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La Taguara

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La Taguara

Postby john_titor » Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:58 pm

Go.

I have had Venezuelan once before in different part of our country. I am not a fan of corn meal things in food. The arepas I had at the other place kind of reminded me why. Mealy, soggy and too weird corn tasting. I had remembered hearing good things about La Taguara and wanted to give Venezuelan another go, but I never really had a reason to be out that way. Today, I went for lunch.

It's in that building that used to be that gyros shack (bleh, sorry) between Prime Quarter and Visions on E. Washington. I really should stop going to E. Washington, because bizarre things continue to happen to me. The parking lot was empty. I walk in expecting some quality time with me and the owner. I open the door and the place is packed. Like flash-mob packed. And weird looking people. Like 26 year old actors playing high school kids. I find a young man standing off to the side of the counter in cook's gear and ask him if I should order at the counter or take a seat. He replied "yes". I asked again , this time with hand motions and with averted eyes he again said "yes". All I really know anymore of spanish is swear words, and none that came to mind seemed like they would have helped. I did try to think of seat but all I got was lo siento.

The owner quickly and cheerfully greeted me. The place was slammed, but he was still a pro. He took the time to explain a few things and was good to offer suggestions. I got the

Arepa Lunch
An arepa with one filling of your choice and soup of the day or side salad. 6.99

Hot bun made of ground white corn with a crispy shell and soft doughy inside with filling of your choice: cheddar cheese, white cheese, Ham, shredded chicken, shredded beef, pernil (pork roast), ground beef, black beans, picadillo salad, shredded eggplant, potato chicken salad. Served with a side of guasacaca


He pointed me to the shredded beef and I went with the soup. The soup was good, had chunks of tender meat, a variety of veggies including corn in what seemed to be a vegetable broth.

Even though the place was packed, my food came out quick. I got a cup of water from the soda machine and it did not taste like plastic ass, it actually tasted like good water. A first!

The arepa itself was great. A lot lighter and not corn meal bland dense gummy like the only other time in my life I have tried it. The guasacaca was good, but not really needed. Lots of flavor to the beef and toppings. The seasonings familiar yet pleasingly new (to me) at the same time. I did not detect any heat, but my nose was running a little bit. So maybe they have a little something in there or it was the 70's. Not spicy hot regardless. The arepas are deceptive due to their small size. I was satisfied with a fair amount left. I would order again.

It was loud, but in a positive way.

As I left I saw a school bus parked down the street. Mystery solved. And maybe MATC students. East Wash is safe again.

Ms. Falkenstein's review: http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/artic ... icle=40900

Their website: http://www.lataguara-madison.com/menu.html
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Re: La Taguara

Postby minicat » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:29 am

Emphatically seconded. The arepas are great. And get the yuca fries.
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Re: La Taguara

Postby lukpac » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:45 pm

Had lunch at the downtown location (Cardinal coatroom/formerly Cortadito Express) today. Our group of 8 or 9 seemed to overwhelm them a bit, but otherwise it was great. I got an arepa with chicken and some sort of chicken soup. The chicken filling was tasty and the arepa itself was nice and crispy. The soup was good too, other than being lava hot when I got it.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I'd definitely go back.
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Re: La Taguara

Postby Tsur » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:33 pm

Fantastic food.

I'd never before eaten Venezuelan food, so many of the flavors were novel to me. Asking if we'd ever eaten there, Jekel (sp?) the owner, took the time to give us a rundown of the menu. The guy was super-friendly.

We ordered:
Yuka frita
Crispy and fun. I've had Yuka fries before. These are cut thick and stacked like a Jenga tower. The fries themselves were fine, but the accompanying guasacaca sauce was wonderful. Entirely different and more vinegary than standard guacamole and completely new to me. I loved it.

Bolitas de queso
These are just fried masa cheese balls. They're great though. Again the highlight was the guasacaca. It also came with some sour cream and another garlicky white sauce that I couldn't identify.

Cachapa con Queso y Cochino Frito
We ordered the vegetarian version of this. This was my least favorite dish. I felt it was too heavy on the cheese and a little too sweet. Luckily it came with a healthy side of a sour something (eggplant and cabbage?). When eaten together it substantially cuts down on the richness and sweetness. We ate about half of the pancake, which given its size, is quite the complement.

Mojito en Coco
This dish is "last meal" quality. Despite the super generous portion and the appetizers, I gorged myself and we finished it all. The fish is minced with coconut into a brown/orange gruel or thick stew type consistency. Despite the coconut, it has only the barest hint of sweetness. I wish I could describe the flavors, but again they were new to me. The plantain chips were good. More garlicky than sweet. It came with perfectly cooked rice and lots of picadillo salad. Literally one third of the plate was covered with a salad that is slightly different than pico de gallo. I was thrilled.

Hot sauce
Jekel offered us what he called the crazy hot sauce. It was very spicy, on par with a habanero in terms of heat. But damn was it good. He only gave us a teaspoon in a plastic container and I ended up putting a drop or two on nearly every bite. Yeah, I was sweating throughout the meal but I couldn't stop. The flavor in this sauce is worth the heat. It was very smoky and thick, but nothing like chipotle adobo. He told me the name of the pepper but I promptly forgot. The sauce is yellow and slightly oily with black flecks from being roasted. He needs to bottle it and sell it for obscene amounts of money. I would gladly pay.

Go to this restaurant. The flavors and friendliness make it well worth your time and money.
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Re: La Taguara

Postby Tsur » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:51 pm

I went back for the 2nd night in a row. Lamely, I ordered the same thing - Mojito en Coco. But I honestly have no regrets. It was just as good. I can confirm that the second white sauce served with the cheese balls is some sort of cilantro/garlic cream. Have I mentioned that I really like the hot sauce?
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