The empanada is having its creative Philly moment. You can get them authentic Argentine-style at Gavin's Café near Schuylkill River Park (2536 Pine St.) where they're filled with piquant ground meat, and aren't complete until you also devour a maicenita cookie sandwich filled with dulce de leche caramel for dessert.
You can get them Fishtown hipster-fusion style at Sketch Burger (413 East Girard Ave.), where they're stuffed with green chile cheese fries or "Bombay" seitan tingling with Indian spice.
For the BBQ pitmaster rendition, meanwhile, head to Little Louie's in Collingswood, where chef-owner Gerald Dougherty shreds brisket smoked for 20 hours over hickory wood, then blends it with black beans, onion, yam, and the tangy house BBQ sauce. Tucked inside the flaky fried pocket of Dougherty's homemade dough, these irresistible little turnovers may very well be Louie's single best dish.
Brisket empanadas, $5.95, Little Louie's BBQ, 505 Haddon Avenue Collingswood, 856-854-0600.
— Craig LaBan