What’s your favorite Idaho food? (Besides potatoes.)
If you’re tired of the ocean of chain restaurants in the Boise area, take a local detour — to Argentina.
The Empanada Club recently opened at 1580 N. Stonehenge Way, off Fairview Avenue west of Locust Grove Road in Meridian.
Co-owners Cecilia De Paoli and Tom Torkelson debuted the baked-goods eatery in July. They’re offering “a true from-scratch experience,” according to a news release, “as they are making 100 percent of their dough and fillings in-house.” De Paoli, a native of Argentina, developed the recipes.
Idaho foodies are familiar with pasties. An empanada is a similar stuffed pastry that’s a staple of Latin America. The Empanada Club serves nine varieties — at $3.50 each or $38 for a dozen. You can dine in, grab a few to go or order online.
New to empanadas? Grab the Traditional, filled with ground beef, onions, hard-boiled egg and olives. Or spice up your life with a Carne Picante, packed with beef chuck braised slowly in red wine with hot peppers and onions.
The menu also includes several versions of tartas ($6.50) and mini-tartas ($4.50) — pies with satisfying fillings. The Zuchini and Goat Cheese tarta is exactly what it sounds like. (Sometimes nothing beats simple.) Or remind yourself of a traditional American morning meal with the Breakfast All Day mini-tarta, made with ham, eggs and cheese.
Dessert sweets cost $4 and include two types of alfajores and a pasta frola. “But be warned,” the news release says, “these generally sell out soon after they hit the display cases.”
The Empanada Club also runs daily specials — such as two empanadas and a Coke for $8, or an empanada and pint of craft beer for $8.
De Paoli and Torkelson, who are married, came to the United States five years ago from Mendoza, Argentina. De Paoli grew up there and has operated other food-related businesses.
“More than anything,” she says, “I want people to know that comfort food exists everywhere in the world. This is mine, and I want to share it with everyone here.”
The Empanada Club is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Soda and beer are available. And naturally, there’s a list of Argentine wines.