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Viva Mi Arepa- Recs?

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The post on this place is pretty old and there are a number of contradicting opinions on the nature (dry vs wet, spicy vs bland, etc)of many of the arepas fillings and other items. Anyone have some recent recs there for me? We've had it on the list for a yr and are hoping to go this week. Itaunas? MC? et al?
Thanks for your help. btw, they're not open on sundays any more. good thing we called and found out; that would have been a long and disappointing haul over there!

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/537609

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Viva Mi Arepa
5197 Washington St, West Roxbury, MA 02132

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  1. Hi OC: I like Viva Mi Arepa but not sure if I find it worth a special trip. I've had the pork and it comes either deep fried or griddle cooked and would recommend the latter. If you are in the area, along Washington St (closer to JP), you might try Romanos Pizzeria for their tacos or tamales. I'm also partial to Vouros across the street for the Galactobureko.

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    Viva Mi Arepa
    5197 Washington St, West Roxbury, MA 02132

    2 Replies
    1. re: gourmaniac

      gourm, terRIFic! i never would have known they were all closeby( because i've never been to that area before, actually). now i will try them all and report back. thanks so much.

      1. re: gourmaniac

        mani, i reported on romano's in the taqueria thread. I did try Bouros' melomakarona (sorry, I'm not as much a galacto. fan) and they were really nice, so thnx so much for the tip.

      2. I haven't been back in a couple of years, but I recall a lot of handmade love in the making of my arepas there: it took a good 15 minutes from order to table.

        I liked all the ones I tried: pollo, a highly-seasoned pulled chicken; reina pepina, cool chicken salad with peas; perníl, spicy, fatty pulled pork shoulder; and domino, mashed black beans and queso blanco. Salsa Viva Mi Arepa is an essential condiment: parsley-tinged mayo with a lot of crushed raw garlic: wicked.

        The arepas are generously sized, and the griddle creates a nice chewy crust that almost defeats the plastic cutlery. Sides of sweet plantains and white rice are a good idea.

        The slightly-sweet, deep-fried masa-dough empanadas of chicken, beef, and cheese are really nice, too. I wish it were closer. It's a lot cheaper and arguably tastier than Orinoco, my nearest local arepa option.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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        Viva Mi Arepa
        5197 Washington St, West Roxbury, MA 02132

        1 Reply
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          yep, i have all that printed out from your '08 review and will be guided by it.

        2. The arepas are indeed very good. However, my favorite item on the menu is the Mondongo. When they have it, you will see a bowl on just about every table.

          1. While in the area of Vouros, I'll give a shout out to Bob's Pita Bakery for bread and Arabic groceries and Roslindale Fish Market for some of the freshest fish south of Cambridge St.

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            Fish Market
            170 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

            1. I ate there last month - had a pretty good meal overall. I really like the cachapa (sweet corn pancake, freshly made). We had a mix of fried and grilled arepas, and I sort of preferred the grilled ones to the deep-fried. Domino was my favorite, but all of the fillings were great.

              Also had some pretty good licuados - I think I had passion fruit, and a friend had mango.

              And as MC Slim JB says, the fried plantains were good too.

              The night I was there was relatively busy, and service was SLOW because everything is handmade. But it was worth the wait

              Dave MP

              1. Yesterday was Viva Mi Arepa day. What lovely owners w/ an unusual story. They are Haitian; were in Venezuala for 11 yrs, then came here (relatives)22 yrs ago. Oldest son is at Bates. So now I grok the slow prep. When you enter the door of Viva, you are on ISLAND time, mahn.

                Big generous HEAVY food here. whew. At one of our crawl spots yesterday, I saw a framed newspaper article titled " Wander In; Waddle Out." Brilliant. And accurate for this place.
                These arepas and cachapas make tacos look like quenelles( light-as-air poached, usually seafood,french dumplings). They were out of chicken so we tried:

                Beef Arepas, grilled- white masa is used to make what looks like a much larger English muffin, split and filled w/ a generous amount of stewed slightly BBQ flavored beef.
                Ham and Cheese Arepa- generously filled
                Domino- Black Beans w/ white cheese. Very good; i added to it the pork from the Cachapa .

                Beef Empanada, deep fried- sweetened yellow cornmeal w/ same fillings as in the arepas.Good but i still prefer the pastry and filling of the emps at Tango on Arlington Center, though the unseasoned filling needs spiking.

                Pernil (pork) Cachapa- an enormous and very sweet corn pancake folded over a huge filling of somewhat BBQ flavored stewed pulled pork and melted cheese. Tasted almost identical to the corn fritters my VA mom used to make. Maybe in Va they made them so sweet because it countered the extremely salty VA ham they usually ate with them. But for me, I cannot figure how a savory could be made sooo sweet. I can’t think of another example of a cuisine where something this sweet is eaten as a savory, with a meat, poultry or cheese filling. I could see it with fried bananas and brown sugar in it, but as an entree? yikes! I tried to temper the sweetness with the garlic sauce condiment but i really did not like that potent flavor of raw garlic.

                Bacalao plate- savory stew of salt cod, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and some hot element. We had it w/ wonderful yellow rice w/ peas and, in case you haven’t had your starch fix for the last month, fried plantains. I bet the shrimp w/ peppers plate is equally good.

                All in all, while I liked what we had, and I certainly recommend Viva Mi Arepa , I guess I’m just Mexican at heart. The VMA masa itself just did not have the full flavor of that at Lupita and La Verdad- who both make the fatter masa items- like gorditas, huarachas, sopas, mulitas; and i just prefer Mexican flavorings for the fillings.

                But this food is well flavored, hearty and filling and and VERY inexpensive for what you get. If they had El Pelon’s location, they would be a booming business.

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                El Pelon
                2197 Commonwealth Ave., Brighton, MA 02135

                La Verdad
                1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

                Viva Mi Arepa
                5197 Washington St, West Roxbury, MA 02132