Monday, May 31, 2010
Brian spent two years living in Venezuela and fell in love with two things: the band Los Amigos Invisibles and the food. Lucky for him, the band tours to the US a lot and he found the best Venezuelan food restaurant in our neighboring Santa Ana, Mil Jugos. He first took me there when we were first dating, and I'll admit I was a bit sketchy about it. I didn't know anything about Venezuelan food, and had no idea what they cooked down there. But I was pleasantly surprised! I loved it. The restaurant is small and doesn't have a lot of evening hours so we don't make it over there very often, but I for sure wanted to go back. (We just went on Saturday, hence the post.)
Brian orders the national dish called Pabellon, which is not on the menu, but you can ask for it. Pabellon comes with white rice, black beans, slow cooked shredded beef, fried plantains, and an arepa. Of course the beef and beans aren't like ours, they do stuff to them, I don't know what though! And Brian sprinkles sugar on his beans, apparently that's how they do it down there. An arepa is a flat bread made with cornmeal. You can eat it alongside your meal, or you can order an arepa stuffed with chicken, beef, or cheese. I order the arepas and absolutely love them. I think I choose the chicken over the beef though. On Saturday Brian ordered me both, but I could only eat one. They aren't very big, but super filling. Oh, and they have this amazing green sauce, guasacaca, that I douse every bite in. And just this last time we got an empanada. It was fried with chicken in it, but the bread was sweet and not overly heavy. Delicious!
The restaurant's name means 1,000 juices and they make the most amazing juice. I've only ever had the passion fruit juice, but Brian will vouch for the guava, mango, and pineapple too. The juices are mixed up with ice, so are a little thicker, but not as thick as a smoothie.
If you live in the area and looking for a little food adventure, definitely stop by. If you come visit me, I'll take you there. The lady, Nora, who owns it, and her family are so friendly. She always remembers Brian and his friends, and they love speaking to them in Spanish. (I just sit there and smile and nod.) This is really a great little place. They have other salads and sandwiches on the menu, but I'd stick close to the classic Venezuelan dishes for a true experience.