Caracas Empanadas

Empanada Mmmpanada
Location: Library Mall
By: Megan

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting down with Brett from Food Carts Portland (yes, in Oregon) and enjoying, what else but, some great cart food and even better conversation. We got in touch with Brett when he tweeted that he was looking for a good cart to try in Madison – we provided a recommendation, and asked if he’d like company! Isn’t social media just plain wonderful? He also agreed to do a guest post for us, so I’ll only give you his couple-sentence story before I get to the emmmmpanadas we ate.

Brett was in Madison for a city planning conference, as I understand it. Portland is set up similar to Madison (from what I can tell) in terms of city planning goals, ideas, and what not; so he had a great deal to contribute to conversation regarding how to build “effective” working cities. Portland, however, has OVER 600 food carts. Woah. He told me that the city will use closed-down parking lots and have only food carts set up there, which creates a sense of “community” when everyone gathers to meet there – so you can imagine the great perspective he had to bring to the conference. I’ll let him talk more about that though!

Caracas cart

Caracas' Cart

Though I was maybe more hungry for “blog talk” than lunch, I ended up picking one of the better food carts for smaller entree options. I’d heard great things about the empanadas here, so I was anxious to try one! They had one for $2.75 or 2 for $5 – I placed my order for one Veggie Empanada (made with potatoes and roasted red peppers). There was a bit of a wait to not only order, but also to get your food – which was probably a combination of him preparing them in the back and the line of about five people waiting for theirs. I didn’t mind this time around, though – I had Brett to chat with!

Once we received our brown bagged lunch, we found a shady spot and dug in. There was a green sauce included, and though I’m not totally sure what it was, I was glad to have it. Don’t get me wrong, the empanada was extremely tasty (I definitely said “mmmpanada”!) – the ingredients didn’t spill all over, the bread was delicious, and it was nice and warm! But, as should be expected I suppose, the empanada was extremely greasy – and I found the sauce helped cut that for whatever reason. I was also a bit surprised to see that the filling more looked like a mush than veggies.

Veggie empanada

Veggie Empanada with "green sauce"

For those with smaller appetites, one empanada was perfect – I certainly walked away full. But as a person who also does not normally eat a lot of greasy food, I also walked away with a bit of a stomachache for the rest of the day. I blame this on not being used to the amount of grease in the food – but definitely may deter me from heading back to Caracas Empanadas.

Deliciousness: 3/5

Price: 4/5

Speed: 1/5

Authenticity/Originality: 3/5

Overall: 2.75/5


Filed under Venezuelan

10 responses to “Caracas Empanadas

  1. Skip

    That looks mighty tasty…

    It was a pleasure to have met you today, Megan. Here’s the book I told you about:

    Take care,

  2. Jake

    This is an outrage. Caracas makes the most authentic, delicious empenadas you can eat outside of Venezuela. A 3/5 for taste is your prerogative, but to knock the food’s authenticity based on naivite causes this food blog to lose credibility. I sincerely hope that this blog doesn’t scare people away from a unique foodcart that we are lucky to have.

    • Hi Jake!
      Thanks so much for your comment! We like getting quality feedback on our reviews – and I certainly appreciate your saying that. We in no way claim to be food critics, those were just my feelings on that day! Thanks so much again for your feedback & taking the time to give your perspective!

  3. Aude

    I might be a bit biased, cause I am from Venezuela – but I think these empanadas are awesome. Since I discovered this cart I feel a bit closer to home. As a matter of fact I get them religiously every Saturday, at the Capitol’s Farmer Market.
    The empanadas might be a bit greasy (not too bad though) but that is part of the preparation process as they need to be dipped in hot oil. Venezuelan empanadas are usually made with corn flour, but these ones are a variety made with wheat – however they are delicious. My favorites are the shredded beef and chicken ones. The green sauce is guasacaca, a Venezuelan sauce based on avocado but made with vinegar.
    You might need to wait a bit while their getting done, but the wait is worth it. The owners are extremely friendly and always make me feel welcomed. I give this 4.5/5. Madison people, if you want taste a bit of authentic Venezuelan flavor, dont miss Caracas Empanadas.

  4. Pingback: Special Report: Isthmus a la Carts | Madison Street Eats

  5. Tina

    I love empanadas and seek them out wherever I go – baked, fried, Argentinian, puerto Rican (pastelillos) – and the empanada I had here is easily at the top of the list of the best. The fried dough was crispy, light and dry, not greasy at all. The fillings – forgot the name but it had meat, beans and rice, were moist, deliciouslyvseasoned and wonderful together. With some of the zesty green sauce drizzled on it, this is one empanada that I will pine for when Im back home ib Chicago.

  6. Kim

    I had Caracas Empanadas for the third time yesterday and each time I think about these delicious empanadas for days after. This is definitely in my top three food cart picks in Madison (Surco is my other “sure thing” and the third always depends on what people are in the mood for….BJs, Taquitos Miramar and Soho are my other solid choices, and I’ll throw in Fried and Fabulous for the fun factor and Slide just for their buffalo chicken and homemade chips) and would never hestitate to direct a guest here. The shredded beef and the sweet plantain empanadas are my absolute favorite. The hot sauce (the red/brown one) is perfectly sweet & spicy. A drop of every bite of the beef one is the perfect ratio for me. I’ve had other empanadas in Madison and across the U.S. These, IMHO, are the best in Madison and are competitive with the best I’ve had anywhere else.

    And I have to say that food cart speed is always a mystery to me. In every city there are fast food carts and MANY painfully slow ones. I have yet to find a fast one in Madison, though. I think the size of the carts is a bit limiting for efficiency here.

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