Food Review: Empa Mundo in Iriving/Dallas, TX, Where the Empanadas are Out of this World!

While starving and arriving late into the Dallas area, with a hotel in Iriving, I frantically looked online for a good, fast place to eat near where we were staying. A top-rated place called “Empa Mundo” sounded perfect. I love fried empanadas!  Here’s the breakdown:

ENVIRONMENT

Located in a not-so-fancy shopping mall, Empa Mundo is a small restaurant , but with a good amount of seats. You pick up a menu at the back counter, give it to whomever is at the counter when you’re ready. You fill out your menu with a marker, similar to a sushi menu.

Miming was the only one working tonight, and she was busy taking orders, making and frying each empanada fresh. I figured this may take a while, since the restaurant had a few people in it and many to-go orders as well, but Miming was surprisingly fast and we got our food in a little over five minutes!

MENU

I really appreciate a simple menu, so I loved this one. It makes my ordering anxiety go down drastically. There is a list of empanadas, all costing $2.99. Descriptions of each are listed with a picture. There are also cookies at the bottom for $1.50.

Just check how many you want of each, turn it in, and they’ll be out soon!

FOOD

I knew from online reviews the empanadas would be small, about 5 inches long. I also wanted some leftovers to stash in the hotel fridge. So, we ordered 8 and a cookie.  My husband and I only ate 3 empanadas and 1 cookie (split between us) before we were stuffed and took the rest to go.

Chorizo Empanada- $2.99
Description: Sausage, potato, peppers, onion (pictured on left)

This empanada was very tasty. It wasn’t overpowered by the full-on chorizo flavor you might find in a chorizo taco. It also was not greasy in the least, which I appreciated. But it had enough chorizo flavor that it is very good. The chimichurri sauce on each table is the perfect addition to this one. Glad we ordered two of these!

Camote Empanada- $2.99
Description: Sweet potato and marshmallow (pictures above on right)

I am not a huge sweet potato pie fan, but Drew picked this one out. Of course, it ended up being, by far, both of our favorites of all the pies. To be fair, it was the only dessert one we ordered. I wish we had ordered pumpkin as well, and three more of these camotes. I couldn’t taste any marshmallow, but the sweet potato filling was so filled with spices it was absolutely flavorful and delicious. Get these!

Texas Brisket Empanada- $2.99
Description: beef, potatoes, onions, chillies

This one was suprisingly delicious. I figured the chorizo would be my favorite, but this had even more flavor. It was very beefy, non-greasy, and probably my favorite of the meat pies. Or at least this one and the chorizo are tied. Again, glad we got two of these babies as well!

Others:

Tuna: (with onions, tomatoes, peppers, and olives) As gross as that sounded to me, it wasn’t bad at all. Not my favorite, probably won’t get again, but it does make tuna taste very savory.

Pulled Pork: (pork, celery, carrots, BBQ) This was a perfectly sweet bbq pork pie. It was very different from the others as it was sweeter than savory. I loved the contrast of it with the brisket and chorizo pies. It was so tender as well. I would definitely get this again.

Criolla: (beef, onions, olives, raisins, eggs) I was suprised how delicious this one was as well! I am not a fan of raisins and olives only partially. But these ingredients were worked so well into the filling, without being over-utilized, that a sweet and savory pie was created. I loved it! I would get this one again as well. It is unique and very delicious.

Alfajor: (dulce de leche and coconut cookie)

This was our only disappointment (besides not ordering more). The cookie was very dry and there wasn’t much flavor. Skip on this one.

OVERALL

We left with a TON of leftovers, which were all very satisfying even straight out of the fridge. Miming was so kind when I asked for a to-go box. She asked how I liked it, she gave me to-go chimichurri sauce. She even said you can order ahead and they can freeze them for you. While I did consider ordering some frozen ones to drive home with, I’m on a diet now so that would have been bad.
But I definitely will go back here whenever I’m in the Irving area!

Food Review: Best Sandwich Ever? I think so….Heidi’s Ugly Cakes in Norfork, AR.

Have you heard of Norfork? Me neither. However, it is about an hour away from  Mountain View, where we were camping this weekend. We went on a day trip to see some places in-between, but the lunch we had at Norfork was the highlight. If you Google food in Norfork, Heidi’s pops up…multiple times. Apparently she has the best reubens around, so clearly I had to stop in. And it was SO worth it! Here’s the breakdown:

Environment

This quaint town is a perfect place for this quaint restaurant….but there’s one problem. It is too far from Maumelle, where I live. But the restaurant is small,  decorated with tons of cute decor I’m sure Heidi picked out herself.

As soon as I walked in, the owner, Heidi, was as friendly as could be (and not in an annoying way). She let us know that it was “bake sale day” and all baked items were half off. When I ordered a reuben with no cheese, she asked if I had a problem with mayo or any other lactose items, just to be safe. When Drew ordered his fried bologna and I asked if a fried egg could be added, she assured us that was no problem and asked how we wanted it cooked. Medium, please! I love it yolk-y. (And we all know I’m eating half of Drew’s sandwich and he will eat half of mine, because that’s how we roll.)

The Menu

As small as this menu seems, it definitely will find a hit with any picky eater. I, personally, find no reason to offer anything other than the two sandwiches we tried…more on that in a minute, but I always find a smaller menu means each of the items are perfected. And they are. Sandwiches is what you will find mostly here, besides a ton of ridiculously luscious desserts.

The Food

Fried Bologna Sandwich with chips; $6.50, comes with whatever toppings you want.

I have had a pretty great fried bologna sandwich with a medium egg at Skinny J’s in Argenta, I would definitely get that again. But this one was even better. Every aspect was perfect. Buttery, toasted bread, thick, griddled bologna, “yolk-y” egg, crisp veggies, perfection! I couldn’t put it down to even try my half of the reuben, it was too good.  Definitely order this!

 

The Reuben with chips, $6.99

When I made it to the Reuben, with high expectations, it did not disappoint. Even without cheese, it was so juicy and tender and buttery…ugh, I’m drooling now just thinking about it.  It was definitely the best (or tied for the best) Reuben I have had. The only other contender is the Burger Barn in Ozone, AR, though the owner, who has recently passed, was a hard man to deal with…and who knows how their food is now that he isn’t cooking it? Drew agreed this was the best Reuben he has had.

Now where I got in trouble was with these desserts. There was a refrigerator full of cold “ugly” cakes and pies and also a shelf of baked hand-pies. I am not a dessert person. I never order dessert. But they were half off (originally $4.50 a slice…a huge slice) so for this review, I had to. It’s your fault.  Since I couldn’t pick just one, we ordered three.

We tried (and ate for 2 days) the coconut cream cake, the peanut butter pie, and the “holy cow ” cake.

The coconut cream cake was my favorite. It was like a tres leches cake, sooo moist, not too sweet, but utterly decadent. The peanut butter pie was very dense and rich and definitely hit the spot. The “holy cow” cake was chocolate cake with a delicious caramel, topped with a great vanilla icing (again, not too sweet) and butterfinger crumbs. While it was my least favorite, it was still delicious! If you visit Heidi’s, you MUST try a dessert, you won’t be disappointed.

Overall, I will drive here if I am ever within an hour again. It was the highlight of my weekend and Heidi was the best. While the reuben was amazing, I am longing more for that fried bologna sandwich, so I’ll probably never try anything else.

Those of you close to me know that I have been dieting all year and this may seem like I “fell off the wagon”. Don’t worry, I didn’t. I jumped off the wagon! And it was worth it.