Boston >Viva Mi Arepa
follow the BostonGuru to VMA.
There are some telltale signs that the place you’re going to eat at has great food. Here’s the thing: location is key. If you have a restaurant that has been around a while despite it’s crappy location, odds are it’s great food. It should also not look cool. Now think about it, if the place is operating in a crappy location and it doesn’t look very nice, how could it possibly still be in business? They must have damn good food because there’s no other reason why anyone would go there. A couple more indicators of great food are that the place is “cash only” and is frequented by regulars. Paying by cash can be inconvenient, and if people repeatedly show up willing to deal with inconvenience, the food must be good.
Now it’s time to be a detective. Walk in and listen for accents; this will improve your chances of getting the real deal, not some Americanized garbage. I want the food made like it is back in the home country (wherever that may be). Try to figure out if most of the people working there are family. Chances are they care more about the product they’re putting out.
A pleasant by-product of the small, poorly decorated, family operated restaurant with a bad location is that cheap rent and cheap labor yields cheap quality food for us.
So The Guru’s ideal food experience goes a little like this:
I walk into a little place on a side street with a lousy sign out front. At the counter the man speaking in a thick accent says, “Hello my friend.” He tells me to try something that I can’t pronounce then yells at his kid in the back to get cooking. He totals up my order and says, “Cash only.” Nirvana.
This leads me to a restaurant called Viva Mi Arepa, located in the hot bed of fine ethnic dining (not really)-- West Roxbury. There are many tasty items to eat VMA so make a couple trips. As far as I can tell, the owner and his daughter cook there. How everyone else is related to one another continues to remain a mystery. He makes different things on different days so you’ll have to return and explore a little bit.
But let’s stay focused. You go there for one thing, especially if you’re only going once: a deep-fried arepa. They come grilled too, but why when you can have deep-fried? Do what it takes to get there and eat one. It’s a cornbread pocket (made from scratch on site) that is stuffed with meat. You can get chicken, beef, pork (my fav), ham and cheese (surprisingly good), tuna salad, and as a friend tells me, chicken salad, (however that’s not listed on the menu). On your second trip try a Cachapa, I get it with just cheese but they come with other fillings; the fresh corn taste makes for a sweet and savory mix that is delightful.
read the entire post at: www.bostonguru.blogspot
Editorial Review. Arepas and empanadas introduce Venezuelan cuisine to West Roxbury.
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