Back in 1974, I met this Guatemalan cook at a small family run restaurant on Wilson. It was called the Guatemala Restaurant. Everyone in his family worked there. This was not factory food. They made everything lovingly by hand from fresh ingredients. It tasted unique and delicious.

I live in Houston now where there are plenty of great Hispanic restaurants. Friends in that business tell me each Central American country has distinctly different variations. Mexican empanadas, for instance, are nothing like Guatemalan empanadas. Uptown was lucky to have this restaurant. Forty years later, I’m still looking for empanadas to match those made by this Guatemalan cook and his family.