Arepa y Salsa
Last week, Warren and the monkeys (Satchel, 10 and Jiro, 8) met me for lunch at Arepa y Salsa.
It is a few doors down from the Trolley Stop Market in the spot that used to house Burly's. The new owners have totally redecorated, which is a good thing. The old red and black color scheme was pretty bad. Now it's light and airy and very welcoming.
We were the only people in the restaurant at about 11:45am. A few others eventually came in, but I don't understand why this place isn't packed.
As soon as we sat down, a nice waitress took our drink orders and brought the monkeys an activity set.
The menu is pretty basic, so it doesn't take too long to figure out what to order. I'd been here for lunch before and had sampled a few things, so I gave Warren a run down on the difference between an arepa and a tostone. I didn't think the monkeys would like either, so I ordered them a hamburger to split and the UFOs as an appetizer.
It was chilly out--and a little chilly inside--so the monkeys both ordered hot chocolate despite the option of several fruity sodas.
Jiro declared it the best hot chocolate ever and gave me a sip. It really was delicious. We usually make instant at home and this definitely was not instant.
Satchel and Warren went over to the video game in the corner, which was free, and played games until the food arrived.
The UFOs came out almost right away, and we gobbled them up. Well, Warren and I did. The monkeys tried them, but weren't that into them. They are billed as fried cheese, but really don't taste super cheesy. They are good though!
Warren thought the sour cream dipping sauce was bland, so I asked for some other sauces. (They have several, all of which I had sampled them on my first visit.)
Warren and Satchel went back to the arcade and Jiro and I played tic-tac-toe at the table until the food arrived.
First up, the burger. The menu very clearly stated that it came with all sorts of toppings, and I asked that they either leave them off or put them on the side. The waitress said this was no problem, but there was a break down in communication between the table and the kitchen.
As you can see there were a few unfamiliar toppings, and frankly, Jiro got spooked.
I removed as much as I could, and then cut it in half, but neither monkey was into it. I had told Jiro that it came with fries, because I thought it did, and when he asked me where they were, the waitress overheard and said she'd be happy to bring some. (The menu doesn't actually specify that it comes with either chips or fries.)
The fries arrived a few minutes later and the monkeys were happy. (I had told them they served curly fries like at Hooter's, because on my last visit they did, but judging from personal experience and Urbanspoon photos, they change up their fry offerings quite a bit.)
So the monkeys basically had hot chocolate, chips, and fries for lunch. They were psyched. Now on to the good stuff...
I had the tostone de pabellon. Tostones use smashed and fried plantains for bread. So yummy! Inside is shredded beef, black beans, avocado, and slaw.
I was able to pick it up and eat it like a sandwich for a few bites, but eventually had to give in and use my fork. It is very filling. I gave the second one to Warren.
Warren polished off his arepa de pernil with no problems. The pernil has roasted pork inside and also came with chips.
The monkeys went back to the free video games while Warren and I finished up and paid the tab. Our total bill was $41.72. It was a bit higher than I was expecting since the monkeys shared a burger, but when I saw that the hot chocolates were $3.50 each, the mystery was solved.
Overall, I think Arepa y Salsa is just lovely. The people who work there are friendly and efficient. It's clean and inviting and the food is really tasty. I love the extras they have for the kids. I am sure that the monkeys would be happy to go back for the free video games alone.
I will most definitely be back for lunch. Not sure if I'd bring the monkeys just based on the fact that they didn't really eat anything. I hear that there is salsa dancing on the weekends and I wonder if the dinner menu is different.