The hubby and I felt adventurous a couple nights ago and decided to check out a tiny little restaurant which started up not too long ago. La Tortilleria is as mexican as it comes. It felt like we were in a side street in Mexico, except for the fact that it took us all of 4 minutes to drive from our apartment in Travancore, Melbourne. Half of the tiny restaurant is taken up by the tortilla making room. They are famous for churning out fresh mexican corn tortillas. We didn’t make a reservation for the 17 seater restaurant so we sat at a counter facing the tortilla room watching a lady weigh, pack and seal tortillas while we enjoyed our dinner. The menu is definitely not extensive, with only a few items of quesadillas, tacos, sope and gringas but they do stock a good selection of mexican beers and soft drinks. Nothing fancy, just expect good street-style food. We had some cheesy quesadillas, and a couple of beef and pork tacos each. My favourite was the beef – juicy marinated steak cooked medium, roughly diced and topped with fresh onion and parsley. Hubby loved the pork tacos – filled with tender pulled pork with pineapple. What was not on the regular menu was empanadas but it was on specials that night. We had some piping hot, fresh out of the fryer beef empanadas accompanied by fresh salsas to start. Eating that reminded me of this empanada pastry dough recipe I tried out not too long ago. I preferred it to the last version I tried from a mexican cookbook. This one’s really quick and easy. The pastry is light and crisp and much healthier because I baked it instead of cooking it in the deep fryer. Don’t ask me what filling I used this time – all I remembered was chicken, sweet potato and a whole bunch of spices. It was really tasty though! EMPANADAS PASTRY / DOUGH From Epicurious Ingredients
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup or 115g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Method Sift flour with salt into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.) Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand once or twice, just enough to bring dough together. Form dough into a flat rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour. To use, cut dough into portions, dust benchtop and rolling pin lightly with flour, roll out the dough and fill! Fill with your choice of filling, seal, brush the top with a light egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes at 350F (180C) or until golden.