Johnnie and Nestor Solari opened Argie's Grill (300 SW First St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-463-2686) just prior to 9/11, and the Argentine brothers claim that business was way off because of the timing. (I'm not sure how this works -- were people headed out for an empanada, then said to themselves, "It's a different world now -- I'd better have a slice of pizza instead"?) Be that as it may, things are rolling along nicely now at Argie's, where the 19 varieties of empanadas, all freshly made by hand on the premises, might just be the best in South Florida. The baked pastry turnovers are larger than most (the Spanish term is empanada gallega, but Johnnie calls it "American-sized") and come stuffed with everything from ham and cheese to Cajun shrimp to Philly cheese steak. Of course, the traditional beef empanada is available too, but beef with jalapeño is even better. Most go for $2.90, and there's plenty of chimichurri dipping sauce to spark them up. So try Argie's the next time you're in the Las Olas Riverfront -- to eat an empanada here is to give bin Laden a kick in the shins.
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