There were previously just two Empanada-centered eateries in Orange County–Empanada Man and Empanada Place. Now there are three. The Empanada Maker has opened in Mission Viejo and it serves the half-moon shaped, way-better South American precursors of the Hot Pocket, with fillings of chicken with potatoes and peas, and beef with hard boiled eggs and olives.
The owner says that the recipe they use come from travels in South America and particularly Argentina, but also gives a nod to other parts of the globe that offers their own version. They have an Asian shrimp with ginger and snowpeas. But there are fillings that you don't necessarily associate with empanadas either, such as a Philly Cheesesteak.
Jim Gaffigan has a great line about the day the makers of Hot Pocket offers a Hot Pocket Hot Pocket, which is a Hot Pocket filled with another Hot Pocket. Here's hoping one of these empanada shops makes and empanada empanada.
Hmmm. Empanada Empanada–that'd also be a great name for a restaurant.
26131 La Paz Rd., Suite B3, Mission Viejo, CA 92691, (888) 275-5200; http://theempanadamaker.com
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.