-Grubbing in ChicagoColombian Food Takes Off
There's been chatter about 2017 being a down year for food in Chicago. Not when it comes to the mom and pop spots. There's never a down year for them as there's always something both new and delicious for those willing to find it. Take Arepa George for example. It sits on Kedzie just south of North avenue across the street from Humbolt Park. When I first saw it I knew I would be stopping by.
Newly Opened in Humboldt Park
My first visit in was for some empanadas and those would seal the deal for me as far as a return visit goes. These are currently my favorite empanadas in Chicago. Colombian empanadas are traditionally made by filling little pockets of dough with meat (chicken / beef) and securing them before frying. They tend to be small and are great for a quick snack. What I love about Arepa George's empanadas aside from the fact the fillings are delicious is the practice of frying them to order. You wont see these sitting in a display case ready to be ate. I love the option with shredded beef and mashed potatoes.
Empanadas at Arepa George
The young guy behind this place is a very welcoming host. So much so he's given me samples of fresh juices they make and I'm telling you they're great. Colombians have long been known to be as serious about fresh squeezed fruit juice as anyone. After a couple trips in for those empanadas I decided I had to try something else. After all everything I saw the older Colombian lady cooking in the open air kitchen looked about as comforting as food can come. Which is how I would describe this wonderful lunch special consisting of rice mixed with a tomato creole sauce and sausage which was really just cheap Oscar Meyer style wieners. Sound gross? Nope! They worked great in this dish.
Humboldt Park Lunch Special
Then there's the arepas. That's what's in their name so I made sure to try one of them before throwing a review up. Colombian Arepas are similar to their empanadas in that they're made with similar ingredients however they differ from Venezuelan style arepas. Some say the Colombian Arepa is lacking in flavor if you dont put good ingredients inside of it. They say the Colombian arepa is more about texture than flavor when compared to it's Venezuelan counterpart. Typically arepas are a breakfast snack in Colombia and eaten at night in Venezuela. I'm no expert but this was as good of an arepa as I've ate to date. It was a wonderful combination of shredded beef with melted cheese and creole tomato sauce inside an arepa that was crunchy on the outside and soft inside. I thought this was a flavor profile only available to me when I go to South Florida so this is a big find in my mind.
Colombian Arepa at Arepa George
1552 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60651