The folds of Half Moon Bakery’s empanadas are tucked together so tightly, you’d never know how much flavor is locked into these compact semicircular pastries until you take a bite.
Husband and wife co-owners Gerson Velasquez and Lyz Otero, who’ve worked for some of our city’s top chefs such as Dante Boccuzzi, opened the shop in January with more than a dozen varieties of traditional and specialty empanadas such as an Asian version ($3) with tofu, red peppers, ginger, onion, carrots, black sesame seeds and a side of garlic ginger aioli. Selling 300-400 every day is no small feat, as they work with a small team to deep-fry each empanada daily, prepare fillings and finely shred vegetables.
Don’t miss out on a fan favorite, the chicken Argentina ($3). Stuffed with slaw, garlic aioli, cilantro and shredded chicken seasoned with Otero’s house-made sauce made with garlic, onions and peppers — inspired by flavors from her Puerto Rican upbringing — it’s a crisp pastry piled to the brim. “In each bite you can taste something fresh, juicy, crispy,” Velasquez says. “It’s out of this world.” 3460 W. 25th St., Cleveland, 216-772-2499, facebook.com/thehalfmooncleveland
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