Try to resist ordering just one of Fuzzy’s empanadas

The menu board by the order window on the Fuzzy’s Empanadas food truck is unusually informative, listing every component in the filling of each empanada.

The Triple P, for instance, contains “pork sausage, ham, chorizo, onions, red & yellow bell peppers, mozzarella/provolone blend.”

If you still have questions, just ask the man wearing a black baseball cap and a perennial smile in the order window. That would be Roy Thombs, aka Fuzzy, who owns the truck with his wife, Kem. He’ll explain that the pork sausage in the Triple P is crumbled country-style breakfast sausage.

Ask him which which empanada is his favorite, and he’ll tell you that it’s — what else? — The Fuzzy: “seasoned ground beef, cilantro, red & yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, olives.” He’ll probably add that he likes to dip the empanada in his homemade queso, a blend so popular that people have been known to call in and order it by the gallon.

The Fuzzy is my favorite, too, though I haven’t yet had any empanada from the truck that I wouldn’t gladly order again. If pressed, I’d probably pick the TLC (chicken marinated in tequila, lime and orange juice, topped with white American cheese) as a close second. And I can’t imagine hitting the truck without ordering a dessert empanada — apples, raisins and walnuts when I was there last fall, or Nutella-strawberry more recently.

Add a dessert empanada , such as the Nutella-strawberry, to your order from Fuzzy’s Empanadas food truck. // Photo by Juli Leonard

I haven’t had the B & C (bacon and cheddar) yet, but I understand it’s a crowd favorite. Or the vegetarian Shroom (sautéed mushrooms, onions, garlic, red and yellow bell peppers and cheddar) or the Just Cheese (mozzarella/provolone blend), evidently aimed at cravings for a grilled cheese sandwich.

Regardless which empanadas scratch your itch (if you can resist the temptation to order more than one, you’ve got more will power than I do), it will be folded into a crescent of savory pastry dough that Thombs has folded and crimped by hand and deep-fried to a flaky, blistery turn. Dessert empanadas get a bonus dusting of powdered sugar.

If you’re ordering several empanadas — for a crowd, or to take home and reheat — no need to worry about getting them mixed up. Each comes in its own individual paper bag stamped with the name of the empanada.

Sounds great, I can hear you say, but what about the burning question in all our minds: How did Fuzzy get that nickname? Kem Thombs, who tends to the marketing side of things and sometimes helps out on the truck, spills the beans. Seems Roy had a most impressive head of hair when he was a baby, and his sister started calling him Fuzzy.

The name stuck. Decades later, after a culinary career that began as a 15-year-old dishwasher at a Shoney’s followed by a wide variety of restaurants (including an internship at the renowned Grove Park Inn in Asheville), Thombs has no hair at all to speak of (hence, presumably, the baseball cap). But his friends still call him Fuzzy. Just goes to show that you can be serious about your cooking and still have a sense of humor.

Fuzzy’s Empanadas

Prices: empanadas two for $9 (add house-fried tortilla chips and queso for $4)

Twitter: @fuzzysempanadas


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