Paradise Empanadas Cafe

After the Cubs game and then drinks around Wrigleyville, Sarah and I started stumbling home. We were starving because, for some reason, we elected not to eat anything that afternoon. So we went to Paradise Empanadas Cafe at Broadway and Belmont in Lakeview. It’s a new empanada place near the gym we pay for a membership to. If you’re counting: in 2011, I have been to the gym the same number of times at I have eaten empandas.

The place has about 8 white tables each with 4 plastic chairs. They are all ligned up on the left side of this long rectangle of a restaurant. On the right side of the restaurant is the food prep counter and cashier area. At the far wall is a large flat screen TV.

When we got inside, I immediately sat down and Sarah went up to order. She asked me what I wanted to eat, but I was in no position to read. Moments later, Sarah came back with two empanadas.

One of the empanadas was ham and cheese and the other was spinach. My understanding is that, traditionally, when old ladies would make empanadas, they would differentiate the empanadas by the way that the dough was folded: some would be folded like a calzone, others like a big crab rangoon, etc. That way, you knew which ones had what inside. At Paradise Empanadas Cafe, they solve the problem in a different way. They stamp the empanadas with what the filling is. I assured Sarah that, hopefully, it is some sort of edible ink.

The empanadas were gross. The dough was like eating a manilla folder. The filling was dry and flavorless. Put together, it was like eating really bad airplane food. The taquitos that get cooked on the hot dog rollers at 7-11 are tastier. There was green salsa that was served on the side, and this was actually pretty good. But nothing could really save these empanadas.

I really want this empanada place to do well, as it is much closer than the other empanada place on Clark that Sarah and I usually go to. But I just don’t think this place will last very long. Not with food like that, anyway.


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