Arepas in Phoenix or Scottsdale?
Just got back from NY and had arepas at Caracas in the East Village. I"m craving them now! Does anyone know of a Venezuelan restaurant or a South American restaurant that serves arepas anywhere in the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Tempe/Mesa/etc. Will travel for delicious de Pabellon!
I saw this place on Throwdown and felt an immediate affinity.
However I'm not sure of any Venezuelan places in PHX. Nothing comes to mind and no listings with NT or The Rep's online directories, though this is a big city with many nooks.
That said, I'm wondering if there might be similar dishes in other similar cuisines? Columbians seem to have versions as do Central American and other regional countries. It seems similar to a torta (though corn-based "bread"). The beef filling seems to be the fave, right?
I haven't found arepas yet, but will keep an eye out. I'm a fan too. Besides Venezuelan restaurants, Columbian restaurants may have arepas too.
As tastyjon mentions, there are similar dishes in other Latin American cuisines. Try Salvadoran pupusas, also stuffed and made with masa. A couple favorites are queso y loroco (cheese and a South American vegetable/flower blossom) and revuelta (meat and cheese). We've only been here since February, so I can't recommend any places personally, but Seftel's recent "35 Ethnic Dining Spots" mentions a couple of places - Hugo's Salvadorean Restaurant in Phoenix, and Grill el Quetzal in Mesa - as serving pupusas.
35 ethnic dining spots
Yes, I agree. I haven't found a place that serves arepas, yet, but the closest thing I would suggest is the pupusas at a tiny El Salvadorean restaurant in Mesa. They are SO delicious, and the woman who owns the place is really sweet, too.
303 E Southern Ave Ste 113, Mesa, AZ 85210
Columbian might be the way to go (the "arepas" are larger, thinner and crisper); I haven't seen a Venezuelan place... In Miami, the Cuban places sell arepas, too...
You could make them really easily. LeeLee's actually sells masa from Venezuela, which was a great find:
Take some masa, mix in water until it is doughy, not crumbly, not sticky, but sort of play-do-ish; then roll into balls, and put into an ungreased heavy pan on the stove at medium-ish heat until cooked to liking (i prefer crisper and thinner, others like softer thicker arepas). Then split and fill...
I saw the Throwdown episode as well, and immediately went searching for arepas. It became clear pretty quickly that my best chance was to make them myself. If you are making them, be sure to buy PAN Harina, which is a specific type of pre-cooked corn meal. I have heard that you can make it with regular corn masa, but it won't be the same.
I ended up making carnitas and using that as my main filling, along with black beans, cotija, and guacamole. Man, they were good! I also chose to experiment by cooking the arepas on my gas barbeque, which worked out pretty well.
I saw some arepa makers at Big Lots last week in So. Tempe for $20.00, which seemed like a pretty good deal.