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Arepera Guacuco's Vegetarian Options Are Superb

Vegetariana arepa at Arepera Guacuco | Tara Mahadevan
Vegetariana arepa at Arepera Guacuco | Tara Mahadevan

The Veggielante is on a mission to spread the word about places to order good, meatless grub. Check out this week's pick.

Destination: Arepera Guacuco (44 Irving Avenue, 347-305-3300)

Neighborhood: Bushwick

Cuisine: Venezuelan

Overview: Bushwick's Venezuelan restaurant Arepera Guacuco is known for its arepas, a type of flatbread that is elemental to Colombia and Venezuela's culinary traditions. This spot culls influence from the latter -- owner Leonardo Molina paid homage to his roots by naming the restaurant after his hometown, Guacuco, Venezuela. Besides its arepas, which are specially prepared by Leonardo's mother, chef Carmen, Arepera Guacuco is also known for its traditional menu that includes empanadas and cocada, a coconut milkshake.

Highlights: The vegetariana arepa ($6.50) features a superb combination of slices of avocado, Venezuelan guayanes cheese, sweet plantains, and tomato; the contrast of the creamy, delicate avocado and cheese and the subtlety of the sweet plantains is particularly enjoyable.

The vegana picante ($7) is served separately from its ingredients -- you are supposed to top the arepa with the vegetables, which include sautéed mushrooms, leeks, tomatoes, jalapeños, and green and yellow peppers. Like the name suggests, this arepa is spicy and vegan, so if you're a vegan who dislikes heat, then you should order the dish sans jalapeños. By the way, all arepas here are gluten-free.

As a bonus, Arepera Guacuco has a great brunch menu that features perico, Venezuelan style scrambled eggs with ripe peppers and fresh tomatoes. The restaurant serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays until it runs out of eggs.

Vegana picante arepa at Arepera Guacuco | Tara Mahadevan
Vegana picante arepa at Arepera Guacuco | Tara Mahadevan


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