Saturday, June 11, 2016

La Sonrisa Empanadas

One of the things I like about the Urbanspace markets (and now food hall) is how many choices there are. You can get tacos or African food or pizza or lobster rolls or countless other things all in one place, and the locations are usually very convenient. The downside of the markets though is that, because of the cost of doing business in those locations, the vendor prices aren't always that affordable for a snack or a food crawl. I made my way through the Garment District market the other day looking for a snack (which, to me, means under $5, since it's only a snack), and wasn't surprised at all to find that most things would top that limit, even things like a single taco.

When A and I walked through this season's market for the first time a week or so earlier, we had noticed that La Sonrisa Empanadas looked like one of the more reasonably priced options, and after I went by all the stands carefully looking at all the menus, that still held true. I decided to order the coconut curry chicken empanada, described as chicken breast prepared with Caribbean curry and sweetened coconut milk. With tax, it came out to $4, so that made me happy.

When I got the empanada, I was surprised at first by its appearance, mostly because I'm so used to baked empanadas at this point. The way it was fried and the bubbles in the dough reminded me a little bit of the pastelillos I used to get all the time from El Rey. It was also a little bit funny to me, since part of the reason I got the empanada instead of other things (like croquetas or bombas at another place) was because I had assumed it wasn't fried and I was trying to avoid fried food that day. That's on me though for not asking and just assuming it was baked, but I was also not unhappy with the choice once I tasted it.

The chicken curry inside the empanada was incredibly flavorful. You could taste the coconut milk and the curry, and it was really good, even without adding any extra sauce to it. I did add the chipotle mayo to the parts of the empanada that were more fried dough and less chicken, and it was a good sauce, but while it was fine with the curried chicken, it wasn't necessary. I didn't try the hot sauce this time, but maybe next time. I would definitely get this empanada again, because the flavor of the chicken was really good. The menu also has quite a few other options, so I could see myself stopping by for another snack while the market's open.

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