I had forwarded Jim's NPR interview with his visit to the arepa lady to a Venezuelan friend who had promised to teach me how to make the arepas he grew up with. Here's his response.
I was talking to a friend in Miami about the New York "arepas" and he
thought they were not the Venezuelan "arepas", but something Venezuelans
call "cachapas". I think we need to go to Miami or Caracas to get the
'The Colombian arepa is a pretty big thing around here (tons of Colombians),
but the Venezuelan arepa is beginning to proliferate. There is a chain
called Don Pan, franchised by Venezuelans, that is sprouting up everywhere.
I was able to get my Pan de Jamon at Christmas, and they have an arepa
bar where you point at your ingredients (reina pepiada, etc.) and it
is stuffed into your arepa. In typical Venezuelan fashion, they ask
you for your ticket when you order- if you didn't buy one first, you
need to go back to the cash register, then start over. They also have
batidos de fruta, cachitos, and standard bakery fare. Highly recommended
for the exiled Venezuelan. There are probably a dozen of them now in
Miami, so if you are ever in the neighborhood, be sure to stop in at