>> Cariaco Venezuelan Food | Eat the World Los Angeles

Friday 22 November 2019

Cariaco Venezuelan Food


EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (20 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
The busy downtown core of Glendale between Brand and Central can seem like an area to stay away from, with malls, chains galore, and probably the longest line at any Porto's throughout the entire city. Good news has come to those that work here though, in the form of a buzzing little Venezuelan cafe that is fairly new.

Cariaco gets straight to the point, its name is the demonym for someone hailing from the capital city of Caracas, and the promise of Venezuelan food is right there in the window. The tiny space is more set up for takeout and delivery, but it is cute and a few small tables can be taken advantage of for dining in. Take a look at the menu, confer with the staff, order at the counter, and take a seat.

Unlike their Colombian brethren with simple toppings placed on top of a grilled corn cake, Venezuelan arepas can become intense with many ingredients and more comparable to a sandwich. Cariaco does an excellent job with their light and thin arepa, which is grilled nicely and split open to be stuffed.

When your order is called, a tray with your arepa will be presented with an assortment of sauces (above). Whether it be fast food dishes like arepas and patacones or plated meals, Venezuelans always seem to want to be surrounded with a variety of sauce options, and Cariaco does not disappoint in that regard.

Pabellรณn, the shredded stewed beef that can be found anywhere in Venezuela in many forms, is celebrated as the national dish. You can get a plate here that includes rice, beans, and fried plantains, but having an arepa de pabellรณn ($10.50, above) really cuts to the heart of the matter if you arrive with only one stomach. Besides the rice, the rest of the plate is all there, with healthy portions of each component stacked to give an eye-popping first impression.

It would be completely delicious to eat this without sauces, but why not go full-Cariaco and squeeze some of those bottles. A combination of the guasacaca, made green from avocado and green peppers but also full of garlic and onion, and "hot" sauces were perfect for this arepa de pabellรณn.

Wash everything down with a bottle of Maltรญn, a non-alcoholic malt drink that like almost every other beverage in Venezuela is a product of Polar.


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