Saturday, February 14, 2009

Arepas + Cupcakes (and other desserts) = LOVE

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! It's only fitting that today's entry talks about one of my greatest loves: cupcakes. But first, let me share my first ever arepas experience. I met Yong and Ang last night for dinner at Caracas Arepas Bar. Fortunately, we had arrived earlier enough before the Friday night dinner crowd arrived. The restaurant is narrow and rectangular so seating is pretty limited. There's also a to-go place right next door.

If you've never had an arepa, go find your local arepas bar and try one! Or better yet, come visit me in NY and I'll take you. :) They're delicious soft, round corn pockets filled with various meats, cheeses and veggies. One is not enough for a normal appetite so we ordered the La Popular Combination and an individual one each. Also got a side of yoyos.

Yoyos are fried sweet plantains filled with white cheese. They came out warm and gooey with a crispy crunch. It was accompanied by a sweet dipping sauce...not sure what kind it was. So yummy!

I ordered the chorizo and chicken arepas with a spicy chimi-churi sauce. There was a bottle of mystery sauce on the table which I slathered my arepa with. It was pretty tasty but I liked some of the other fillings better.

Yong ordered the roasted pork shoulder with spicy mango sauce. I really liked this one because the filling was juicy and tender, which makes for really messing eating. Not a first date type of meal!

Ang ordered a grilled eggplant arepa filled with a bunch of other veggies. She wanted something not spicy, but this one turned out to be spicy! I really liked the smoky, spicy filling.

Then the combination plate came out. I don't remember exactly what the fillings were but the arepa at the top of the picture had black beans, jalapenos and white cheese, the second one had chicken and avocado salad mix and the last one had shredded beef, beans and white cheese. The shredded beef was delicious and my favorite of all three.

I wanted to try Butter Lane, which is nearby so we headed over after dinner. Cute signage out front. They got it right though! Cupcakes = LOVE.

Don't they look so cute and perfect?? There's only a handful of cupcake flavors, but they let you taste the frostings first so you can mix and match cupcake and frosting. Pretty cool idea.

I chose a chocolate cupcake with blueberry icing. The icing was sugary in texture, but not overly sweet. I prefer a richer, more buttery frosting. The cake was moist, but not as chocolatey as I would like. It was a yummy cupcake, but Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery in LES still holds the biggest place in my heart.

Turns out Yong and Ang didn't want cupcakes so after I got my cupcake, we walked over to Veniero's. Yong ordered chocolate velvet cake...side note, isn't velvet cake already chocolate? We were curious and found out it's just chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. Ang was crazy and decided she wanted ice cream even though it was 30 degrees outside. She ordered the tartufo which was vanilla and amaretto gelato covered with a chocolate shell...basically a giant bon bon.

Restaurants mentioned:
Caracas Arepa Bar
93 1/2 7th St.
New York, NY 10009

Butter Lane
123 E. 7th St.
New York, NY 10009

Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery
126 Rivington St.
New York, NY 10002

Veniero's Pastry Shop
342 E. 11th St.
New York, NY 10003

1 comment: