Somehow I have stumbled onto Valencia's competitor by sheer luck. (I spotted Tropichicken's "Pollo Asado" sign from the car last week and made a note to check it out later.)
More arepas at Tropichicken! These were delicious, too. I got two very generously stuffed arepas today: one with shredded chicken (and a cilantro sauce on the sauce). The second arepa was pernil ("fresh ham" on the menu...tasted like very good roast pork). I loved the shredded chicken sandwich, especially with the cilantro dressing on it. The pernil came with lettuce, tomato, and a Thousand Island type of dressing already on it.
But my personal first for the day was a hallaquita, which I *think* must be a small version of a hallaca, the Venezuelan tamale. At Tropichicken, they're called hallaquitas de chicharron. The Venezuelan owner (chef? boss?) told me that they grind pork really fine--you can't see it--and mix it with masa (and other stuff, I'm sure). Then they're wrapped in plantain leaves, tied up, and boiled--as far as I could figure.
Hallaquitas are quite savory and delicious: almost like a corn pudding.
The counter service was very friendly; the woman cooking and taking orders is from Guatemala.
I definitely will return to Tropichicken, too. Cheerful, brightly colored cafe with a few tables, Goya sodas, empanadas, hamburgers, ceviche, etc. And pollo asado (roast chicken), which I'll try next time.
As compared to Valencia, I'll have to think about it a bit and post more later. Tropichicken wins the Generous Amount of Stuffing Award today, though. Two arepas and one hallaquita was more than I could eat. Well, almost more than I could eat.
75 Main Street