If the enigma of eating empanadas from an anonymous cart hasn’t yet faded, you’ve got another option. While the loss of Shachi’s on 35th (which is being replaced by what appears to be another generic deli, albeit a tiny one) leaves us without permanent empanada options in southwest Midtown, the Nameless Empanada Cart has a second cart located on 37th, right next to 8th. On a crisp October day when nerds converge on Manhattan in greater numbers than normal, what better way to celebrate by seeing what differences four blocks can make to the empanadaverse?
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If you were unhappy that the Nameless Empanada Cart disappeared from 34th and 8th, becoming invisible as well as anonymous perhaps through perfection of an optic camouflage empanada that covers the whole cart, rejoice! They have relocated from the southeast corner of 34th and 8th to just a bit west of the southwest corner, between the HSBC Bank and NYC DMV License Express. What better way to get a disappointing but not terrible nosh when you face losing a day to the DMV bureaucracy or if you have to take a break from laundering money to send to Iran?
The menu hasn’t changed but is now better mounted and a little more visible on both sides, and they had some fresh empanadas going into the fryer when I passed by at around 8 AM the other day. Could be a decent breakfast alternative if you don’t feel like going 1/4 block in the other direction – Lunch Box Buffet does their amazing steamed buns for breakfast, too.
You’d think that 34th and 8th would be a hotbed of vendor activity. There’s a whole southeast corner that’s solely occupied by a Duane Reade and a tree. Why it took so long for a vendor to pop up in this space is a mystery, but imagine my surprise when one Friday an empanada cart shows up. With the loss of Shachi’s Arepas, whose empanadas were amazingly done complements to their arepas and the source of many a carb-laden delicious lunch, this may well be the only fixed location where you can get your flaky goodness on a regular basis. Are they heirs to a great fried-filled-pastry dynasty or merely pretenders to the throne?