Dinner tonight was amazing – and so worth the drive. It was almost outside the beltway! Argentine restaurant Marini’s Empanada House was both delicious and fun. Their menu was huge. It was a good thing they recommended ordering 3 empanadas so I could try different flavors. I had never eaten empanadas before. An empanada is a stuffed pastry – which can apparently be filled with just about anything. But best filled with avocado. And chocolate.
My first empanada was the Spinach: cooked spinach, lemon juice, garlic, mozzarella, and provolone cheese. It was good, especially with the green sauce it was served with.
My second empanada was the Avocado: avocado, tomato, onion, bell peppers, garlic and spices. I liked the spinach, but I liked this one even better. It was more guacamole than avocado, and it was good on its own – no sauce or cheese.
My third empanada was dessert – the Ellie Belly (I think) – it was dulce de leche, cream cheese, coconut and walnuts. It was so good that I ate it all before snapping a picture. Okay, so I did share one bite with Pat. That’s okay though, because I had to order one more dessert to go. Someone told me that their CHIO Surprise empanada (dolce de leche, Ghiradelli chocolate and banana) was on the Houston Press’s list of 100 favorite Houston dishes – so I had to try it.
Even though I packed it up and brought it home, I decided that I must take a bite of this empanada while it was still warm. So I did. Mmmm. I have no idea how I stopped myself from eating the entire thing right there, while standing in front of our fridge.
The people at the restaurant were so nice. The woman up front came over after our meal and thanked us for our visit with a free container of cookies (they were marked at $10). She explained that they were each hand-made with cornstarch and something else – with dulce de leche in the center and a light coconut dusting on the outside. These were literally melt in your mouth delicious.
I ate two at the restaurant and brought one home for later. On my way out, I was asking the woman at the front about the cookies. She offered me a sample of chocovine, a chocolate and red wine mix. Like Bailey’s but a little lighter. It was strong, but really good – it made the perfect dessert after my dessert empanadas 🙂
Not only was the food great, but the atmosphere was friendly, and I felt like they truly valued our business. And on top of that, the prices were not bad – just $2 – 3 per empanada, with some combo deals posted as well. I can’t wait to make it back to Marini’s!