After a disappointing first showing at the Caracas Arepa bar I planned on going back today to give them a second chance. I backed away in fear of the crowds after I woke up to the NY Times review in the paper today.
So I thought I'd check up on the arepas somewhere else for research purposes, of course. I had heard that Flor's Kitchen wasn't that good and the food was boring but still I marched on, ever-vigilant with the hopes of understanding more about what should be expected from a Venezuelan restaurant's arepas.
Not surprisingly the slightly-larger Flor's was a lot more comfortable than the Arepa Bar. The place was really friendly and the prices were reasonable. I was surprised to see that they had an equally large, if not large selection of arepas, arepitas, and enchiladas. Same relative price structure as well.
I ordered the punishing(to my heart only) trio of aperitifs dulcet con quasi, a shredded beef enchilada, and an Arepa with chicken and avocado. Unlike the spartan offerings at Caracas, Flor's provides a small ramekin with a vinegary avocado sauce and green hot sauce.
I assumed the aperitifs would be smaller than the Arepa but instead they were the same size but topped instead of stuffed and there were three of them covered in an avalanche of shredded mild and creamy cheese. It looked so beautiful, the golden Arepa hills covered with the snowy cheese I had to taste it even though I knew they were scorching hot. It really outclassed the Arepa Bar's arepas. The aperitas were so much more tender and filled with more vibrant corn energy they nearly knocked me off my chair. Their subtle sweetness was totally intoxicating. I was in love. Three of these totally had their way with me until the chicken and avocado Arepa arrived. It came wrapped like a fast food burger with it's milky green avocado puree peak snooping out of its thin paper sheath. It was a little less done than the arepita but extraordinary nonetheless. The filling was a bit bland but that's what the hot sauce was there for. The enchilada looked just like the one at the Arepa bar's and was on par with it in terms of crispness and quality of the meat inside. The beef was moist and shredded but at this point I could barely breathe from fullness let alone analyze any subtleties of flavor.
So why all of this fervor for the Caracas Arepa bar?
Although Flor's arepas won round one of my personal Arepa showdown it looks like the publicist of the Caracas Arepa bar has us all beat.