According to Louis Bremmer, owner of Tango's Subs & Empanadas, the dual secrets to the perfect empanada are a flaky, buttery crust and fresh fillings.
"We chop everything here. It's just from scratch," Bremmer said.
Empanadas aren't rocket science. Pastries stuffed with everything from beef in mole sauce to tuna, apple, caramel and Nutella, they're so easy almost every culture has come up with something similar. As such, the empanada goes by many names: pirozhki, pierogi, turnovers and knish, to name a few. Tango's website is even bolder: "They're as old as time probably."
That's hard to prove, but we'd suggest they're at least as old as humans' hunger for something warm and tasty to eat.
"I believe everywhere in the world there's something similar, just with different menus, different feelings," Bremmer said. "It's a tradition everywhere."
Bremmer is from Mexico City and his wife is from Argentina, where empanadas, he said, are sold on every street corner. After spending three years in Las Vegas, the Bremmers decided Sin City wasn't where they wanted to raise their two daughters. The family heard about Boise from a friend and came to the City of Trees in 2005. A year later, they opened Tango's. In April 2016, the restaurant opened a second location at 337 Caldwell Blvd. in Nampa. The new spot is larger than the Tango's Orchard Street location and features a drive-thru.
While the price of everything has increased in the past nine years, Bremmer hasn't bowed to inflation with his empanadas. Every empanada costs $2.50. The company has grown, but empanadas are street food, and Bremmer said he'll keep his operation both traditional and low-cost.
"We don't touch the price. People like that we're affordable for everyone," he said.
It wasn't hard for Boiseans to get a taste for Argentinian cuisine. Tango's 2006 menu had 12 varieties of empanada. Now, the menu has 35--crowd-pleasers like the Rancho (refried beans, house-made Mexican chorizo, jalapenos and cheddar) and the Gardel (chicken and marinara). While eaters are eager for the empanadas, patrons to Tango's shouldn't overlook the submarine sandwiches. The Tango sub is beef that has been spiced, marinated and breaded, with bare-bones fixings like lettuce, tomato and onions. Thursdays and Fridays, make the leap for the Lomito--barbecued beef with a slew of sauces and salsas, lettuce and tomatoes.
Whole sections of the menu are dedicated to cheese and dessert empanadas, like the Cordoba (mushrooms, onions, red wine sauce and cheese) and the Cocco (house-made dulce de leche and coconut).
Pro tip: Order dessert empanadas a la mode. It's fried decadence that quickly won (and clogged) Boise's heart.
"People started to be familiar with empanadas. We feel like a part of Boise now," Bremmer said.