Latin American Food?

So I told you yesterday that I was meeting my Momma for lunch to celebrate her birthday yesterday.  What I didn’t tell you was that I happily dragged my SIL as my partner in crime to surprise my Mom and went to her church service.  She was so surprised!  And the surprise was on us because she also had a duet during the special music section of the service.  You did great Momma!

So originally our plan was to hit up Wildfire in Schaumburg.  We both love their burgers.  But since we were now in the Oak Park/Forest Park area, we had to switch gears.  We met back at my Mom’s house and decided to go to Aripo’s, which is on Marion Street in the heart of the Oak Park mall.  None of us had had Latin American/Venezuelan food before so we decided to throw the dice.

We decided to get three of their signature dishes, and then just share.

First up was the Bistec encebollado – thin cut sirloin steak with carmelized onions and white rice.  Um, the two nuts I were with LOVE carmelized onions so I was out voted 2 to 1 – the steak was delicious after I scraped off the nasty onions.  Nice and tender and super flavorful.

Then was the Pabellon Criollo – shredded beef, white rice, black beans, fried plantains and crumbled white cheese.  The beef was a tad dry, but still very good.

Then we had Cachapas – Venezuelan corn panckes with De Mano cheese and shredded chicken – I think this dish was our favorite and I am definitely going to try to recreate the corn pancake – perfect combination of salty and sweet.

I actually expected the dishes to have some spice to them, but while flavorful, were not spicy at all.  Luckily two of my best friends decided to join me.

I asked my Mom if she wanted dessert and when I mentioned “flan” she said yes immediately.  Although this one was different, it was thick and almost tapiocaish (yep, I am counting that as a word!) with a delicious carmel sauce on the bottom.  I had a couple bites and enjoyed a Venezuelan latte on the side.

We then went to Trader Joe’s because my SIL had never been to one.  Picked up a roast chicken, some edammame (sp?) and some fruit.  I think I am going to try to recreate my meals this week with just what we have – I will have to be very creative, but I think I can do it. 😀

Then we went to Penzye’s spices, and while I normally think their prices are rediculous, I did buy a 2 ounce jar of seasoning called Italian sausage to make your own sausage – how cool is that?  And I picked up a bumper sticker that screams me.  Shhh. Don’t tell Tony I already put it on the car!

We also hit up Ten Thousand Villages, which is a fair trade retailer.  OMG, so much stuff to look at you could literally spend a couple hours in there.  I bought something simple that caught my eye – I bought one for me and for my SIL.

This will be my mantra this week – strength to stay on plan, get my exercise goals in, drink my water, etc.  I haven’t decided where I am going to put it to remind me – any suggestions?

Have any of you made any Latin American food at home before – please share any recipes in the comments section!

How was your weekend?  Make it a great day!!

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34 thoughts on “Latin American Food?

  1. I could not agree more with that bumper sticker! Yayy for tjs!! And How yummy are plantains. I have a tasty cornmeal pancake recipe-let me know if youd like it

  2. Love Aripos, tasty stuff. Sandwich King did Latin sandwiches on the show yesterday, which looked just as delicious! What a great birthday treat for your mom. Love the rock, put it on your bedside stable in place of you snacky treats. Have a great week!

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever had Latin American food? Looks tasty though.

    My weekend was good – went to yoga, Greek Festival, made pumpkin pie & visited with Ashley. AND I got homework done. I’ll call that a win.

    Trying to make it a good day – started off early with tea and homework, then a smoothie & now yoga!

  4. Glad you had fun with Momma – now it’s my turn to do lunch with her and Hangin with Hannah!!

    I’ll call you later

  5. I like pupusas. The store next to Pooldad’s old job sold them fresh everyday – and you never quite knew what you were going to get because each one of the sisters, moms and grandmoms took turns cooking them. OH goodness they were ridiculously delicious. I miss him having worked there for over two decades for that store alone. YUM

    Never made them at home tho’. I wouldn’t know where to begin.

  6. What a week of Birthdays! HAppy bday to Tony and your mom! You made so much food for your friend- bravo, that was alot of work and looked so good. I like trying different foods and do like to go for Peruvian Chicken, very spicy and delicious, especially the sauces that go with it.

  7. Love that bumper sticker! I haven’t much experience with Latin American food. I’ll have to find some soon!

    I had a great weekend, dinner and drinks with some new friends and then a squadron spouses get together and lots of time with the husband 🙂

  8. Sounds like an awesome weekend! The highlight of my weekend was going to an apple festival with the hubby and little guy. It was a fun outing!

    • Pleasing you should think of soeihtmng like that

    • My wife and I have been very blessed in our lives. We have also lived trghuoh very tight times ( I. E., blood donations.) We have always felt the love if others. Many times, we picked up the bill for another at a resturant. Other times we paid for another’s groceries. Another time we put together a baby shower for a lady we never met who left an abusive home. Instead of money, we gave a man in the rain a sleeping bag, a coat, and accessories along with a gift card for a meal at Denny’s. When my wife ad I ran into financial issues, we were blessed by people who remained anonymous with a $500 gift card twice. We always asked why. We had a very hard time accepting. Why us? LovePay it forward It will come back when needed

  9. What a happy surprise for your momma! I’ve never had Latin food, it all looks so good.
    i want to make corn pancakes now, will wait for your recipe! 🙂
    We have a TJ’s here, but about 20 miles away, so don’t go too often, Whole foods too. So when I do go, it’s an adventure! Next week we are going to Pike Place market, they have a fantastic spice shop there; just a fun place to shop and people watch! 🙂

  10. Roz@weightingfor50

    HI Vat. Love that you surprised your Mom!!!! I’ve never had latin food, but would love to give it a go!!!! Hope you have a fantastic week!!!!

  11. Happy Birthday to your mom! This food looks amazing!
    I don’t think I’ve ever had latin american cuisine. I will have to look for a place in Vegas.

  12. Happy Birthday to your mama! Sounds like you did yourself proud.

  13. I would expect Latin American food to be spicier too. Guess they just like their dancing to be hot, but their food not so much. Thank goodness for Tabasco!

    Maybe you could put your strength rock in with your fanny pack when you exercise? That way you’ll always have it with you to remind yourself of how strong you are!

  14. Not even caramalized onions? Biz, those are like candy!

    That bumper sticker is so you! And how fun, to get to go to both Penzey’s AND Trader Joes!

    I like that rock.

    Oh! I have some pictures I’ll be emailing you in a bit…

  15. Hmm…what about putting the rock in your pocket? Or on your desk at work?

    All of those dishes look good – I’ve actually never tried Flan, but my roommate in college (who’s dad is Venezuelan) raved about it.

    I would have voted you out too, I love carmelized onions! Especially when they’re on the slightly burnt side of caramelized and get a dark smoky flavor that mixes with the sweetness. Love!!

  16. I love trying new food from all over the world. I had the opportunity to live in Mexico on two occasions. The food there was so good, but there was nothing like a simple street vendor taco with shaved meat, raw onions (sorry but I love ’em) and a few squeezes of lime juice. My husband and I have been to an Argentinean restaurant nearby. It was years ago before I stopped eating meat. I remember having a grilled steak with chimmichuri sauce and rice. Other than salsa and guacamole I haven’t made any distinctly Latin American dishes. Your lunch looked delicious. It’s so much fun to share plates.

    Did you decide where to put your strength stone? That’s a very fitting word this week. Good luck!!

  17. Sounds like a fiesta for your mouth! Ryan tried to be sneaky today and put a magnet on my car. It was a crazy ass zombie and said “brains” on it. I don’t understand why the kid doesn’t put this shit on his car. Oh well. It’s in the glove compartment now! Muahahaha!

  18. I love Latin food and do experiment with it sometimes:)
    tried making fish tacos, salsa, Chili Rellenos and tamales at home

  19. Your mom’s birthday lunch sounds delicious! And how fun that you surprised her!

    We had a nice, not too busy weekend…

    Have a good week!

  20. I have never tried any of that but it looks terrific! I’m sure you’re related to Hubs, SIL and DD’s 2 and3 because they all LOVE some Tobasco!

  21. tapiocaish – Love that word. Wondering how I can fit it into my day!

    I think you should keep your strength rock either in your kitchen – or in your camera bag since you have it with you all the time.

  22. Sounds like you had a great day. Hope your mom had a great birthday. I have never eaten Latin food. The dishes you had for your lunch looked very tasty.

  23. I love that you took her to TJs! Love that place!
    Edamame is a favorite in our house. Even the 9 yr old loves it!

  24. I *love* Ten Thousand Villages! I have one of those stones, too. 🙂

  25. If the rock is small enough, you could keep it in your pocket and rub it when temptation strikes. Love the bumper sticker!

  26. OMG alan is also awesome. m not one which enliats those crazy fans nevertheless I realistically esteem the Jonas Brother\’s music it\’s assisted therefore i\’m given above just a bit a challenge daily activities. Anyway JOE ROCKS!

  27. Thanks for being on point and on tagrte!

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