With Love, Julia

Review: Julia’s Empanadas (Dupont Circle)

In the Sri Lankan/Indian/South Asian culture, we have a pastry called samosas, They are hot and spicy, and while they have the vegetables I like, the one thing I hate about their crust: it’s fried.

An empanada is a small patty that can have cheese, meat and/or vegetables and the shell, unlike its Indian counterpart, is baked, and not fried.

And tonight, I was in the mood for a no hassle, yet amazing meal had for pretty cheap.

I think I’ve found one of my go-to spots in the circle. Then again, this place from my hotel was a bit of a further walk than I’d hoped, but every step was worth it. Their Dupont location is really just north of Farragut Square, between 18th and 19th Streets and saddled on the 1200 block of Connecticut.

The shop itself is quite small, but the cashier was quite friendly. It should be noted that the only drawback to this place is that they are cash-only, and I am not the biggest fan of such places. However, because their fare is so affordably priced, I can grin and bear it.

Now mind, you, I am a vegetarian, so in spite of the fact they had seven different types of empanadas, I was limited to two: the spinach with three cheese: ricotta, reggiano and something else and the vegan empanada, which changes every day. Other types of empanadas included a chorizo/vegetable blend, a beef blend with veggies, a turkey/chicken combination and other such combinations with meat and vegetables.

From the outside. 18 Nov 2010.

Tonight’s vegan filling was a blend of white beans, black beans, cilantro, spinach, zucchini, squash and sweet potato with oregano and cayenne.

All the veggies to love. 18 Nov 2010.

In other words, my type of food.

I had taken one bite into it.

Oh. My. Goodness. This is so flippin’ good. This is heavenly. These are my type of vegetables…

Julia’s sells various vegetarian toppings in small containers for 0.75 each…but to be quite frank…these patties don’t NEED them. At least the vegan one tonight didn’t. It was SO fresh (just out of the oven!) and so flavourful, it was unbelievable. I don’t think I’ve ever had a meal blow me away like this.

So for $6, I had the vegan empanada and for my dessert, I decided to go with the pear almond empanada. (Each savoury empanada is 3.41 and dessert empanadas are 1.98.)

The pear exposed. 18 Nov 2010.

The pear almond top crust was nice and almondy, but the bottom was half a pear wrapped inside a crust. I guess I expected something a little more innovative, but nonetheless it still tasted good. My other options were apple (too predictable I suppose), pineapple coconut (don’t care for coconut), strawberry crème (didn’t want something too picky), and orange guava. I probably will go with the orange one next time.

Overall verdict? 9/10 on this visit. Rock bottom price, fresh ingredients and very filling. I probably would have given a 9.5 had the pear almond been a little tad more innovative filling-wise, but that aside, it tasted extremely good and frankly, what is not to like? I can understand being cash only to keep costs low, and the Dupont/Farragut location is a tad annoying of a walk to get to for me, but that’s not necessarily the fault of the proprietors. Really, other than that, this place gets two thumbs up, way up. I’m definitely making my way back here, that’s for sure.

Restaurant Info:

Julia’s Empanadas (Dupont Circle) | 1221 Connecticut Avenue NW | Washington, DC 20035 | 202.861.8828 | Website (www.juliasempanadas.com)

Again, the above was my experience at the Dupont location, from what I’ve heard rave reviews abound regardless of location, but if for some reason your experience was sub-par (particularly with service) at another location, I am pretty positive the Dupont folks will do better.

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