What: Caracas Arepa Bar
Where: East Village (93 ½ E 7th St.) & Williamsburg (291 Grand St.),
Keywords: “Oh my God where have these been all of my life?” Arepa heaven, hole-in-the-wall.
The Sandwich is a tough act to follow. Loved for its customizable nature and its portability, the western sandwich has utilized bread, vegetables, meat, and dairy—making it close to the perfect meal!
Yet worldwide there are many variations. In New York, a sandwich-centric and overall food mecca, one can now find layered heaven from bagel shops dishing out cream cheese and Lox to alternative vendors serving Bánh mì, all within steps of each other.
A truly great variation of the sandwich is the Arepa. Of Venezuelan (and Colombian) descent, Arepas are flat, pita-like, gluten-free pockets made of corn grains that are either grilled, baked, fried, boiled, or steamed and then stuffed with glorious fillings such as braised meats, cheeses, avocado, plantains and vegetables.
Tucked away in the East Village, the tiny Caracas Arepa Bar has supplied homemade Arepas for over a decade. Owners Maribel Araujo and Aristides Barrios were so successful, that they opened a second Brooklyn location, featuring a rum specialized bar named ‘Roneria Caracas.’ They even topped celebrity Chef Bobby Flay in a ‘throwdown’ on his hit show Throwdown With Bobby Flay.
Served in little plastic trays, the pockets arrive hot, fresh and fluffy as perfect neutral corn pitas host 12 different types of decadent fillings. Be sure to arrive either early (before 7 P.M.) or late (after 9 P.M.) or expect to wait with other ravenous New Yorkers hankering for an Arepa (worth every damn minute).
Can’t-Miss Dishes: La Del Gato (Guayanese cheese, fried sweet plantains, avocado slices), De Pabellon (Shredded beef, black beans, white salty cheese and sweet plaintains), La de Pernil (Roasted pork shoulder, tomato slices, and spicy mango sauce).
For more information, check out: caracasarepabar.com/index_2.php
— Joseph Amella, Jr.