Try Some Colombian Food At Arepas Deliciosas (Guest Post)
Ed. Note: I'm happy to present this guest post from intern Savannah Lyons about our recent lunch adventure. Expect guest posts from Savannah from time to time during the coming months. All photos are by Savannah except where noted.
Last Friday, Holly and I had a craving for two things: Latin American cuisine and adventure. One of Holly’s Twitter followers had recently suggested Arepas Deliciosas in Bartlett, so we hopped in the car and headed there for lunch. It’s a Colombian restaurant in a small shopping center off Germantown Parkway, just past the Wolfchase mall.
Inside, the walls were bright blue and gold with red trim: the colors of the Colombian flag. Instead of table stands, the colorful tiled tabletops sat on top of tree stumps. Besides a front table, the bar stools, and a leather couch (for post-meal naps, perhaps?) they had six tables along one wall.
To drink, we started out with their tropical juices ($3). Holly had jugo de mango (mango juice) and I had jugo de mora (blackberry juice). Our friendly server asked if we wanted the juices mixed with water or milk, and we both went with water. Both tasted naturally sweet and refreshing, but there’s sugar provided if you like something sweeter. The consistency was a perfect mix between a slushie and a smoothie, and I would definitely order one of these again.
We ordered several dishes all once and asked that the fried plantains with cheese come out first. The plantains were warm and chewy, topped with a cold crumbly white cheese that contrasted well with the sweetness of the plantains. If you like plantains, you’ll love these. While we ate them as an appetizer, they’d also make a great dessert snack if you were still hungry after the main course.
Speaking of which: the main course. Holly started to order the Arepa Con Pollo until our server tipped us off that the Arepa Rellena with chicken ($7.50) was the same price, but had more toppings, so she went with that. I ordered the Bandeja Paisa (translation: “Typical plate”, $14.99) and we also tried an Arepa Con Queso ($4.99).
Holly's Arepa Rellena (above) was probably my favorite dish. While arepas, or corn pancakes, are fairly plain, they work more as a way to taste all the other flavors (the way bread works for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich). It was loaded with shredded chicken cooked with different spices (probably something similar to turmeric or saffron, judging by the yellow color), plus lettuce, tomato, and avocado. I tried several bites and thought it seemed filling, had diverse, delicious flavors, wasn’t too spicy or too bland, and tasted good enough to order again.
My Bandeja Paisa, or “typical plate” came highly recommended by the server, and consisted of a big plate of beans, seasoned ground beef, rice topped with a fried egg, a chorizo link, a piece of what our server called a pork rind, and a garnish of avocado and a few slices of fried plantain.
Ed. Note: The English name of this dish, “Typical Plate” sounded like a bad translation at first, but a little online research showed that the combination of traditional Colombian items on one plate really is considered a “typical” or classic dish. Read more here, here, and here.
I’m a huge fan of eggs on non-breakfast food, and the egg on this dish didn’t disappoint. I liked the combination of the fresh avocado, rice, and fried egg – pretty mild, but still tasty. However, the beef and beans did not pack much of a punch; when our server brought us a couple of salsas, that helped. The chorizo (pork sausage) was also a little too tough for my liking, but if you’re into sausage, I would encourage you to still give it a bite.
I think what least impressed us was the pork rind. Holly described it as “puffy bacon” and I don’t think there’s a better way to explain it if you're unfamiliar. If you like pork rinds, you might enjoy this dish, but if you’re not into swine to begin with, I’d recommend venturing for something different from the menu.
Ed. Note: I don’t know if it was the preparation or just a personal preference/the lack of pork rind experience Savannah and I have, but the pork rind didn’t do it for us. I was still curious, though, and did a little research to find that it was very similar to the “chicharrón” pork belly featured on this Colombian food blog. I’d love to know what you think, if you’re a big fan of pork, pork belly, or more experienced in Colombian food.
Arepas Deliciosas has a few vegetarian dishes, but proceed with caution if you are vegan. Kids who aren’t afraid to steer away from the usual kids’ stuff may enjoy the arepas with cheese or a few other dishes. Arepas Deliciosas is ADA accessible. The restaurant is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. It’s closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
3108 N. Germantown Road, Suite 104
Bartlett, Tennessee, 38133
About The Author
Savannah is a senior at The University of Memphis majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Communications. Born and raised in Memphis, she embraces every part of the city – from the narrow right lane on Poplar, to the idiosyncratic individuals who drive down it. After graduation she hopes to travel the world, see an orca in the wild, read more books, and maybe write one, too.