I LOVE AREPAS. Yes, I do. And you will, too!
Meet Felix Arellano, Venezuelan arepas artisan who worked under Mario Batali at Carnevino. He left Carnevino to pursue his dream of sharing his native arepas with Las Vegans and tourists who venture north of the Stratosphere and into the Arts District. I Love Arepas is a true bastion of good food handcrafted for those who like to call themselves foodies.
You've had pupusas, empanadas, tortas and the like. You're looking for the next big thing in food: arepas are it. In NYC, the lines for the Caracas Arepas Bar are infamous. People flip out for these little tasty sandwiches and with good reasons. There are pupusa fans out there but arepas lovers consider themselves...devoted.
Arepas are finely ground corn meal made into a delicate bread pocket - think of the best polenta you've ever had and transform it into a handheld sandwich bread. You've got it. The corn meal flour is meticulously sifted to make sure it is light as a feather. Move over pupusas, arepas have finally arrived here in the Valley and they're second to none!
It's no secret arepas are addictive. Once you've had one, it will be very difficult to stop. They go down super easy because there is no heaviness to them at all, save for the fillings.
Throw out your rice flour/tapioca flour/dry gluten-free breads because you're about to experience a gluten-free, wheat-free sandwich so totally delightful a whole country of citizens eat them on a daily basis without ever tiring of them.
The most traditional and most popular arepa, the Reina Pepiada, has chopped chicken, creamy avocado and their famous Venezuelan sauce which is almost everyone's all-time favorite. Find out how the Reina Pepiada got its name for our trivia pop quiz at the event!
You'll also want to give their Carne Mechada a try - especially for those who love meat-filled sandwiches or rather, beef sirloin in red wine - good golly!
For breakfast, I Love Arepas offers Perico - the ultimate Venezuelan breakfast arepa with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, onions and hot dog sausage. Pericos aren't well-known here in the States but anyone who has traveled to South America, specifically Colombia and Venezuela knows this is their breakfast happy place. We get Egg McMuffins but they have Pericos. We won't tell you who gets the better end of the stick (take a wild guess!).
Vegetarians will want to try their black bean and melted cheese arepa or their egg and cheese arepa. The most adventurous among us should give tongue, tripe and pernil (roasted pork shoulder, seriously, if you've never had it, please stop denying!), a whirl.
The drinks at I LOVE AREPAS are beautifully unusual:
Parchita, passion fruit juice
Agua Panela, cane juice with a little lemon and sometimes milk or cheese
Guanabana, white soursop juice reputed to kill cancer cells (and even if it doesn't, it tastes darn good). If you like banana/coconut/strawberry/pineapple, try guanabana - you'll taste a little bit of each of these.
Soft drinks and a daily variety of natural juices are also available.
I Love Arepas will make Venezuelan flan (quesillo) for Adventures in Dining. Most of us haven't tried quesillo before. It's denser and yet at the same time fluffier, often with many air holes in it. Totally different from traditional Mexican flans we've all had. Not on their menu but prepared with love for our group tonight only!
FORMAT: Park at Dino's or in the lot just behind it. We'll arrive for arepas before the bar crowd arrives. Cash, credit or debit. Order what you like and order plenty of it because nothing will set you back more than $4.
This is a stand alone cart - just like the food carts in Portland, Oregon. I Love Arepas has a vision for Vegas food which includes an adjacent bulk candy store similar to The Candy Baron in Monterey, California where everything is natural and made with integrity. I Love Arepas is about a year or so ahead of its time right now. Meanwhile, we'll be there to keep the lights on.
If we're not too full from arepas and quesillo, we can venture over to Luv-It Custard for a frozen custard run. Wear comfortable standing/walking shoes.
Brush up on your Venezuelan culture - we could have a pop quiz or two!