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1 Catt. 3: In re DC Empanadas

2011 September 25

JEREMY, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Cart. CATTLEYA, J., delivered an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

We granted cartiorari in this case to review DC Empanadas. Today, we review three separate empanadas: (1) the Weapon of Max Deliciousness, (2) the Speedy Gonzalez, and (3) the Divine Swine. After certain general, introductory remarks, I consider the three empanadas in Parts I, II, and III below.

DC Empanadas

At $3.50 per empanada (or $9 for three), this truck is a good deal, with prices comparable to those at brick-and-mortar staple Julia’s. Good luck finding a better-priced lunch along K Street. The empanadas are just the right size: not so big that the crust is overwhelmed, not so small that you’re left wanting more. Three empanadas is certainly more than enough for lunch (which isn’t to say you couldn’t eat more).

The crust was somewhere midway between crispy and flaky. Its hue was perfectly golden. It held up to its fillings. Reviewers elsewhere have accused the empanadas of being overly greasy, but even after a metro ride back to my chambers, there was no sign of grease.

(On a side note, the names given the empanadas are not to my liking. Read: Cheesy empanadas very good, cheesy names not so good. Except for Salmon Rushdie. That’s genius, I say.)

Overall, I’d recommend DC Empanadas. I’ll return for more. I’d advise you do the same. If you do, tell ’em Supreme Cart sent you.


The Weapon of Max Deliciousness (“WMD”), as its name implies, contains “beef chili, beans and cheddar cheese.” Of the three empanadas sampled, this was the best. The chili was well-cooked (retaining a fair degree of moistness) and well-seasoned (I detected more than a hint of cumin, unless my spice-o-meter was off). It gave off a subtle heat that built after swallowing but never overwhelmed the palate. The crust held up admirably to the hot liquid of the chili. The verdict: Highly recommended, especially when paired with a Speedy Gonzalez (see below).


The Speedy Gonzalez (“SG”) is a “mild cheese empanada filled with queso blanco, asadero cheese & mozzarella cheese.” (Vegetarians, please know that no mouse or other rodent was harmed in the making of this empanada.) The blend of cheeses was mellow, but flavorful, and lent the empanada a pleasing texture. (As you’ll discover, dear reader, my sister is much concerned with mouthfeel.) By the time I ate the empanada, it had the taste and a chewiness of a deep-fried, encrusted, non-flambéed saganaki (that is to say, a bit of deep-fried, encrusted, kefalograviera or kasseri or haloumi or other euphonic and delectable Eastern Mediterranean cheesestuff). This was likely the work of the asadero, Oaxaca’s second greatest gift to the world. The verdict: Highly recommended, especially when paired with a WMD, the two of which complement each other swimmingly.


The Divine Swine (“DS”) — a special the day I tasted it — contained “slow roasted hand-pulled pork tossed in No. 5 BBQ sauce from BBQ Bus,” another “mobile gastronomic enterprise” to be reviewed another day. Raised on the output of the northern fringes of pulled pork’s heartland, I approached this particular empanada with certain high standards. (Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I was raised to never order the pulled pork. My pork barbeque was to be sliced. Outside cut, to be precise, in all its charred crispiness.)

I did polish off this particular pig, which is not always the case. See In re CapMac, 1 Catt. 1 (2011) (“I just wish I had wanted to eat it all.”). But it was not nearly as enjoyable an empanada as the WMD and the SG. While the crust was again commendable, the pork itself was a monochromatic sweet. It had no other notes, no depth, no balance of flavors. It had none of that vinegary tang my upbringing has lead me to demand and expect. In the words of a Top Chef judge (Padma, I believe), the dish “cried out for acidity.” The verdict: Pass. One more reason ordering a “special” is often best avoided, like ordering fish on Monday or shepherd’s pie at all. (In time, dear reader, you may come to learn of my especial aversion to shepherd’s pie.)

Weapon of Max Deliciousness, Speedy Gonzalez, and Divine Swine

Finally, I must address my sister’s points. Firstly, although she be entitled to her opinion regarding orange cheese, she has laid to rest any lingering suspicion that my own strong predilection toward lamb must of necessity have required my recusal in a prior proceeding. See Metro Halal Food v. Tasty Kabob, 1 Catt. 2 (2011) (Jeremy, C.J., concurring in part). Secondly, I decline to heed my sister’s advice that I embrace what she deems “plain English.” What does and does not constitute plain English lies in the eye of the beholder — the height of subjectivity. We of the Supreme Cart should strive for nothing higher than objectivity, plain and simple. Fret not, dear reader, for I do, in fact, choose my words with great care. Unlike my sister, I see no evil in a thesaurus.

AFFIRMED in part and REMANDED in part to DC Empanadas for revision.

CATTLEYA, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part.

I join all but Part II of the Cart’s opinion. Although the Speedy Gonzalez was not bad, it would have been better if the cheese filling had been orange in color. That is all.

Now, I must take this moment to urge my brother to read Plain English for Lawyers, a guide that teaches one how to write in, well, plain English. In particular, my brother would benefit from the section in Chapter Seven entitled “Use Familiar Words.” Does the Chief Justice not think that his “dear reader” would enjoy getting through his opinion without needing to dig out a dictionary? For example, is “euphonic” the wisest word choice when “sweet-sounding” could do? Is “delectable” necessary when “delicious” is more familiar? I think not. Perhaps the Chief Justice should choose his words with more care, unless, of course, he wants his opinions to reek of pretentiousness.

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