Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Argentinian Spice Packed in Fresh Dough

The NYPL celebrates the history of NYC lunches with their exhibit Lunch Hour NYC. In front of the building, we're offering up some modern lunch history by bringing exciting lunch options to the Fifth Avenue Terrace. Isabelle has graciously agreed to eat her way through the Food Trucks on Fifth. Over the next month, she'll give you a full picture of the array of cuisines in store at the rotating truck schedule.

"Empanar" comes from Spanish and means to coat in bread. Hence it is intuitive that empanadas, the little dough pockets that are closely related to Indian samosas and Italian calzones, originally come from Galicia, Spain. They progressively migrated to South America and were adopted by Argentina, where they became a central item of local cuisine.

Today I had the chance to experience empanadas and the flavors of Nuchas Food Truck, waiting for you every Wednesday from 11 am to 3 pm in front of the New York Public Library. The little bites (which are actually not so little) make a filling and fulfilling lunch. You can get 2 for $5, which is the minimum amount suggested per person. Just grab a couple friends and make an empanada party out of your lunch break, so that you can actually get a taste of all of them because the crunchy little dough pockets are all delicious in their own way.

First, let me introduce you to the meat and fish options: the yellow turmeric (a plant of the ginger family) dough of the Jambalaya variety will blow your mind with its sweet shrimp filling, mixed with succulent tomatoes and delicious arborio (short grain) rice. The Short Rib empanada is no less convincing, made out of beef braised in red wine sauce and surrounded by a delicate rosemary dough.
As for the Vegetarian and Vegan section, let me tell you, Nuchas absolutely won me over me. The Portobello is for mushroom lovers, visually intriguing with its dark green spinach dough. Shiitake Curry sparks an Indian flavor festival right in your palate, staring eggplants, zucchini, potatoes and shiitake mushrooms that are lightly cooked in a creamy curry coconut milk. Last but not least, indulge a Spicy Cheese empanada, that comes with a mix of cheeses inside as well as Parmesan sprinkles outside.

For those with a sweet tooth, end your meal on an Apple, Cranberry and Nutella empanada. The crispy almond dough, dusted with shiny sugar crystals, literally jumps at you and begs you to take a bite out of it. You will not be disappointed by this apple strudel like, cinnamon packed pouch that smells almost like a Viennese Christmas market.
We love Nuchas for its freshness and for the variety of flavors that it has to offer. And we also love the cute letter code on the little dough pockets that permits us, during degustation, to identify what’s inside of them. On this note: Buen approvecho!!!

Food Trucks on Fifth Schedule
Weekdays, 11am-3pm

Monday: Mexicue
Tuesday: Milk Truck

Wednesday: Nuchas

Thursday: Chinese Mirch

Friday: Souvlaki GR

By Isabelle Steichen

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