Day 32: Venezuela
After spending a hearty chunk of the day at the Lithuania Fair yesterday, followed by cooking dinner at home for the first time in a good week or so, I’m up for a simple Sunday afternoon. GirlfriendBites and I decide to take the short jaunt up to Beverly Hills for Venezuelan coffee and arepas at Coupa Café. A coffee shop in an upscale neighborhood may not the perfect setting for a meal of crispy corn dough stuffed with various meats and/or cheeses, nor are mesclun greens the ideal side, but on a day like today it seems like it should suit our needs just fine.
We park a few blocks away and enjoy a short walk with nice weather, sit down and order some caffeine. GirlfriendBites has the light, smooth Venezuelan latte called café Caracas and I opt for the more masculine, aggressive version, marrón. I don’t often drink coffee, since heartburn has been an on-and-off concern for me over the years and I’d rather cut out coffee beans than hot chiles, so this stuff is sure to keep me buzzing for the rest of the day. The arepas are made to order here, meaning it takes about fifteen minutes before my carne machada (stewed beef) and GFB’s queso bianco (white cheese) arrive. The outside is nice and crispy and the warm, stewed beef is tender and savory enough to make for a hard-to-mess-up combination. The queso bianco, which is also filled with nata, a Venezuelan sour cream, is notably less successful. The cheese being very mild and cold makes for a bipolar eating experience with the hot, crunchy exterior, but dotting it with red hot sauce seems to help it along. GFB points out that by the time she gets to the bottom, the cheese has warmed and the experience is much more pleasant. We both agree that, whether or not it’s traditional, there’s an opportunity here for one hell of a South American grilled cheese sandwich which was missed out on. The greens on the side, meanwhile, come with an unnecessarily rich and creamy dressing.
In the end, the meal served its purpose and was right on the mark with our expectations in the first place. I got to spend a pleasant day out with a wonderful woman, taking short breaks while she texted romantic gossip back and fourth with her friends, ingested my drugs in caffeine form and got to take it a little easy. I’m temping at a television studio all week, so a casual end to my forty-day-weekend seems appropriate. This whole food thing has been a good ride so far and I want to make sure I keep enjoying it.
419 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Food Breakdown: 2 non-alcoholic beverages, 2 small entrees
Distance From My House: 4.3 miles