7-Eleven stores introduce 'Breakfast Empanada Bites' to capitalize on the snacking trend. The miniature pastries filled with eggs, cheese, bacon, smoked ham and sausage sell at a value price of three for $1 at participating locations. (Photo courtesy 7-Eleven)

7-Eleven stores introduce ‘Breakfast Empanada Bites’ to capitalize on the snacking trend. The miniature pastries filled with eggs, cheese, bacon, smoked ham and sausage sell at a value price of three for $1 at participating locations.
(Photo courtesy 7-Eleven)

If the microwaveable burrito or glazed donut just weren’t cutting it for your on-the-fly, early hour needs, 7-Eleven now has added breakfast empanadas to their menagerie of munchies. The crescent-shaped pastries filled with egg, cheese, bacon and other various morning meats can be found incubating with the rest of their hot-item staples.

The breakfast empanadas are part of a long list of fun food and curious creations from the nation’s largest convenience store chain. There are Slurpees, taquitos, hamburgers, roast beef sandwiches, apple walnut chicken salads (yeah, they have “fresh” offerings) and those hot-dogs perpetually rotating on the roller grills. I’ve always wondered how long those links have been baking under those heat lamps.

Three for a dollar, the bite-sized empanadas certainly won’t break the bank, but it’s hard to consider them the morning’s main course. The breakfast empanadas are best suited for second breakfast, better known as “elevenses” in Brit speak,  or supplemental to your first.

“I usually go with a donut or sometimes a breakfast sandwich, but once I discovered these little guys, I added them to the mix” said Alex McCourt, a resident of the Ocean Park area and drummer for the band Ghost of Reagan.

“They kind of remind me of Totino’s Pizza Rolls, but for breakfast,” McCourt added.

Despite the marquee for the empanadas atop the display case, sales haven’t been so hot.

The bearded man enjoying his empanadas. (Michael Ryan michael@smdp.com)

The bearded man enjoying his empanadas. (Michael Ryan michael@smdp.com)

“People usually go with the chicken wings or the pizza,” said Mala, a sales associate at the Seventh Street and Wilshire Boulevard location, home to some of Santa Monica’s more transient dwellers, who are fond of the affordable dining options — and aggressive panhandling.

Apparently there is no wrong time of the day to eat pizza or chicken wings and it’s subsequently cutting into empanada sales. With so many options to choose from, the breakfast empanadas seem to be getting lost in the fray. Whether more people will warm up to them like McCourt remains to be seen.

Empanadas first appeared in medieval Iberia during the time of the Moorish invasions. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese and Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanadas are made by folding dough or bread around stuffing, which usually consists of a variety of meat, cheese, vegetables or fruits, among others.

The empanada has come a long way to end up on the shelves at 7-Eleven next to the chicken tenders and mini tacos. If they stay or if they’re driven out like the Christians drove the Moors out of Spain, only time and people’s tastes will tell. They are quite delectable, but history does have a tendency to repeat itself.

 

If you go 

 

7-Eleven

630 Wilshire Blvd.

(310) 393-7330

 

1600 Santa Monica Blvd.

(310) 828-8193

 

1865 Lincoln Blvd.

(310) 452-3326

www.7-eleven.com

 

Michael can be seen riding around town on his bike burning calories so he can eat more food, or on CityTV hosting his own show, “Tour de Feast.” To reach him visit his website at tourdefeast.net or follow him on Twitter @TourDeFeastSM.