Venezuelan

479. El Rey de las Arepas – August 30, 2020 – Detroit, MI

Ah, El Rey de las Arepas, you beacon of fresh, flavorful Venezuelan vittles! My heart sings, my stomach growls, my mouth waters as I lovingly recall my visit to you!

The restaurant in Southwest Detroit had long been on my radar before my late-August visit. This much-anticipated jaunt felt like the perfect one to execute in celebration of my recent emergence from a six-week illness that greatly limited my diet (and that had me consumed with Food Network programming – apparently to torture myself with constant reminders of everything cheesy, fried, and fattening I couldn’t consume???).

After much pondering of El Rey de las Arepas’ menu pre-visit, I called in a carryout order of the K-Rod patacon and one of the restaurant’s namesake offerings, the arepa.

Pick-up was super easy; while El Rey de las Arepas’ interior wasn’t open to visitors at the time of my visit, an outside-facing window counter was. The friendly woman behind the counter chatted with me as she rang me up, saying she hoped I enjoyed the food when she found out I was a first-time visitor.

I hoped I enjoyed the food, too – and I was pretty sure I would when I unpackaged it and saw how amazing it looked!

Looks were not deceiving. The K-Rod, a sandwich with fried plantains as the bread and a generous filling of meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and pink and green sauces, was AWESOME. The flavorful pork was a good choice for the meat filling (chicken and shredded beef were also options), and I was excited to have sides of the sooo-good pink and green sauces to augment what was already drizzled on the patacon.

And the arepa! WOW is an understated exclamation for that little baby. My reaction as I was eating it was, “How can something seemly so simple taste this good???” The mini sandwich of tender shredded beef and savory shredded white cheese nestled in between two fresh-grilled, pillowy corn-flour flatbreads was PHENOMENAL. Much love, El Rey de las Arepas, for blowing my mind and my taste buds here! I need to come back and buy not just one arepa but MANY-MANY-MANY.

BTW, dear readers: if you’re unfamiliar with Venezuelan pink and green sauces (as I was), here’s what my internet sleuthing turned up. The pink sauce, or Salsa Rosada, primarily consists of ketchup and mayonnaise. Different recipes I saw kicked up that combo with ingredients such as brandy, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. The green sauce is called guasacaca and is typically made with such ingredients as avocado, parsley, cilantro, vinegar, and garlic. Yum!

7701 McGraw Ave.

Detroit, MI 48210

302. Garrido’s – January 14, 2018 – Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

January2018Garridos1 (2)January2018Garridos2 (2)Today’s post feels especially appropriate for me given that I’ve just returned from a 10-day vacation in South America (Ecuador, specifically): the lovely Garrido’s of Grosse Pointe Woods is being represented on the blog!

The bistro’s menu packed with popular Venezuelan dishes reminds me of fare I consumed while in Ecuador. The Venezuelan Pabellón that I tried during my visit to Garrido’s was healthful deliciousness with its tender shredded beef, rice, black beans, and the kicker: tajadas (ripe plantains).

Man, were those tajadas AMAZING! How can something as simple as a plantain be so mouthwateringly packed with flavor? Caramelized, flavorful, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness constituted those tajadas. I gobbled them with relish, as I did the rest of the  Venezuelan Pabellón dish.

I felt so good about eating this healthful dinner that I figured there was room for dessert, so I capped off the meal with Garrido’s Deep-Fried Cheesecake with Berry Party. The New York-style cheesecake wrapped in fried dough and served with a berry compote was yes, as glorious as it sounds.

What’s on Garrido’s menu besides the Venezuelan Pabellón and the bomb fried cheesecake? There are various appetizers, including fried plaintain chips with pico de gallo and guasacaca (a Venezuelan avocado sauce similar to guacamole) and Venezuelan Tequeños (cheese wrapped in dough and deep-fried). There are arepas (corn-flatbread sandwiches) stuffed to the gills with goodies such as shrimp, black beans, and avocado-bacon-and-cheese-slathered burgers. There are a variety of seafood dishes, including paella, pastas, and a stew loaded with scallops, shrimp, squid, and octopus.

Other traditional Latin fare plus entrée salads and a more eclectic assortment of dishes (spaghetti with lamb meatballs; ahi tuna steak; beef stroganoff) round out the food menu, which is capped by desserts including that fried cheesecake, plus a molten chocolate cake and churros.

While the bistro doesn’t serve booze, it has an in-depth non-alcoholic drink menu – one loaded with various teas, smoothies, and coffee drinks. I NEED to go back and try its extreme hot-chocolate concoction: check out the drink section on Garrido’s menu to see what I mean! This sucker is STACKED (literally) with more than just the typical steamed chocolate milk; it’s a veritable tower of goodies.

It’s obvious that I’m not the only one in the area who is feeling Garrido’s, as the intimate little place quickly became packed during the Sunday evening that I visited it. With good food and a cozy, inviting vibe, it’s an obvious choice if you’re looking to dine within the Grosse Pointes.

19605 Mack Ave.

Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236

www.garridosbistro.com