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