The Power of Three

The power of three: The Taos empanada ($6.25) at The River Cafe (3615 Montrose, 713-529-0088) takes the classic south-of-the-border treat to new heights in a totally vegetarian way. Inside the baked puff pastry dome, spinach, corn, onions and carrots are bound together with melted feta cheese. The feta adds a touch of tartness to the dish, but the real flavor comes from a trio of Southwestern sauces: a chunky chipotle pepper sauce; a smooth, smoky, guajillo pepper sauce; and a roasted tomato and poblano pepper sauce. With all these peppers, you'd expect the dish to set your mouth on fire, but the vegetables absorb most of the heat, leaving only a richly rewarding trio of flavors.

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Paul Galvani