A friend alerted me to a new Venezuelan food truck, Pilón Kitchen, at the Sunday morning farmers market in Windsor (Sonoma County). Last week I made a point to get over there to try it.
Pilon Kitchen got its start catering weddings, winery open houses and corporate events. Recently it added the truck's mobile kitchen and serves at farmers markets in Ukiah and Santa Rosa as well as Windsor.
I was dubious when I saw that arepas were $8 on the menu. However, turns out that Pilon makes them on the plancha rather than in an iron so they are bigger in size and toastier. The Pabellón Arepa was filled with black beans, fresh cheese, pabellón beef stew, and highlighted with a marvelous green sauce. The white corn flour arepa was delicately crisp on the surface and tender inside. One is plenty for lunch.
A Venezuelan snack new to me was Grandma's Tequeño. Thin phyllo-like pastry wrapped around white cheese and fried to crackly crisp, what's not to like? And more of the wonderful green sauce. The herbal sauce is only faintly piquant, mostly it's a robust and savory, flavor bomb.
I was offered a taste of Chicha Venezolana, basically a liquid version of arroz con leche. Milkier, thicker and sweeter than Mexican horchata, I'd consider this dessert rather than a beverage.
Besides arepas and tequeños, Pilon also offers empanadas. I asked if it makes hallacas (similar to tamales) and it has sold them at Christmas time. I put in a special request to add Arepas Reina Pepiada to the menu. The gentleman said that they were considering it. Then the lady asked, "Do you think that Americans would like reina pepiada?" I answered, "Yes, of course, because everyone is crazy about avocados now. And more people eat chicken than beef." So perhaps we will see my favorite type of arepa soon.
Here's what the Pilon Kitchen mobile version looks like. Get excited when you spot it and prepare yourself for something special. Pilon Kitchen uses Square, so you can pay with a credit card. Prices already include sales tax.