with ramen, creme brulee and falafels that day.

But great news! Now El Porteno is located inside the Ferry Building at a kiosk at the far east end of the building SEVEN DAYS A WEEK! And they have this huge display case full of empanadas to choose from!

There are savory and sweet options. The beef and chicken empanadas are made with humane raised meats which ties directly into the "conscious eating," less cruel and more healthy meat that both John Robbins and Jonathan Safran Foer discussed when I saw them at their book readings.

From the El Porteno Menu:

Prather Ranch Organic Dry-Aged Grass Feed Beef, Pimiento Stuffed Olives, Raisins,
Hard-Boiled Eggs.

Fulton Valley All Natural Chicken, Chicken Chorizo, Raisins, Olives.

Prosciutto & fontina cheese.

CLICK HERE to view the full El Porteno Empanada Menu.

And there are four vegetarian options. Ooooh. Tough choices. I narrowed it down to the Humita and the Fugazzeta empanadas but I could only choose one. But which one?

Organic Super Sweet Corn, Roasted Red Bell Peppers.

FUGAZZETA (cheese & onion)
Aged Cheddar Shaved Organic Onions, Oregano.

Fresh Seasonal Local Organic Mushrooms by Far West Fungi, Shallots, Parmesan Cheese, Crème Fraiche.

MARADONA (special order 6 or more)
Tomatoes, basil, mozzarella with
basil chimichurri.

Oh the suspense... And a drum roll please...

Yup, I chose the Fugazzeta empanada.

A light and crisp pastry filled with aged cheddar cheese, shaved onions and oregano, the flavors were exceptional. Literally just the right amount of everything: The salty melted cheese, the sweetness of the onions and the fresh flavor from the oregano. It was a winner for sure! Next time I think I'll have to get both, another Fugazzeta and try the Humita.

And I thought this was great marketing on the back of the Empanada bag. I've already joined the El Porteno Facebook group and have started following them on Twitter. After a visit to their website I realized that they serve beyond San Francisco! Their trucks travel to the East Bay, North Bay, Peninsula and South Bay. Good to know.

They even offer free delivery in San Francisco.

I'm still not an empanada connoisseur but now I'm definitely a fan :)

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