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For a Latin American Favorite So Good it Will Make You Go Crazy: “Empanada Loca”

Back in June, I shared a blog about my favorite places to get breakfast on the go in Brooklyn ( It was a place I discussed in that post that led me to “Empanada Loca”.

“The Bagel Factory” on 5th Avenue is on the same block as “Empanada Loca”. The first time I walked by I thought: “this place looks cute”. The second time: “I love empanadas”. The third time I just went in. 

It is worth noting I went back a second time and have already picked out what I am eating for my next visit. Seriously. I kept one of their menus and marked several empanadas, including old favorites and ones I MUST try, and even one for dessert. My love for this place and their food is THAT strong.

Prior to this experience, I have only had empanadas from “Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine” ( If you have ever spent any time walking around NYC chances are you have passed by one of their locations. I always thought their food was pretty good but looking back now I see that it was my inexperience in quality Latin cuisine that made me think so. No offense to Sophie but the best comparison I can come up with now is ordering a Quarter Pounder at McDonald’s and equating that to Pat LaFrieda’s beef, which can always be found at a place I LOVE, “Emmy Squared” (  

The head chef of “Empanada Loca” hails from Columbia and has recreated old family recipes including the forty-two kinds of empanadas found here. But that is not all that they make. There are salads, quesadillas, sandwiches, the list goes on and on. They all sound good but I kept with their namesake dish. 

All and all each empanada I tried was incredible. I think I am partial though to the old standard: beef and cheese. The only thing better than their empanadas is there homemade “green sauce”. Peruvian green sauce, also known as, best aji verde, is so delicious I would eat it out of the container with a spoon. This is why I always ask for extra. 

This is the kind of meal you can pick up in the morning, reheat for a few minutes later on, and be over the moon satisfied with your choice. Although the next time I think I will sit down for my feast and enjoy it within the confines of its home base. 

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