Many posters have mentioned the recent scarcity of the Sainted Arepa Lady (for background, see link below). I myself have not found her for months. I was trying hard not to get totally freaked out about it, and kind of shoved the matter back into a dim corner of my brain and simply hoped for the best.
Tonight, I found her and she was in rare form...and she looks GREAT. She was wearing an expensive dress, her hair was all done up, she was wearing makeup. It was like Arepa Lady Starship Mellencamp or something. Kind of surreal.
I had an arepa con queso, and, like the last one I had five months or so ago, it was too soft. Couldn't hoist it without crumbling. But I can't complain because the flavor was, as always, 100% on the money. Eyes rolled, deep involuntary purring sounds poured forth, dingy Roosevelt Ave transformed into the gold-paved streets of Oz. I felt deeply in love with everyone on the street, even the taxi drivers leaning on their horns. The 7 train crashing overhead was like the thunderous voice of God.
I also had a torta de carne, the Columbian deep-fried hamburger (reheated on her chuzo grill). I've had a ton of these things, and usually they pummel you with indelicate spices. The Arepa Lady's torta de carne teased and cajoled, promising herbs but never letting any one flavor crest over the others. So tender, so crunchy, so meaty, so perfect. The interior was moist and soothing. The crust was crisp. It was perfect.
Even the arepita (baby arepa) that came with the torta de carne was good, and those aren't even SUPPOSED to be good (they're just utilitarian starchy flavorless pucks for accompanying meat)!
It was the best supper I've had in a long, long time. If the Arepa Lady doesn't get snatched up by some fashion magazine or something, I'm hoping to visit a lot more often.