Caracas Arepas Bar | 93 East 7th Street (Bet. 1st Ave. & Ave. A) | 212.529.2314 |

I'LL ALWAYS ARGUE THAT I don't have a "best" category when it comes to anything that has to do with food. No "best" burger, no "best" restaurant, no "best" new chef, etc. Firstly, I personally think it is an impossible honor to bestow upon a particular "thing" while ignoring so many other intangible parameters that come into play, such as time of day, my particular mood at the time, the level of service, the company I'm with, etc. Secondly, my dad—a lifelong chef who is largely responsible for my present love of food—might get a little insulted!

I do, however, have "favorites", which do encompass all of those metrics. And my favorite restaurant is a literally little place called Caracas Arepa Bar located downtown from me in the ever-expanding, foodie popular neighborhood of Manhattan's Lower East Side.

First inspired by one of Bobby Flay's Throwdown TV shows, I convinced my 10+-year long foodie partner, (we call her) Trixie, to try it with me several months back. She, like myself, loves to discover and experience the cuisines of other cultures and try new staples, and the appeal of an exotically indigenous sandwich of a homemade corn cake stuffed with fresh vegetables and herbs and any options of beef, pork, chicken, or shrimp was a little too delightfully heady to pass up.

We've enjoyed it since the first time we've eaten there (reviews in general have been very positive, although some, including my good PHUDE-ie friend, Marcy, whose opinion I hold in high regard, wasn't nearly as impressed!), and make it a point to eat there together at least twice a year. More, if possible.

Part of Caracas' appeal, beyond the food, is its humble space, it's lack of "overhype", its intimate coziness (friendly conversations with patrons at nearby tables easily occur, although Trix thinks that's just me), its very attentive staff when it's not too busy.

This easily and quickly became our go-to spot, where getting together wasn't so much about the food as it was about the experience, and many of my "favorite" places may very well not have the "best" food (although Trixie and I agree that their tostones are singularly our "favorite" things we ate the whole year!), but they do provide me with the best experiences, and, consequentially, the best memories.

This particular visit offered us our usual great time. Sometimes, though, with good company, you get caught up in the conversation. Which is why after my initial photos, once the food we ordered arrived, we were too caught up in dialogue and eating to snap more than the couple of actual food shots. Which is also why this post is only a "Part 1", as I am sure I will make it back to Caracas and, sunlight permitting, take a substantially greater number of photos of their yummy, freshly prepared, roundly seasoned dishes.

For just, I give you these...:

Caracas Arepa Bar

Caracas Arepa Bar

Caracas Arepa Bar

Caracas Arepa Bar

Caracas Arepa Bar

Tostones | Caracas Arepas Bar

Pollo Arepa | Caracas Arepas Bar

Caracas is the kind of lo-fi restaurant that makes me feel at my most comfortable when I'm there. Much of the Lower East Side's new restaurants possess that charm. Places like Black Iron Burger Shop, Porchetta, and Wechsler's Currywurst might actually benefit not just from low expectations but no expectations; most of these places opened to absolutely no fanfare, and have been quietly discovered and word-of-mouthed like low-budget, independent movie that eventually attains crossover mainstream appeal.

Or just like the way Trixie likewise prefers my "independent"-style, nuanced low-key character traits over my more popular, "mainstream", outgoing personality.

Which is why, although I don't claim to have a "best" friend, Trixie is one of my favorite friends...!

Bun Apple Tea!


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Caracas Arepas Bar | 93 East 7th Street (Bet. 1st Ave. & Ave. A) | 212.529.2314 |