Cafe Valparaiso

Looking for a place to eat dessert last weekend, we stumbled upon Cafe Valparaiso on Solano Avenue in Albany, California.   A Chilean restaurant, I was sold at the words “empanada” and “lucama” from on the menu.

My friend got the chocolate decadence, as she is gluten intolerant and thought it was delicious.  I got their Torta de mil hoja – pastry dough layered with walnuts and caramel milk and a scoop of lucama ice cream on the side.

IMG_0138  The lucama flavor of the ice cream was very subtle but went really well with the pastry.  The caramel milk was like a dulce de leche but thicker.  I would have liked the pastry to have been warmed a bit, making the caramel flow and allowing the ice cream to melt into each bite.  🙂

I love empanadas.  It’s my favorite snack or meal to eat in south/central america.  So, when I saw online that they were rated best empanadas in the area, I ordered one of each to go!

For the sweet empanadas, they were fried with powdered sugar on top.  One had a pumpkin and black sesame filling and the other was lucama:

IMG_0257  Oozing with honey syrup, they were just fine the next day!

Since it was later in the evening when I was there, they only savory baked empanadas left.  The meat empanadas were designated by the folded over crust – the Pino (beef) and the Pollo (chicken).  Both filled with their respected meats, onions, raisins, hard boiled eggs and olives.  I loved the baked crust; the flavors inside were great and pretty authentic.  The vegetarian one had the braided crust, with onion, spinach, mushroom, roasted green pepper, and zucchini inside.  Also pretty tasty.

IMG_0256

All in all, I was pretty impressed with the quality and authenticity of flavors used in this Chilean restaurant.  Our waiter was from Chile and offered a lot of insights of the food and culture of his people.  I am definitely heading back there…

http://www.restaurantvalparaiso.com/

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