Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Happy Neighborhood Spot

El Sanjuanino is  place that'd be easy to miss (though no one does) if you didn't know what was hidden behind the rustic front doors. Just a short stroll from my hotel is a place generally regarded as making some of the best empanadas in Buenos Aires. And, believe me, there is a lot of competition.
I slipped in and took a chair at the last empty table.
At about $2 each these empanadas -- big pockets of flaky dough stuffed with tasty, homemade fillings -- are some of the best buys in a city bursting with food deals. I started with Carne Picante. Not nearly spicy enough for me but I can't deny the delight I felt at biting in and finding a whole un-pitted olive. El Sanjuanino revels in it's rustic nature, in both decor and recipes.
The Argentines use a knife and fork but I couldn't resist picking up the meaty pie.
 I followed my "spicy" meat empanada with an "empanada frita" -- fried not baked in the blisteringly-hot wood oven and literally bursting with juice in every bite (messy but worth it) and an onion and cheese pie practically overflowing with molten cheese.
As I marveled in the perfectly formed seals of crust a non-stop flow of locals waited at the tiled counter for endless carry out boxes of the beautifully formed pies.
 Fiercely proud of it's traditional regional dishes, El Sanjuanino features locro, a thick corn (maybe hominy) and pork stew originally from the Andes mountain range and now eaten throughout the country, especially to commemorate the anniversary of the May revolution. I hate to miss a specialty (especially a unique regional one) so I dug into a bowl thickened with beans and cornmeal and flavored by smoked meats and Argentine chorizo. This is deep, rich, almost funky strong flavor that cries out for a winter day. Not for the meek but not to be missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment