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Posts from the ‘Venezuelan’ Category

Flor’s Kitchen

Every so often I wonder whether it’s worth writing about restaurants that aren’t terribly exciting, new or novel. I mean, why bother. It’s not like I have endless amounts of free time to fill (though it frequently seems that way). But my original Shovel Time mission was mission-less. I was and am keeping an online dining journal not performing a public service or breaking restaurant news or god forbid going behind the scenes of anything or unearthing gossip (which is all the rage in the mid-’00s).

Flors_empanaditasWhich brings me to Flor’s Kitchen (which just closed its East Village location—oh look, I’m being newsy). There’s nothing remarkable about it, despite being one of the few Venezuelan restaurants in the city. It’s neither offensive nor amazing in looks or taste. It’s certainly cozy enough to serve as a satisfactory date place. It was teeming with couples of all ages, races and persuasions on my Friday night visit. The prices won’t kill you either, though you could easily spend $100 for two without realizing how you racked up three digits.

Flors_cachapa_con_quesoThe only dish that I loved was the sweet and salty cachapa, a paisa cheese covered corn pancake that takes fifteen minutes to prepare. Our mixed filling empanaditas were fine enough (the garnish looked a little sad), the dipping sauce, which tasted like a thicker homemade Sriracha, was a stand out.

Flors_pabellon_criolloPart of the problem is my ambivalence towards rice and beans with stewed meats. I can’t generally get worked up over the Latin American mainstay, which isn’t to say I haven’t had good renditions. Is that blasphemy? You could enjoy Japanese food without adoring rice, fish and soy sauce, but it might be counter productive. I ate most of my pabellón criollo and it wasn't disappointing. I probably should’ve tried an arepa but thought that might be overkill with the cachapa.

I’d be curious to hear what a Venezuelan food lover thinks of Flor’s. Trendier Caracas Arepa Bar gets more press but that only means so much.

Flor’s Kitchen * 170 Waverly Pl., New York, NY


Pasita_interior I’ve never liked the sound of wine bars, even though I enjoy wine accompanied by snacks. There’s something about the concept that makes me think modern fern bar. I wonder why has no one revived that style (I suppose some TGI Friday’s are still rocking it) We skipped right over the ‘70s, are still hesitant about the ‘90s and can’t seem to progress beyond the decade in the middle.

Anyway, I wouldn’t necessarily call Pasita a wine bar though they do refer to themselves as such. They have a concise list of Spanish, Portuguese and South American wines but the food is equally interesting. It’s hard to ignore the wood-fired pizza oven in the room and almost everyone was partaking in the 12” pies.

Pasita_mushroom_pizzaI couldn’t help but notice that the three women sitting next to us were sharing one. Bah, my friend Sherri and I each got our own and finished them no problem. One champiñon: roasted mushroom, artichoke hearts, caramelized onions, ricotta salata and mozzarella, and one queso y queso: mozzarella, queso de nata (a creamy Cantabrian cheese), parmesan, goat cheese and rosemary. We also split a salad with mango slices and roasted grapefruit, which was mildly girlie. I know that if I had been out with James we would’ve ended up with something fried and starchy in addition to the pizzas. It’s best that I dine with others now and then.

Pasita_gelatoWith a bottle of Zolo Malbec from Mendoza, we had plenty so I didn’t delve into the Venezuelan tapas. And because I have a suspicious nature I wondered if pasapalos were really just an invention to cash in on diners’ seemingly endless desire for small plates, but they do seem to be a real thing, though possibly less sophisticated than those on offer at Pasita.

We finished with glasses of a sweet dessert merlot and shared some Il Laboratorio gelato. I thought we were going to get a single scoop of honey lavender, but we were brought all three options, including icy orbs of chocolate and cinnamon too. Viva excess.

Pasita * 47 Eighth Ave., New York, NY