SWEET HOME VENEZUELA!

CARACAS AREPAS BAR
91 E 7th Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 228-5062

I just love saying the name. Caracas Arepas! It's fun. Try it. Rolling the word arepas around on my tongue makes me smile. Arrrrr-EH-pas! Kind of like Arrr-EE-bah! So popular they've got 2 doors! Actually, it's true -- they have such a big fan base of regulars, they don't have enough tables in the cozy cafe, so they've got a To Go cafe to handle the overflow and the fans who don't have a sit-down dinner in their plans.

I first experienced Caracas Arepas Bar on a sultry (read warm) night after a massive early September rainstorm, the street out front of the Arepas Bar was packed with people happy to wait for a taste of Venezuela. The wait for a seat at the little bar was 30 minutes and a table was 45 minutes. But the host was ON IT and was somehow accommodating the crowd and we got a seat at the cozy bar where we were quickly served refreshing Tona beer, a Nicaraguan cerveza I'd never had before.

We dug into Guasacaca (a type of guacamole) with the "chips made on the premises" that appeared to be yucca and plantains. Those chips were so good they didn't need the dip!

The Ensalada Fresca was worthy of the name as every ingredient was bursting with freshness from the tomatoes to the watercress. I want to figure out how to rip off their recipe for passion fruit vinaigrette and the snow shower of cotija cheese added a slight salty finish that balanced all of the elements in a very satisfying way.

I opted for the little arepas that beat Bobby Flay in a Throwdown, The De Guasacaca! A triumph of shredded beef, black beans, de cueso cheese and sweet plantains. I dreamed of this arepas that night.

Hudson got vegetarian La Jardinera and La Mulata which individually were tasty but when mixed together were even better! Watch out for the jalapenos in the La Mulata - they're not timid and bite you back unapologetically.

We finished off the night with the unique dessert called Obleas con Dulce de Leche - it looked like a very thin cookie and so it was aptly described to us as "a very thin wafer" and the dulce de leche caramel sandwiched in the middle was not too sweet. What a wonder - a little something at the end of meal that didn't induce guilt.

Stay tuned for my next foray into their empanadas, bebidas and a side kick that is calling out to me named a Yoyo!

See you there!

Ivy

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