A dad and his daughters, loving life in New York City

Wednesday, December 13

Caracas Arepa Bar

First, get those street-fair, pancake-looking arepas out of your head. These are not those.

For a few years now the tiny Caracas Arepa Bar (on 7th Street, just off 1st Avenue), has been making the hungry happy with their delightfully crunchy, intensely flavored, consistently delicious Venezuelan corn-cake sandwiches—arepas—and they recently opened a slightly larger, full service establishment a couple of doors down. I revisited the old place about a month ago (even though it's now called "take-out", they still have the three or four tables up front), and took Bo and Co to the new restaurant on a recent Saturday evening. And I must say, you'd be hard pressed to find another kitchen in town that cooks up such simple, inexpensive food with so much love.

They've expanded the menu quite a bit, it seems, but though we definitely enjoyed our Tequeños (deep fried white cheese sticks), our vinegary salad with a generous pile of hearts of palm, and—to a lesser degree—our chicken soup, the thing to get here remains the arepa, in all of its guises. La Reina Pepiada (chicken with avocado salad), La Pelua (shredded beef with paisa cheese), La Jardinera (eggplant with sundried tomatoes, carmelized onions and guayanés cheese), De Pabellón (shredded beef with black beans, sweet plantains and cheese): they were all a huge hit with Scoboco. And you absolutely have to get a Papelón con Limon to drink, which the menu describes as a "natural blend of sugar loaf and lime" and is unbelievably refreshing, and, as Bo pointed out, has a distinct, inexplicable chocolate finish, and is unlike anything we've had before.

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