I wanted to a quick report on a great lunch I had at La Caraquena. Its a pan-Latin American place with dishes from Bolivia, Venezuela, and Chile. When I arrived at around 1, the place was completely empty, but the sole front of house employee was extremely welcoming and walked me through the menu. After I had been seated for about 15 minutes, several spanish speaking regulars came in behind me. The host couldn't have been more gracious, seemlessly moving back and forth between the old timers and me, the newbie.
I started with a saltena, a very tasty, solid version of this Bolvian standby. This was followed by a Diputado, one of the several Chilean sandwiches which the host said was a specialty. With no other versions to compare this to, I can only say that it was one of the tastiest sandwiches I've had in a while -- thin steak slices, a fried egg and assorted other goodies. Next time, I hope to try some of the Venezuelan areas. All in all, a great place.