I had my first arepa back in 2010 from Solber Pupusas at the Brooklyn Flea and since then…I literally eat nothing BUT their arepas when I visit (seriously, I’ve never had any other savory item there). So when my foodman partner in crime, Rev, suggested Arepera Guacuco in Bushwick… I put it on the list for a visit asap!
I had never been to Bushwick before and was thrilled that my girl Sarah Shaker was game for a trip. The farthest I’ve been on the L is Lorimer and emerging from the Jefferson Stop to a place that seemed to be so far out of the city and my comfort zone (for the record it’s neither) was a nice little adventure.
For those not familiar with arepas or Arepera Guacuco…..arepera means a place that sells arepas (lightly fried corn patties filled with cheese, veggies or meat), and guacuco is apparently the name of a beach in Venezuela where the owner was born. It should be called Arepera Muy Delicioso but that will be just have to be my little name for the place.
They have a large variety of dishes on the menu like pernil, empanadas, and pabellon but I came here solely to try their arepas for my first visit. They have over a dozen different arepas and they are all made fresh to order…like so fresh that you watch the guy portion out the corn “dough” and begin making your meal! It takes a little longer but who cares that our quick-lunch lasted an hour and a half because we needed ample time to savor and finish our arepas.
I was told by Rev that one arepa is too little but two arepas are just enough for each person so Sarah and I chose four arepas to share. So we ordered the pernil (juicy pork shoulder with cheddar cheese and spices), and the jamon con queso (grilled ham and white paisa cheese), pabellon (shredded beef, plaintains, black beans and salty cheese) and the vegana picante (mushrooms, leeks, tomatoes, jalapenos and red/yellow peppers) which seemed like a good sampling of their goods.
Soon after ordering the girl next to us received a heavenly sight….. a creamy white milkshake looking thing topped with a maraschino cherry that made Shaker and I do a double take. After finding out what it was (a Cocada, which they describe as an amazing coconut shake on their menu), we ordered one to share immediately. Their description is no lie…..this shake was unbelievable. I’m gonna have to call them and find out what is in it again so I can make at home because all I remember is coconut, cinnamon, and condensed milk but there were definitely more ingredients.
But back to their namesake dish….these arepas were unlike anything I have had before. The first thing you will notice is the weight of each arepa (nearly 1 lb I swear) and how stuffed they were. The second thing is the arepa… it’s different. See, instead of having the meats/veggies/cheese fully encased by the corn patty, the patty was split like a pita and stuffed with the fillings. I don’t care how you make an arepa….the way I knew before or the way Arepera Guacuco does, all I care about is that they taste delicious and omg these arepas were.
Do yourself a favor…. hop on the L and take a fifteen minute train ride to Arepera Guacuco. My friend Rev said the arepas (specifically the pabellon) made him cry and while I didn’t shed a tear I was on cloud nine after eating here. Don’t just run….sprint to Arepera Guacuco as soon as possible for an afternoon or evening dining epiphany.
44 Irving Avenue (at Troutman Street) *Bushwick