Sunday, February 24, 2008

Men and comida

In the casual stage, dating is straightforward in Venezuela—no pointless games, no ooh, well, maybe, I’m not sure if I like you, because Venezuelan men are clear about that. They’re also very skilled in the art of flattery. A local writer sums it up well in saying that the role of women in Venezuela is “symbolically elevated to the peak of human experience. Women are celebrated as queens and goddesses.”

Venezolanos are also pretty good about things like opening doors, making sure the woman walks onto the elevator/small sidewalk space first, and (get ready to cringe all you egalitarian daters!)—paying for dinner.


The restaurant near the place I’m staying makes milkshakes so divino I inhale them in a single sip, before they even have time to put the salsas on my sandwich. They also have delicious arepas (thick corn meal patties) that can be turned into massive pockets for avocado, steak, tomatoes, and cheese (just a suggestion), or simply served warm with butter. Or shrimp and avocado. Or melted white cheese. Or fried plantains with sauteed onions and steak.

My other favorite thing about eating in Venezuela is that everyone asks, “What fresh juices do you have?” before ordering anything. The response sounds like the waiter recently surveyed the shoreline of a tropical island: parchita (passion fruit), papaya, mango, piña (pineapple), naranja (orange), fresas (strawberries), limón (lemon), mora azul (blueberry), melocotón (peach), sandia (watermelon), pomelo (grapefruit), melón (cantaloupe), pera (pear), and uva (grape). I also inhale these before my food arrives.

My other favorite thing about Venezuelan food is pabellón criollo, which is rice, black beans, shredded beef, tajadas (fried plantain slices), and sometimes avocado or egg served all together. I’m not a food writer, so I’m not going to try to describe it, but please know that if you ever set foot in Venezuela, your first priority should be to find a place that will serve you this dish.

1 comment: said...

July: I MUST sample that cuisine!