I’m the proud owner of a pretty deadly combination of psychological quirks: My eyes are bigger than my stomach (and my stomach isn’t exactly tiny), and I hate to waste food. Which is why I wind up groaning on the couch with a distended belly every time I order empanadas from El Morfi, Glendale’s best Argentinean restaurant.
Adding to the problem is that the empanadas are pretty remarkably cheap at $1.90 apiece, or $1.30 apiece if you get them take-out style (which I usually do, though El Morfi has a great atmosphere). So I often get myself about six, which is roughly two more than I can comfortably finish. It’s not like the old days of the college cafeteria, when I once attempted to eat my age in fish sandwiches. I was nineteen. I ate seven sandwiches.
But: Empanadas. They come in a pretty broad variety, but my favorite is the corn, a deep-fried pasty full of sweet, hearty chowder. Coming in a close second are cheese-and-onion and cheese-and-jalapeno; the ham-and-cheese are delicious as well. The beef empanadas are pretty good too, though they’re hard not to compare to Jamaican beef patties, which I feel comfortable calling the best kind of empanada in the world, with the possible exception of this one salmon empanada my friend’s grandmother made for me one time in Madrid, and after eating it I marched straight to the American embassy and said I wouldn’t be coming back. Or at least I would have, but I ate too much empanada and couldn’t get off the couch, thus cementing pretty much every European stereotype of Americans.
But no, really: El Morfi empanadas. The best part of ordering these is that El Morfi gives you a sample of their chimichurri sauce, which is surely tied with the garlic sauce from Zankou Chicken as Best Condiment In Los Angeles. Made with olive oil, garlic, parsley and the feather-dandruff from the wings of molting angels, chimichurri is at its best when poured into the open end of an empanada cut in half, so it can drip down and permeate the filling. Put it in your mouth and let the resultant feeling of euphoria roll past your uvula and down your throat. Yes, I know: “That’s what she said.” You know what else she said? Go to El Morfi and get some damn chimichurri sauce. If we don’t support them and they go out of business, god knows where we’ll get the stuff, and I don’t have the money for a ticket to Argentina.
The folks at El Morfi are smart, though; they only give you a small cup of chimichurri with your empanadas, and then sell the stuff at the counter for $3.75 a jar. Buy it. Slather it on bread. Marinate a chicken in it. Eat it directly from the container. No, don’t do that. You’ll get sick. But buy some. It’s good. You know what? Forget the empanadas if you want. Just get the chimichurri sauce. And bring me some.