Don't get me wrong, overall I liked the Arepa. I just didn't love it as much as so many on this board seem to. After reading of this near-mythical figure on the board for so long, I realized going in my expectations were quite high, but I couldn't help it.
I partook the mysterious Arepa on Friday night/ Saturday morning at around 12:30 AM. Maybe it was because I was a bit hung over that day, or maybe the PBJ I ate around 7:00, to tide me over till my trip to Jackson Heights, didn't quite settle right, I don't know. For all it's virtues though, I found the Arepa to be too heavy and greasy to be entirely enjoyable. So much so that my last few bites were against my will, but I finished to avoid offending this legend of a woman, this archetype. I was quite hungry, too, so a good piece of greasy food should not have been a problem. How our chief hound can eat one of these after already having eaten a full meal is beyond me.
As I said, I liked the Arepa, at first. The Arepa flour was subtly sweet, cooked to a slight crunch on the outside while the inside was soft, rich and buttery. Deep in the middle it was borderline molten, so I'd swear there was a bit of cheese tucked away in there as well. The cheese sprinkled on top was good enough, I suppose, although I wish it had been a bit zestier to better complement all the heavy dairy involved. This Columbian treat was tasty, but it was not the kind of quasi-religious experience that I've had with dishes in the past and was hoping for.
By far, the more popular dish that night was the 8-inch pancake-like "skinny Arepa" (my name for them). People would come up and get a 1/2 dozen to go. Maybe the next time, if I happen to be in the general vicinity, I'll try those. Maybe they'll taste the same as the "fat Arepas", but without all the extra grease. Unless I'm out in Queens for some reason already though, I can't imagine ever seeking them out intentionally.
Unless, possibly, this wasn't THE Arepa-lady (but she was the only one there). Short, rather stocky woman, late 40s, early 50s maybe, with a slim bald gentleman with a shaven head beside her grilling up meat-kabobs and some class of beef patty.