Arepas -- treats from Venezuela 

Downtown's dining scene grows even more global with the arrival of a Venezuelan eatery, the Rica Arepa Cafe (2406 E. Robinson St., 898-6663). It's a hole-in-the-wall kind of place, but homey and cute. There are a couple of seats at the counter and one table by the window.

The menu mainly offers arepas, a Venezuelan version of the taco. Choose from a dozen or so varieties of these corn-cake pockets, stuffed with whatever you like -- pork, chicken and avocado, black beans and fried plantains, even shark meat -- all priced at about $2.50, for a cheap, quick meal.

They also have Cuban sandwiches ($3.85) and specials, but don't miss the cachapas ($2.50) , sweet corn pancakes topped with melted cheese. Have one with the passion fruit shake ($1.50) or a good, stiff cup of cafe con leche (65 cents).

Speaking of On The Side


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