Best Empanadas - 2009
The Original Marini's
When Marini's first opened in Houston back in 1971, empanadas were pretty exotic and the restaurant had a cult following. Marini's got a lot of hippies hooked on the high-buzz tea called yerba mate. Today, the reincarnation of Marini's in the Carillon Shopping Center displays lots of photos and articles from the good old days. And the empanadas are better than ever. Try the Texas BBQ empanada, stuffed with barbecued brisket; the gaucho, with ground beef in a soupy picadillo; and the Green Hulk, with chicken, spinach and mushrooms. For dessert, give the kids the banana, Ghirardelli chocolate chip and dulce de leche empanada; but save the more sophisticated fig, cheese and walnut empanada for the adults. Everybody loves the apple Gabriella with chunks of apples, dulce de leche and cream cheese. There are also store shelves in the restaurant stocked with specialties from Argentina—including yerba mate.