Some people review their notes before meetings. I go for arepas. There’s something strangely thrilling about spontaneously asking your driver to take an unexpected route for a wonderfully calorific snack to eat in the back of the car before you go to talk business over a flat white. As I haven’t spent time in Venezuela in ages, it’s something that provides a small sense of nostalgia, wherever I may be.
When in New York, I go to the Caracas Arepa Bar. The restaurant has a great authentic vibe and they always have my order ready quickly. Arepas are hard to get right, but owner Aristedes and co at CAP always deliver.
A dense cornmeal cake, if you don’t get the dough perfect, you don’t get the crunchy-yet-soft texture that makes arepas so special. They’re made from ground corn, water and salt, mixed together and then molded into a flat bun-type shape before grilling. The magic happens when it’s stuffed with various fillings inside, then served with the mild green, or hot red mojo sauce.
CAP has 12 varieties of arepa, but my go-tos are the Reina Pepiada, with grilled chicken and avocado, and if a meeting is about to get real, De Pabellon - shredded beef, black beans, white cheese and sweet plantains.
Caracas Arepa Bar is at 93 1/2 E 7th Street, New York. Some of my other favorite arepa stops are Ferdi in Paris - 32 rue du Mont Thabor, and in Miami, a food truck called DonGlotón. The truck is open five nights a week. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, you can find the trailer parked outside Publix at 134 SW 13th St. from 8 pm to midnight. Fridays and Saturdays, the truck moves around the corner to the Walgreens at 200 SW 13th St. until midnight.