Get Guac with Your Empanadas

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Ruben's Empanadas

Empanadas may be fast food but they are not Hot Pockets.

The beautifully baked morsels include 22 meat and veggie varieties at Ruben’s Empanadas. There are five locations throughout the city, I stopped to take photos at Broome Street.

From ground beef with raisins to Argentine sausage to spicy chicken, a doughy ball will only set you back $4. There’s plenty of veggie varieties too including spicy tofu, chili beans and mushroom.

Ruben’s Empanadas also does breakfast and dessert empanadas, cheese is mandatory.

But my belly is still rumbling after the quick fix so we make our way to Dos Caminos.

Being that this is George’s first real trip to NYC, I purposely skip the cramped, over-hyped, indistinguishable tourist traps. We jump the seven-train from Penn Station to Grand Central and make our way to 3rd Avenue.

Dos Caminos

“Get the guac with your empanadas,” insists the wait staff. At $14 per lava stone bowl (little steep) it’s the restaurant’s most famous dish. The dip is served up with warm, hand-cut tortilla chips.

For libations, Jessica Simpson recently declared the Blueberry Pomegranate Margarita her favorite but we opt for the traditional.

The expanding business is owned by mega restaurateur Stephen Hanson. A leading force among top chefs in the city, Executive Chef Ivy Stark rips herself from the kitchen long enough for a few questions.

Haute Mexican gastronomy isn’t as easy to make as it looks. But, Stark revels in creative combinations like layered enchiladas of smoked beef brisket with chihuahua cheese, chiltomate salsa, and crema mexicana. I crave the Lobster Ceviche; habanero-infused coconut and citrus marinade, mango pico de gallo and red chile oil.

Empanadas finally take center stage when my friend Jennifer joins us. We partake in the Roasted Plantains with cotija cheese, black beans and chipotle aioli. They are so filling we struggle to finish. A dessert of enormous proportions demands our attention. We take most of everything home with us as I resound loudly that I’m thrilled with the results of the empanada quest.