food truck quick bite: nucha empanadas
Back in the saddle again and venturing out to my old haunts to see if anything new has happened or opened up. We find ourselves at SOMA StrEat Food Park and make the circle of food trucks to check out the options. I'm with the SO and we both land on Nucha Empanadas. I feel like I may have seen them here before but can't remember and since we are really just looking for a light bite, it seems right.
He has a fair number of ones to choose from and while you can peruse the ones in the case, with empanadas, everything is wrapped up inside and you can't see it, thus you have to rely on descriptions to catch your eye. After some guessing and back and forth we decide to get 6 of them as it is a better deal. They run one for $5, three for $12 and six for $20.
To be honest, except for a little dough design on the outside (which the baker knew) of each I couldn't tell which one was which without opening it up. So I'll just tell you the flavors we got and we will all just guess what's what. I chose spicy pork: smoked pork, red and green bell peppers and jalapenos. Spanish chicken: organic chicken, green and red peppers, onions and tomato sauce. Mushroom and gorgonzola: crimini mushrooms, gorgonzola, onions and ricotta cheese.
The SO went in for the caprese: roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil. Corn and peppers: corn, red and green peppers, onions, ricotta cheese and bechamel sauce. The spicy tuna: white tuna, onions, red and green peppers, tomatoes and green olives. Yeah, that last one is all on them.
I'll tell you upfront I'm not gonna review each one of them. Suffice to say, what you see is what you get and they do taste like what they say they are. Though the tuna was a little too fishy for me. When you order them, the guy puts them in the baskets you see then sticks them in a microwave to heat up. Turns out the case you see in the photo up top is refrigerated. The empanadas are cold. Problem is when you do this, what should be a lovely crust just steams and goes soft. Add in the fact he didn't micro them enough and the center of pretty much all of them was cold. Mushy dough and cold fillings do not a good empanada make.
I guess I was under the mistaken impression he had either a convection oven or toaster thing back there to heat them up to a crisp shell and steaming center. Sadly, he did not. We really wanted to like them as they are a decent size and make could make a nice little lunch or mid-afternoon snack. In their current form, you'd be better off getting them to go and taking them home to heat up yourself. For something that is handmade fresh and baked, seems they should have thought of beforehand microwaving bread doesn't work, especially if you are gonna do the food truck thing. I realize I could have taken them back and had them heat it more, but all that was gonna do is make the filling hotter and the outside mushier, a loosing proposition either way.
They do sell these at a fair number of stores around town, but they are the take home heat up variety, which seems to be the only way to get a true version. And if that many places carry them, they must be good, right? While I'm not saying don't try them, I would be hesitant myself about getting one at the food truck again. Maybe if I see one in a store I'll get it, take it home, heat it up in a toaster oven, eat it and then let you know. Till then, you are on your own.