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Monday, March 13, 2017

Arepa TX - Coming soon to Frisco!

Great things are coming, y'all!! Get excited! On April 1st, Frisco will be getting the first arepa restaurant in DFW, Arepa TX. We don't have that many places in Dallas that serve arepas. And those that do, do not put their focus on it. What is an arepa you ask? Arepas are Venezuelan pan fried corn flour cakes that are stuffed with sweet or savory fillings of choice. They are delicious! And they're gluten free, which is in line with the whole gluten free trend that's happening right now. Also, different items can be made vegetarian or vegan by just eliminating a topping or two.

Arepa TX
5355 Dallas Pkwy #600
Frisco, TX 75034
(603) 366-8471
Price: $-$$

I recently got an amazing sneak peek at the food. I was 1 of 2 people to be invited by @prestonroyalsw to dine at the chef (and owner's) home!! What an honor! I've been to a good amount of media/blogger events at this point but this is the first time I was invited to someone's home. The hospitality from the Arepa TX team was beyond amazing. From the moment we walked in, we were treated like friends and family. They were all just super friendly. We immediately smelled the food cooking and my mouth started to water. How amazing is it to have the chef cook for you in her own home? I geeked out a little. hehe.

They were plating when we got there. I cannot wait! We got some drinks and sat around chatting with Jammil (the chef's son who is handling the management and finances of the restaurant) and his wife, Susana. Along with their friend, Eric, who's in charge of Development and Design. We got some background and insider info on the development of the restaurant and menu items. Everything sounded delicious and I was getting hungry.

We were seated in the dining room and I was glad that several of the family members sat down to dine with us. The conversation just kept flowing like we've all known each other for a while. Then they started bringing out the food.

First up... Brisket & Chimichurri Arepa (tender and juicy slow cooked brisket in an ancho and guajillo sauce with pickled onions and avocado). It was served with a side of Plantano Frito (sweet fried plantains) and Seafood Cocktail (shrimp and crab cocktail in spicy clamato, with crunchy white onion and avocado). 
Everything was fresh and made from scratch. I'll start with the arepa... pressed thin and the outer layers were nice and crispy. The brisket and chimichurri combo was fantastic. Beef is always great with chimichurri... and of course, they make their own chimichurri! It's so creamy... but there's no cream! I've never had chimichurri of that consistency. I loved it. I poured it on everything that night. The brisket was tender and the combination of flavors was well rounded. The plantain chips were great too. Super crispy but not at all greasy. Went really well with the shrimp/crab cocktail and/or chimichurri sauce. I had a refill on the chips. I'd take these over potato chips any day! The shrimp and crab cocktail was a nice little side. The addition of the crab added a variety of texture, plus it's more seafood, so who's gonna complain. :P One of my friends that went with me is Mexican and she said she makes her shrimp cocktail with very similar flavors. So it's pretty damn authentic, I'd say.

The next one is their "Banh Mi" Arepa (tender chicken with radish, carrot, cucumber, and avocado crema). 
I'm usually weary when I hear non-Vietnamese restaurants say they have Banh Mi. But you can't take this literally... they have components of a typical banh mi, but the flavors are very much their own. The chicken that was in there was unreal! It was incredibly tender and that was probably my favorite protein of the night. The radish, carrots, and cucumber added freshness. And the avocado crema was a nice creamy element. It was really fantastic. I don't care what they call it, I can eat this every day.

After the 2nd arepa, they realized we were all getting full so they made a mini version for the 3rd one. They will have both sizes at the restaurant btw, to accommodate all appetites. The last one we sampled was their Vegetarian Arepa (black beans, avocado, caramelized onions, sauteed peppers, queso fresco). 
It had no meat, but can you believe that this was our favorite one? It had so much flavor!! Whatever that sauce was... I bow down to it. I can only imagine if I added the chicken from the Banh Mi one into this... it would be SO FREAKING AWESOME! :P

We also got to try some Yucca Frita ( crisp slices of yucca, served with chimichurri sauce). I love yucca fries and this is by far the best I've ever had. It was PERFECTLY fried and so crispy. When you see that translucency on the outside, you'll know you have a perfect fry. Yucca is a really starchy root, so to get it to that texture was amazing. I wanted to eat more... I was stuffed.

And then they brought out the desserts. haha. Luckily they were mini. They will also feature homemade custard popsicles at the restaurant. There are two sizes, regular and mini. These mini pops are so adorable! Mini Frozen Custard Popsicles: we got to try the Flan and Dark Chocolate flavors. 
I'm so excited about the flan flavor... I love flan and this was great. My friend said she doesn't like normal flan, but loved this popsicle. Because these are frozen custard instead of regular popsicle mixture, they are a lot richer and more decadent. Just one or two mini ones had satisfied my sweet tooth. The dark chocolate was so smooooooth. Yum! I can't wait to try all the other flavors when they open. Supposedly they have a Horchata flavor too! 

Like I said, get excited people! The food is freaking amazing and made with so much love. You can absolutely see the passion pouring out of everyone on the Arepa TX team. And I truly believe that when someone cooks with love, you can taste the difference. I think Arepa TX will do so well in Frisco, and cannot wait for them to expand through the rest of Dallas. Come to Rockwall, please! :P

I'm just still in awe of this phenomenal family team. They welcomed us into their homes with open arms, fed us amazing food, and showed us the love they have for their business. I really wish the best for them. Thank you Chef Mary Ann, Peter, Jammil, Susana, and Eric. This had been one of the best experiences for me to date. And a huge THANKS to @prestonroyalsw for inviting me and sharing this experience. :)

Their grand opening is April 1st. They will have some great deals I'm sure. Definitely go check them out. I want to try everything on the menu!

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