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ArePA George - Colombian in Humboldt Park

ArePA George - Colombian in Humboldt Park
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  • ArePA George - Colombian in Humboldt Park

    Post #1 - November 21st, 2017, 10:41 am
    Post #1 - November 21st, 2017, 10:41 am Post #1 - November 21st, 2017, 10:41 am
    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.

    ImageNewly 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.

    ImageEmpanadas 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.

    ImageHumboldt 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 something only available when I go to South Florida so this is a big find in my mind.

    ImageShredded Beef Arepa

    As seen on S'C'&C

    Arepa George
    1552 N Kedzie Ave
    Chicago, IL 60651
    (773) 570-9899
  • Post #2 - September 2nd, 2020, 5:39 pm
    Post #2 - September 2nd, 2020, 5:39 pm Post #2 - September 2nd, 2020, 5:39 pm
    Bumping. Discovered ArePA George today, just a mile from my house. Their takeout menu during COVID is delicious, and was ready for pickup in about 25 minutes on a Wednesday evening. We've enjoyed arepas from a few other spots in the city - these were great and far closer to our Wicker Park home than Bienmesabe and the departed Venezuelan Bowl in Lincoln Park.

    While my husband went for 2 arepas (chicken/mushroom and vegetarian, both of which he loved) and the vegan soup (I found a bit on the bland side, but I like my sodium - and bonus, it came with A LOT of fresh avocado), I tried the Lengua En Salsa. Very tender beef tongue in a tomato onion sauce with a bunch of yummy sides (yellow rice, a vibrant salsa-y cabbage salad, a savory potato, and maduros). I have been chasing a fantastic roasted beef tongue entree from Versailles in Miami that I had last year - this is probably the closest I've found in Chicago. It's Colombian and not Cuban, the sauce is different - but it's savory and delicious and super tender. And the cherry on top is the fantastic Colombian aji green sauce that comes with your meal- they have both mild and spicy and both are so wonderful (I could have eaten it with a spoon and will be searching for a recipe to make my own shortly).

    My only minor quibble is that you can't easily order a plain arepa on their menu - I ordered one with cheese (it comes with lots of melted cheese) and there's a different option for butter and salt, but I wanted just a plain arepa to go with my meal. The arepas suffer only a little bit from the 10 minute drive home steaming in a styrofoam takeout box - they're not as crisp on the outside as they would be fresh at the restaurant, and the melted cheese starts to solidify, but those things can't be helped in the current take-out environment - note though that they do have a nice patio for outside dining currently.

    I will certainly be back.