A light pastry shell around solid, comfort-food fillings. Empanadas are a ubiquitous South American treat on the line of knishes or a Jamaican patty.
The empanadas at El Patio in Jessup are a bargain for $1.30 or $1.35 each. They're made with real talent with fillings that really differ. Each variety is folded slightly different -- one folded corner, two corners, special twists -- so you can recognize the filingeven without cutting them open. They were served at a restaurant next door, but that closed so they're just sold for takeout at the El Patio market.
I re-heated them in the oven, and six would have been dinner for the two of us. I had bought eight. You could buy a bag of them and cut them into pieces as party appetizers. We tried chicken, spinach, cheese & onion, and "tucumana," which was chicken and potato.
You can make your own empanadas by buying the frozen empanada wrappers at El Patio. Or grab more snacks like a Super Mango Lollipop or the Santa Tecla peanut brittle. Or consider stopping for a taco, either at R&R Deli in the Shell Station or at one of the U.S. 1 taco trucks like Pupuseria Lorenita's a few blocks north of Rte 175. Click here for an entire post about the wonders you can find along U.S. 1.
If you like empanadas, you should check out the Jamaican patties at Golden Krust Bakery in Catonsville.
El Patio Market
7968 Washington Boulevard (U.S. 1)
Jessup, MD 20794
(NEAR: Just south of Rte 175 on U.S. 1. It's on the west side about a block south of the intersection. Very convenient from I-95.)