The Cherry Creek Farmer’s market is buzzing this morning – tons of fresh produce (late summer Colorado peaches!) and the street food vendors are out in force! I couldn’t resist a Bricklayer (or two) from Pinche Tacos – eggs and cheese and their fantastic salsa verde – but also found room to follow that up with my first arepa from El Caribe. It will not be my last. In fact, I may go back to the City Park Farmer’s Market tomorrow to grab more! If you haven’t had an arepa, you should join me there!
Arepas are common fare in Venezuela (where Igor, one of the proprietors, grew up) and Columbia – and is similar to a papusa. It’s a gluten free slab of masa, grilled up til it’s light and fluffy on the inside and just crispy on the outside. The folks at El Caribe use that simple foundation as a delivery device for some seriously tasty stuff. I got their popular vegan arepa which is stuffed with plantains, black beans, and avocado, and at the suggestion of one of the owners, Beckie, got it slathered with their incredible Guasacaca sauce – a Venezuealan topping for arepas made from avocado, cilantro, and olive oil. The sign above their booth states simply, “Trust us, you want some.” Totally. They should bottle this shit.
Other fillings include ham and cheese, shredded chicken, beef, and smoked salmon (!!), which, according to a passerby I talked to, was incredible. I bought some of the cornmeal they use to make their arepas, and am going to try my hand at it (I’m thinking a breakfast arepa with eggs, potatoes, and salsa verde?!), but doubt I’ll achieve Igor’s mastery of these things any time soon, so, no worries. I’ll be back again and again!
All with a super local flair
I took a few minutes to bend Beckie’s ear about their business model, and they’re going as local as they can. A few of the items are obvious imports (a special cornmeal, plantains, avocados), so to balance that out, they get much of the rest of their stuff through local farms and ranches. Their beef comes from Colorado Springs, the ‘shrooms from Alamosa, the cheese from Brush, CO. You get the picture.
Also, Beckie said they’d be at the Tiri’s Garden Market at 15th and California starting this coming week on Thursdays. Not sure if that will interfere with their regular gig at Denver Urban Homesteading, so you may want to check in on their twitter feed before making the trip down! And a bonus about their twitter feed: they announce a discount catchphrase via twitter and Facebook before heading out. Use it, and you get a buck off your already reasonably priced arepa!