The first time I ever had an empanada was at a farmers market years ago. I fell in love with the flaky pastry dough, the savory filling and how delicious the ingredients came together. Then I remembered my dad’s stories of eating empanadas when he was stationed in panama while in the army. He always said there was nothing better than eating fresh empanadas from the local cafes and it made me yearn for another one even more.

So when maria empanada moved its location to mississippi and broadway back and  in 2012, I was eager to get another taste of the savory spanish pastries I fell in love with. However, I will admit, it took me awhile to make my way in. I am still kicking myself for this decision as this is now one of my favorite places to stop in for breakfast, lunch and even dinner.

On any given visit, the large glass cases are filled with piping-hot empanadas with nearly a dozen different varieties to choose from. The staff is super friendly and can walk you through the ingredients in each empanada. If you are like me, they will all sound so tasty it will be hard to choose. For breakfast, I almost always order the scrambled egg, potato and chorizo; it is everything you would want in a filling breakfast but perfect to eat on the go. You also cannot leave without ordering a fresh squeezed orange juice; just make sure you ask to pour it over ice. As for lunch, I have tasted the majority of the mid-day offerings and have yet to be disappointed. I love the flavor in the classic ground beef option, peppers, spiced beef, diced eggs and briny olives. The argentina is also one of my favorites, it’s full of seared steak mixed with red peppers, diced eggs, green onions and olives.

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I would say I am a novice on traditional spanish cuisine so some of the other offerings at maria empanada are a bit out of my comfort zone. The beautiful tartas, terrines and spanish tortillas always look so beautiful in the display but I have yet to defer from my typical order and try one.

If you have yet to visit maria empanadas, you need to add it to your list. The flavors are delicious and transport you to another country upon first bite. Every time I stop in, it also makes me think of my dad and his love for his time in panama. That’s the thing about food, it connects people to memories while also filling you up with great food. 

Written by Jaime
South on Broadway is a Denver based food + lifestyle blog for lovers of food, fashion and design. a destination for daily inspiration

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