DC is a metropolitan capital. There are monuments and tourists, commuters and locals, all mingling together on a daily basis. Culture is constantly shifting within the city’s walls to meet the needs of the changing population. Panas Gourmet Empanadas are a great example of this. These are traditional empanadas with a metropolitan twist.
In Spanish, Panas means “buddies” or “friends.” I was quite hungry when I walked in, passing through the string of Christmas lights still adorning the entrance. The first thing I noticed was the old school rock music playing in the small shop. The empanadas looked so enticing that I could resist going for a full order of four.
They were presented with two dipping sauces, the Salsa Verde and Chimi (both mild), and though I would have liked more sauce than what I was given, I was pleased by the added bite they lent the empanadas. The smoked eggplant empanadas had a smoky flavor (befitting its name) that paired nicely with the onions, red peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and mozerella cheese that made up the rest of its filling. The flavors blended together nicely, and I enjoyed it with the Salsa Verde especially. The tang of the sauce brought out the richness in the filling. The empanadas were too large to fit into the tiny sauce containers, so I improvised and poured the sauce into the open empanadas.
The people around me were all deep in conversation, enjoying their meals, and the staff were friendly and kind. Panas presents a quick meal, but a high quality one. Empanadas can be eaten as a snack or an appetizer. They can also be eaten during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With a wide-ranging menu, this is a great stop for anyone in a hurry who wants something beyond your average burrito bowl with it comes to good Latin food.