Caraquena

dieselboi

Location: 8327 N Denver St.
[Location updated June 2011]

Description:

Caraquena is the newest cart on the scene, only 4 days old.  On the side of the cart and on the menu, Caraquena is listed as Michelle’s Amazing Venezuelan Kitchen and today I enjoyed the first of what I believe will be amazing lunches.

I’m not sure I can describe what Venezuelan food is, so I won’t try.  I suggest you go peruse the menu and head on down with your questions.  What I do know is that Michelle makes her signature dishes from scratch.  When I arrived around 12:40, you could tell she had been busy and she confirmed that.  I wasn’t sure what to order from the pretty sizable menu, so she started describing items and making recommendations.  She offered up empanadas and or arepas, describing the differences.  I opted for Arepas which turned out to be sandwich like instead of a pocket like the empanada.  They have an arepa special that gets you 2 arepas and 2 sides.  While I stood around chatting with another patron, Michelle began to prepare my meal.  She pulled out a Tupperware container of dough that she kneaded into a ball to make the arepa corn flour patty.  Right there, she made it.  I was floored.  She then moved on to her cutting board to pound out freshly cut sweet plantains for plantain chips – just for me.  I felt so special.  The meal I ate consisted of 2 arepas – one of chicken and one of pork along with black beans and plantain chips with her signature sauces.

Arepa Especial

Arepa Especial

The food was excellent.  Flavorful and a plenty.  There was a lot there, so be prepared.  I’m glad I stopped by.

As stated, Michelle has been open only 4 days and admittedly is still working out new cart kinks.  Trust me, it is worth the wait.  Welcome the neighborhood Michelle and Caraquena.

[Update June 2011: Caraquena recently reopened in the Kenton neighborhood in North Portland.]

Sample Menu:

  • Cruzado – Traditional Venezuelan stew – belly warming stew made with beef shank, chicken, exotic jungle roots, corn, potatoes, carrots, scallions and cilantro – $5.50
  • Pabellon – Traditional Venezuelan plate – shredded cumin and sweet peppers, beef with house rice, black beans, sweet plantains and iceberg salad with house vinaigrette – $5.50
  • Plantains – fried with choice of toppings – between $3.50 and $5
  • Empanadas – fried corn flour turnovers – choice of chicken, beef, cheese or black bean – $4
  • Arepas – corn flour patty sandwich – choice of beef and black bean, ham and cheese, beef with herbs, chicken, veggie – $4.50
  • Combination plates for Empanadas or Arepas add 2 sides – between $5.50 and $6
  • assorted drinks available

Phone: unknown
Email: unknown
Facebook: Caraquena
Hours: Lunchtime weekdays, including Saturday

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