After talking about this place for weeks, my friend Caitlin finally motivated us (Susan, Ariana, and I plus Susan's friend Lily who is visiting from Brown) to go downtown to Caracas Arepa Bar in the Village (at 1st Ave. and 7th St.). Another friend of ours had discovered it over the summer and we were dying to try it. My roommate Susan doesn't get out of class until 7:30 so we didn't get to the Village until 8:30. The place was absolutely packed and they don't take reservations so we went to Veniero's (more on that later) for an hour before we headed back to squeeze the five of us into a four-person table.
This is the type of place I love. What appears to be a hole in the wall is actually a vibrant eatery buzzing with people who love good food. There was a mural of a woman on the wall with the words, "Hoy no fio, mañana sí!" (Loosely translated: I don't trust today, but I trust tomorrow!)
The five of us split fried sweet plantain balls stuffed with white cheese (Yoyos) as an appetizer.
I ordered La Mulata (above) which was an arepa stuffed with grilled white cheese with jalapeños, sautéed red peppers, fried sweet plantains and black beans. For those of you that don't know, an arepa is a corn pancake eaten in Venezuela and Colombia OR, as Caitlin described it, "a really fat tortilla." It was to die for. I also ordered a glass of Tinto de Verano, which is a Spanish drink made with red wine and sparkling water that is similar to Sangria. (Of course I thought of my fellow Spanish-travelers Katie and Emily... DONDÉ ESTÁ LA TORTUGA?!) For dessert, we split a Quesillo, which was their version of traditional flan. It was denser and less custardy than usual, but it was still delicious. Including my portion of the price of the appetizer and the dessert, the drink, tax, and tip, my bill came out to about $16 (which means I don't have to eat like a pauper over the weekend as penance).
Side note: the mysterious hot sauce in the middle of the table was amazing. It enhanced every part of the meal, from the Yoyos appetizer to La Mulata, and those of you who know me know that is very difficult for me to alter a meal by adding unnecessary condiments or (God forbid) mixing different foods together that were not intended to be together (aka serial eating... yes, this is a thing).
All in all, definitely worth checking out.