It’s Meat

I am a foodie. In particular, I love Mexican and South American cuisine. And about a year ago, I started going to a local Venezuelan restaurant- and fell in love. It is food-crack. And I was hooked.

The issue is, it’s very small and the service is not great. Two things that my husband detests: slow service and just BAD service. Honestly, he barely tolerates my Latin food cravings, so whenever I can I drag him, I do, but honestly, I know I am setting myself up for disaster.

I was thrilled to learn that a new Venezuelan restaurant opened- and I had heard, from a reliable source, that it was very authentic. So, one night, when Tony was working late, I ordered an arepa to go.
When I arrived, I was speaking to the owner and noted that he spoke very broken English- but was able to have a decent conversation with him, nonetheless. But clearly- no one in the kitchen spoke any English.
Ohhhhh, that Arepa was goooooooood. The pork was not “pulled pork” as expected, but a sliced pork- it was roasted beautifully- juicy but with some crispy pieces. I ordered it with cheese, which they forgot to put on, but overall, it was very good. I wanted more. Strike that. I needed more.

I asked Tony if we could go to this new place, let’s call it “The New Arepa Place” (creative name, huh?) on Saturday evening. I also invited Cindy, our good friend- who said she would “Keep it in mind” which is normally code for “No, but I feel bad saying ‘No.’” Surprisingly, Tony agreed and Cindy, actually, decided that she wanted to join us. Yeah!!!!

I pull up the “The New Arepa Place” and it’s empty. Not a single customer. UGH. That doesn’t really look that great for me, in terms of “selling it” to my husband and friends. Cindy arrives shortly thereafter and we go inside. They, basically, only have tables for 2 set up. Since there were to be 3 of us, we asked if we could move two tables together. “Yes, of course” the owner replied and sent a gentleman to move the tables for us.
Instead of this:

(X’s are tables, because I’m too much of an idiot to get a picture to copy into this blog)
We got this:

Ok, we are 8 feet apart and 2 of us are facing the wall… but ok, we’ll make it work.

Table service, despite the fact that it APPEARS to be a regular restaurant, apparently is non-existent. So I got up to get the menus- one of which was printed so lightly that you couldn’t read it. The menu also is basically in Spanish. I get it. It is Venezuelan food and that they do not, generally, speak English there… but the restaurant is HERE. So, one would think that English might be represented somewhere- just so people can know what they are ordering.

Here is an example: On the menu it says:

Full Equipo (Jamon, Queso y Perico) Ham Cheese and Perico.

I don’t know what Perico means. (Sorry, I took German) So I “google” it, and the first thing that comes up is a picture of a Parrot!!!! I’m like, WHAT!?!?! But I read further to see that it is a Venezuelan dish – eggs with vegetables. Oh ok. As long as it’s not Parrot. Which, I suspect, tastes like chicken.

Also, what is “Ham Cheese?” (ohhhhh, Ham ,Cheese- See? Punctuation is important. )

Cindy and I went up to the counter and ordered food. Cindy ordered a couple of arepas- Shredded Beef and Cheese and another one with Black Beans, Cheese and Avocado and an Empanada. And I ordered the same “Pernil,” pork with white cheese that I had had previously and a Queso Empanada. Tony wanted “Chicken Skewers.” ( I don’t condone this choice- it’s a Venezuelan place, get something more authentic! He always chooses the wrong thing. He would think nothing of ordering Lobster Thermidor at a diner.) So the owner asks if Tony would like Vegetables or Hallaquitas.

I asked “What are Hallaquitas?”

The owner stumbled to try to say it in English and just could not find the words. So he asked one of the guys in the kitchen to bring one over. So the guy comes over and shows me something wrapped in a husk- like a tamale. Inside could have been a bleeding pig’s heart (which, I suspect, tastes like chicken)… but I wouldn’t know, because IT’S WRAPPED IN AN OPAQUE HUSK, and I’m NOT Superman, so I said “Ok, Tony will have that!“ tee hee.

Finally, after a lengthy wait, particularly since we were THE ONLY CUSTOMERS, our items begin arriving at the table.

We got one Arepa and two Empanadas. Of course, we didn’t know which Empanada was which, so we asked the waiter to clarify and he pointed to the one in front of Cindy and said “It’s Meat.” So we got the right ones and started to eat.

Shortly thereafter, we were both eye-balling the lone Arepa. It had shredded meat of some kind in it. It was the color of pork, but did not look like the pork that I had ordered previously. Cindy took a small bite, and declared it be “pork.” I took a small bite and declared it “cheeeeeeken.” However, neither of us ordered Cheeeeken, which deemed my proclamation somewhat confusing. So we decided to get an expert opinion and definitive answer, and asked the Waiter.

I said, “Excuse me, is this chicken or pork?”

The waiter replied “It’s Meat.”

“Ok, thanks.” I reply shrugging my shoulders at Cindy.

Turns out it was BEEF!!

Finally, the NEXT Arepa arrives and it looks like the pork I had ordered previously, so I assumed it was mine. I ate my Empanada, but didn’t have any room for my Arepa!!! After all of that struggle- my eyes were bigger than my stomach.

In the meantime, Tony gets his Chicken Skewers with Hallaquitas – which were the saddest things I’ve ever seen. Skewered cubes of cheeeeeken with mysterious beige-ball-shaped objects in between the cheeeeeken chunks. I saw nothing in a husk, so I am convinced he didn’t even get the Hallaquitas, I think the beige items were Yucca or Potato, although it might have been “meat.” A very greasy, limp plate of Fries accompanied his meal- which he didn’t even touch.

Don’t get me wrong, the food is really good. We will just get take-out from now on. Either that or bring “Goo Goo,” our Spanish interpreter.

For the record, I still don’t know what Hallaquitas are. So I “googled” it and this is what I found: Aqui mando la receta de hallaquitas, sacada de un libro bien sencillo pero rico,la autora es Hilda Leandro de Marin “Recetas faciles de cocina”

What?!?!! That doesn’t exactly answer the question for me.

Tony asked me what they were and I replied “It’s Meat.”


One Response to “It’s Meat”

  1. JP Laqueur Says:

    Love it! You gotta write more!

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