Omnivore - On a Latino jag

Visits to Arepa Mia, Taqueria del Sol and Mi Barrio


I've been on something of a Latino jag this week. I'm talking three meals in a row. Today, I returned to Arepa Mia, which I wrote about last week. This week, I tried a Venezuelan cachapa, a dish I don't recall ever eating before.

It's a cornmeal pancake of sorts with a texture similar to a tamale. Owner/chef Lis Hernadez puts traditional Guayanés cheese atop the pancake along with a squirt of cilantro sauce. It was freakin' amazing. The cornmeal has a natural sweet flavor, and the cheese is slightly stringy and subtly salty like mozzarella. I added a considerable pool of a fiery pink hot sauce to the mix.

Cachapas are traditional street food in Venezuela and, according to Lis, can be topped with meats if desired. I suggest you go with friends, order an arepa each and a cachapa to share....


Three of us visited Taqueria del Sol Thursday. This week's special was a version of the wildly popular Korean tacos, best known locally because of the Yumbi food trucks. The taco blended roasted pork with ribbons of crunchy, juicy kimchi. The latter was way too mild for my taste, but a shot of hot sauce took care of that.

TDS is, by the way, hosting a "piggy bank" dinner to benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance on July 15, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Cost is $75 per person. Says the announcement:" Guest chefs are Jason Alley, owner of the acclaimed Comfort and Pasture restaurants in Richmond, Va., and David Guas, owner of Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Va., and author of 'DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth New Orleans Style."

Thursday night, I hit Mi Barrio for my usual chicken mole, while Wayne devoured a gigantic goblet of ceviche. Good all-around.

The chicken mole, I remind you, is not on the regular menu, but I've never found it unavailable. Oh, and the restaurant is screechingly friendly to kids.