Hot Plate

Pocket-size pies: From the "other" empanada bakery, Marines Empanadas Delicias [3227 Hillcroft, (713)789-2950], I'm particularly partial to the Apple Supreme pie ($2.15). Partly it's the precise dice of the tart Granny Smith apples that fill the golden crust to bursting, swimming in cinnamon and sugar-sweetened juice and studded with rich nuggets of walnut. And partly, perhaps, it's the surprising secret layer of a fresh Colombian white cheese akin to a light, stretchy mozzarella. The finished empanada is securely sealed with a thick decorative coil of pastry, fried and served molten hot, with a generous dusting of confectioner's sugar -- so don't inhale.


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