Maybe you've seen their photos already. The golden-brown shell shaped just-so into a palm-sized pocket. The border bearing tiny, adorable dough letters: "Quebracho."
These empanadas are the handiwork of Belen Rodriguez, who makes those little marvels and so much more: Her meat and pastry mastery extends to beautiful pies like the pork and duck egg number pictured above, plus several kinds of charcuterie.
Since opening Quebracho in November 2018, she hasn't yet had a place to call her own outside a commissary kitchen in north Minneapolis, popping up instead at spots like the Linden Hills Holiday Market and Lowry Hill Meats.
That's about to change: Rodriguez can't share the precise location yet, but she'll soon be subleasing part of a restaurant kitchen in south Minneapolis. She calls it a "business within a business-type thing," and plans to be open Thursday through Sunday. (Start speculating now.)
"I'm super excited and really want to make it public, but haven't gotten the good to go from the chef or their landlord," she says.
For now, you can find Quebracho's empanadas and pies and pâté at Northern Coffeeworks every Friday this month, where they'll showcase "pretty much everything we've been working on" as she readies to open her south Minneapolis space.
Rodriguez and new-ish Northern Coffeeworks head chef Jake Johnson go way back. The two met when they were working at the Bachelor Farmer, where Rodriguez did everything from line-cooking to prep work to events to inventory, eventually honing her butchering and charcuterie abilities.
“It turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” she chuckles. “Oh, now I know how to do all these things. I know how to go through a whole hog.”
Consistency, relationship-building—these things are dear to Rodriguez, who hasn't jumped around to multiple farmers markets and pop-up locations so far. In her native Argentina, she loved Sunday feasts with friends and family. But she doesn't have her family here, so she's sticking with pop-ups at Linden Hills and Lowry Hill Meats (and now, Northern Coffeeworks) to get to know those customers.
"That’s what I’m trying to get from back home," she says. "That’s what I miss.” The first Northern Coffeeworks collab felt a lot like one: "People were asking about the food in general, about charcuterie, and it just felt great to be able to approach their tables and chat for a few minutes with everybody."
"As we say back home, estaba en mi salsa," she adds. (Literally: "I was in my sauce," or "I was in my element.")
And the Northern Coffeeworks crew has some exciting news of their own: This year, they'll start roasting their own coffee, and they're going to be a vendor at the Midtown Farmers Market.
Catch Quebracho at 1027 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis for the next three weeks—March 22, March 29, and April 5—at 6 p.m.