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The shelves are stocked to the gills with import market goods from South America, the display cases stuffed with assertively colored desserts of every stripe, and the countertop piled with sandwiches of varying shapes. Specialties of the house - other than the steamy espressos poured all day - are empanadas modeled after those from Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela. The Argentine kind are the familiar baked half-moon packets sealed with braided dough. Moises' Chilean empanada seems to be made from the same basic water/flour dough, but it's shaped like a burrito. The fillings are similar too, whether they are ham and cheese, melted cheese, or chopped beef flecked with raisins and olives and potently seasoned with cumin. But the Venezuelan version rocks, the half-moon dough tasting of corn meal, fried to soft consistency, and plumped with moist shreds of chicken or beef. As the juice drips down your chin, you'll think about how well your $3 has been spent.
As the neon sign reads inside, everything in this bakery is made with "chispa Venezolana." The bread comes to you fresh out of the oven in all shapes and sizes. The cakes are topped with fresh strawberries, kiwis, and peaches. The meat, chicken, and cheese empanadas go a long way. Be sure to wash down the dough-wrapped lunch-in-a-pocket with a Frescolita ( a cherry-flavor Venezuelan soda in a glass bottle). Have a bomba (a pastry stuffed with cooked condensed milk) for dessert, or a flaky... More »
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