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Monday, February 7, 2011

Mama's Empanadas: New Food Truck Has Roots In Chile, Italy

Posted By on Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 11:46 AM

click to enlarge Mama's Empanadas' Chilean-Italian heritage mirrors its namesake's history. - MAMA'S EMPANADAS/FACEBOOK
  • Mama's Empanadas/Facebook
  • Mama's Empanadas' Chilean-Italian heritage mirrors its namesake's history.

Three things San Francisco loves: 1) empanadas; 2) Mediterranean food; and 3) food trucks. They converged two weeks ago, when Mama's Empanadas made its premiere run on the Peninsula. The food truck has mingled Chilean and Italian roots, says co-owner Christina, who prefers not to use her her partners' last names. She and her sister Gina run the truck; their mom, Ana, is the mama in question.

click to enlarge The dough is classic Chilean, the fillings skew Cal-Med. - MAMA'S EMPANADAS/FACEBOOK
  • Mama's Empanadas/Facebook
  • The dough is classic Chilean, the fillings skew Cal-Med.

"She was born in Chile and raised in Italy," Christina says. As a result, only one of the empanadas Mama's hawks is traditionally Chilean (ground beef from Niman, hard-cooked egg, olives, cumin). The rest skew sort of Cal-Italian, including a trio of vegetarian ones, filled with things like eggplant, summer squashes, roasted peppers, and Parmesan, in a Chilean (i.e., nonflaky) empanada crust that's baked, not fried. The truck also does soup, and soft polenta with a topping that changes daily.

"We've always cooked and always catered on the side, my mom, my sister and I," says Christina. "We didn't want to open a restaurant, but the truck is perfect." She says she began following the food truck movement in Portland and L.A. a year ago, and six months ago reached out to Matt Cohen, who hooked her up with a truck company in Hayward.

Since the launch, Mama's has been showing up on Marina Parkway in Brisbane and near Gazillion Entertainment's HQ on Concar in San Mateo, though Christina says Off the Grid is part of the plan. In March, maybe, for the relaunch of OtG at Fort Mason Center.

Mama's Empanadas: Follow the truck's movement's on Twitter at @MamaEmpanadasSF

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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