Lunch today was a fun place in Avondale Estates, Georgia. Arepa Mia was beyond my wildest expectations. Talk about an Unexpected Discovery!!! Well, this was the ONE for today! Such a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful place to eat. Did I mention yet that it was wonderful? It’s a 100% gluten-free facility. Just a celiac’s dream come true.
Arepas are delicious grilled patties made with cornmeal flour. I have enjoyed arepas before while in Miami and just absolutely love them! And the fact that they are gluten-free makes them one of my comfort foods. Arepa Mia is a taste of international cuisine right in this small town.
The menu at Arepa Mia is so extensive. Just look at this lovely Avocado & Heart of Palm Salad with pickled red onion. Such a delicious flavor. So be sure to start with a salad to begin this delightful dining experience.
Now let’s move on to the next yummy dish. This is an arepa stuffed with a fried chicken breast (YES! I said fried!), tomato, lettuce, avocado, Thai chili sauce, cilantro sauce, and a fried egg on top. Oh my goodness. The chili sauce is just the right amount of pow! Not too much. Just perfect. The fried chicken coating is made from fried yuca and fried green plantain chips, each ground very fine. I loved this menu item. The owner suggests keeping the wrapper on while you eat. Less messy that way! Honestly, I had to resort to a fork and knife. Lets see what’s next……
A new item to be included on the menu, Yuca Frita. These fries are made from the yucca plant. They are first boiled to soften up some and then fried. The yuca plant is a root vegetable. Guasacaca sauce (cilantro, parsley, avocado, and other ingredients) is served on the side. It’s delicious!!
My friend decided to get the arepa la pelua which is another delicious arepa stuffed with shredded grass-fed beef, caramelized onions and peppers, tomatoes, cheese, and their delicious cilantro sauce. Just another phenomenal arepa. Most of the ingredients are hidden behind the cheese, but it’s all in there and my friend ate every single bite because it was just soooooo tasty! And there’s still more…….
For this particular photo, I literally ran outside after I saw it delivered to a man dining outside. I bothered him as he was just cutting into the pancake! Doesn’t it look so great and fresh? It’s the cachapas pernil. A traditional Venezuelan dish made with a corn dough pancake that is both sweet and salty. This one is served with a 12-hour roasted Riverview Farms Pork cooked in a mayo sauce with caramelized onion, cilantro sauce, guayanés cheese and topped off with a fried egg. Looks fabulous! In fact, the nice gentleman waiting to eat it, because I am busy taking a picture of it, told me to go ahead and take a bite! I didn’t! But was so tempted! People are so nice!!
Okay, back inside to what is waiting for me! It is also a corn dough pancake, but a cachapas pabellon which is topped with shredded grass-fed beef, fried sweet plantains, organic black beans, queso de año, and cilantro sauce. The sweetness from the plantains was such a welcomed sweetness. I just can’t get enough of sweet plantains though! Speaking of sweet plantains……..
These sweet plantains were perfect!!! This is one of my favorite foods. They are called tajadas con nata. The nata is the sweet sauce that comes on the side. I think I could eat these with every meal at home. So yummy!
Arepa Mia has a cozy inside dining room and a nice spacious outdoor seating area as well. Everything is nice and clean and the staff is very attentive. Angie, the Manager, was so gracious to help me figure out what to order to you all could see a nice variety of menu items. Check out the Atlanta Magazine on the counter, Best of Atlanta 2017, Arepa Mia! Such a compliment for them.
Lis Hernandez, the owner, had simple beginnings as a young girl helping her mom shop for ingredients, cooking arepas at home, and then selling them at an arepa stand on the streets in Venezuela. When I spoke with Lis she told me when she arrived in Atlanta, she began making arepas and sold them at the Underground Atlanta market once a month. The crowds were huge and constant for Lis as people would stand in line for 1-2 hours waiting for her delicious arepas. She was so appreciative of the support she received from all of these people. Her passion for cooking continued, so she decided to open the first restaurant Sweet Auburn Market on Edgewood Avenue in Atlanta in May 2012. Her other Arepa Mia restaurant was first located in Decatur for 3 years and moved to the present location in Avondale Estates 7 months ago. Her business is booming, and no wonder why! Everything we tasted today was just so delicious and all of the customers were raving about their food before they left. All of the ingredients are made fresh at each location. Lis has worked so hard from a young girl to now as a woman. Her mother instilled in Lis such an incredible work ethic and a sense of pride. Thanks for working so hard Lis. You are really providing such a service for us Celiacs and enhancing the communities you have settled in. I cannot wait to go back and try yet another something fabulous on the menu!