Fufi wants you to try her empanadas. Of course, she’d also like it if you stayed a while. And if you did, you could munch on some pizza or tacos (hand-held foods only, she insists), drink some local craft beers, and bask in it’s warm but youthful ambiance. It’s a small space, but very cozy—perfect for an afternoon lunch or a late-night date after visiting the arts district. It’s also a place she’s made her home, so much so that she even moved into the apartment right above it; so if you’re going to stop by, make sure you say hi, she’ll probably chat you up for a bit and ask you one thing… Try her empanadas. And you should. They’re some of the fattest, flakiest crescents I’ve ever had in my life (croissants included). See, Fufi has mastered the art and the craft of the Latin American staple. And she’s proud of that.
They were born in Argentina, in her grandmother’s kitchen. But they were way smaller then—almost cocktail sized. Pictures of plates piled up with the miniature pastries are some of Fufi’s fondest memories from childhood. And when she first moved to the United States, first Colorado and then Hawaii, she missed them dearly. There, however, it was a given that she wouldn’t be getting many foods from home, so she packaged them up with all the other remnants of her childhood in Argentina. But when she came to Miami, that all changed: “There’ll be empanadas everywhere!” She’d think to herself. It was one of the things she was most excited about. And so she’d go around town, everywhere from fried empanada shops to elite argentine steakhouses, and she wouldn’t be able to find an empanada that felt right.
And that set her into action. When you move around so much, home cooking is some of the stuff you miss the most. The smells, the flavors, ingredients, textures—they all evoke memories and ancestral pride which can be very hard to replicate. Even if they’re mimicked, a true native will know that it doesn’t really taste like home. But Fufi isn’t one to sit around and mope. She’d moved to Miami, gotten hyped up, but still hadn’t gotten the empanada she craved. So she called her grandma and asked for the recipe, she was going to have make them herself. The result… she finally got what she wanted, but still, that wasn’t enough. Since she was making them herself, they had to be perfect.
Florencia says ” It’s not easy to find empanadas that meet all of my requirements: quality ingredients, fully stuffed, light on the dough, crisp, healthy, locally made fresh every day. I rather steam my veggies, roast the meats; never frying. No added oils, preservatives or canned stuff. I make them knowing that I have to come through for my empanada connoisseurs!”
This is when her search for the ideal ingredients began. And as you c an probably tell, she is very picky, and a perfectionist at that. So this was an extensive process – one that began with the grass-fed beef from Gaucho Ranch, local and artisanal cheeses by Mimmo’s Mozzarella, Atlas Meat-free Deli, etc. It’s with this kind of care and passion that she chooses every ingredient and item on her list. She’s a strong believer of buying locally, and cooking healthily; anybody that has tried her food can tell you that it’s all worth it, you have not had an empanada like this before.
On her menu you can find over 15 different flavors to please all palates and preferences: from curried eggplant to vegan beef, steak to bacon, brie & dates. Her favorite? “It all depends what you’re in the mood for, I have a different favorite one every day!”