Not so long ago, we lamented the noticeable lack of empanadas from our dining landscape. But now we have some good news for devotees of the deep fat-fried dough pockets of deliciousness. Throughout the month of April, Cuba Libre chef Guillermo Pernot is setting up a makeshift bodega behind the Old City restaurant, which he and his staff have dubbed Empanada Alley, where they will serve empanadas from midnight to 3 a.m. every Friday and Saturday. Proceeds from Empanada Alley will be donated to Children of Restaurant Employees, charitable organization that provides special support to the children of restaurant employees.
The empanadas will cost $3 a piece, and choices include Picadillo, ground beef with olives and raisins; Pollo, hand-chopped chicken, corn, sweet pepper and Jack cheese; Camarones, shrimp, creamy spinach and pine nuts; Puerco, pulled pork, roasted poblano and charred tomatoes; and a vegetarian empanada, Alcachofa, with grilled artichoke hearts, salt-cured tomatoes and feta cheese.
Along with the bodega outback, Pernot will celebrate Empanada Week from April 8 to 15 during lunch and dinner servioce, with a special menu that includes Langosta, Maine lobster with coral butter and mango mojo sauce; and Ahumada, smoked rib-eye and Cabrales cheese with pickled okra. For dessert, Chef Pernot will serve Arroz con Leche de Coco, a coconut-rice pudding brulee with rum-raisin chocolate ganache empanaditas.