After intensive investigations the results are in: I now have a gut. I like to think that it is due to the firey focus during my mission. But the thought that I like to gorge myself full of these awesome meat-pastries could have its place in the conversation as well. My tally:
#1: La Taberna del Diablo - these guys know how to make dough as if it were made at home by Grandma Empanada Queen. Wow. When I brought one of these to my tutor session for Juan to taste, he immediately shot out, "Esta es como una empanada de casa!" Loosely translates to this-is-the-real-stuff, I think. Kidding. Sort of.
#2-4 in this order: Mafalda, La Riberna, La Barca. I am not going to boringly go through the differences though. I wrote a piece about the empanada hunt, but it hasn't been published (was hoping to add it to this entry, but got impatient so here we are).
Bottomline: empanadas with their varying styles, flavors, and way of being prepared match up to each individuals' tastes in different ways. But take my word for it: if you are ever in an area that serves empanadas, ask for one (al horno, my preference).