I believe it was 2005 when I had my first arepa in New York City. My brother David, who lives on the Upper West Side, is a hardcore foodie and when my son and I visit there, we always are taken on a full day, fun filled, food excursion. On this one particular day in 2005, one of our stops included Caracas Arepa Bar. My first arepa was El Pabellon (shredded beef, fried plantains, black beans and dry white cheese) - along with a killer homemade hot sauce that they have on all of the tables. Nick, my son, had the reina pepiada arepa (shredded chicken & avocado - served cold like a chicken salad). He and I were hooked. Since then, I have been obsessed with arepas and determined to find an authentic someone to teach me the proper way of making these pockets of delight.
To this day, el pabellon remains my favorite arepa and my son still favors the reina pepiada. We visit the Caracas Arepa Bar every time we are in NYC. In the interim of then and now, I have learned how to make the arepa, both of our favorite fillings AND I have created my own hot sauce, since after 10 years of (practically) begging for the recipe for the hot sauce at Caracas, they still won't share the recipe with me or anyone, for that matter.
Do you have an arepa story? Please share it with us! All of the photos here are my photos of arepas that I have made. Food is fun!!!