The Valley’s Colombian Street Food Star Does Fresh Arepas and Saucy Hot Dogs

The Valley’s Colombian Street Food Star Does Fresh Arepas and Saucy Hot Dogs

Along Sepulveda Boulevard in entrance of the Van Nuys Petco, one of Los Angeles’s priceless mini foods truck rows gathers on most evenings. It’s wherever birria de res expert Birrieria Villalobos, a teppanyaki truck, a Yucatecan taco spot, and a lovable purple trailer with blue and yellow signage boasting the three colours of the Colombian flag line up serving refreshing road food items to Valley denizens. The primary attraction at the Colombian truck, Vivi’s Connoisseur Cuisine, is the arepa rellena, a stuffed arepa. Arepas are an indigenous dish manufactured from cornmeal (typically precooked corn flour), comparable to gorditas mexicanas and pupusas. They are vital to Venezuelan and Colombian cuisines, nevertheless regional versions can be uncovered in Puerto Rico, Panamá, and the Canary Islands.

Initially from Cali, Colombia, Viviana “Vivi” Henriquez opened Vivi’s Connoisseur Delicacies five decades ago at the Northridge Farmers Industry. In the months major up to the pandemic, she moved into a trailer, initially gathering a loyal pursuing of Venezuelans and Colombians.

“I experienced labored as a prepare dinner at the Lakeside Cafe in Encino, then the Cheesecake Factory in which I labored prolonged several hours and arrived house exhausted. I thought to myself, if I’m likely to perform this difficult I may well as effectively be accomplishing it for myself,” says Henriquez. She enrolled in the culinary arts system at Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar, and following two many years in faculty, a pal had an concept. “A Colombian classmate suggested I start out small, carrying out activities for the neighborhood, catering, which led me to the Northridge Farmers Sector,” she suggests. At to start with, Henriquez experienced to give away arepas for the reason that they are so exceptional in LA. Arepas are international even for Latinos who know and like gorditas and pupusas.

Vivi’s Gourmet Cuisine truck in Van Nuys.

Vivi’s Gourmand Delicacies truck in Van Nuys.
Matthew Kang

Possessing acquired the believe in of hesitant diners, Henriquez and her husband located a trailer to make their procedure additional cell, dedicating it to the arepa rellena stuffed with common recipes from Cali. The arepa de pollo gets loaded with shredded hen seasoned with triquisar, a well known Colombian seasoning combine, and comes tinted yellow from a tiny foods coloring (which is widespread in Colombia). It is concluded with melted cheese and cilantro sauce. The chicharrón arepa consists of fried diced squares of crackling and cheese, when the beef, identified as carne desmechada in Colombia, is stewed in spices, a very little tomato, onion, and garlic ahead of staying overstuffed into split arepas. “I prepare dinner the corn myself, and grind the corn into the dough,” suggests Henriquez. To consume, try pairing the arepas with ultra sweet gaseosas, Colombian sodas, these kinds of as Postobon Manzana and Colombiana.

The trailer operates in Van Nuys, Reseda, Canoga Park, and down in Long Seashore on diverse times with a concise menu of arepa rellenas, Colombian very hot canine, hamburgers, empanadas, chorizo, and eventually dedo de queso (cheese sticks), an product Venezuelans get really very seriously in Venezuela, they are identified as tequeños. “In Long Beach front we get a good deal of Venezuelans for the arepas, but even far more so for the cheese sticks,” claims David Muñoz, Vivi’s husband and spouse, who pairs the cheese sticks with a sweet pineapple sauce. There are 5 sauces on the truck: pineapple, cilantro, salsa rosada (mayo and ketchup), and mustard, all of which are important to Colombian warm dogs and hamburgers.

Rather of a Colombian pan perro, which is not out there listed here, Vivi makes use of a regionally built bun for her warm canines, and heaps in onions, lettuce, tomato, crispy chopped bacon, and ripio de papa (adhere fries) covered in the five sauces. The hamburger comes in the same way dressed. There are couple places focused to the arepa, and even fewer likely to the lengths Henriquez goes for her satisfying arepas rellenas, incredibly hot pet dogs, and Colombian treats, producing it perfectly really worth it to obtain this food trailer at do the job.

Vivi’s Gourmand Cuisine’s weekly agenda is posted on Fb and Instagram.

Trio of arepas from Vivi’s Gourmet in Van Nuys.

Trio of arepas from Vivi’s Gourmet in Van Nuys.
Matthew Kang

Dedos de queso, or fried cheese sticks, which Venezuelans also call tequeños.

Dedos de queso, or fried cheese sticks, which Venezuelans also connect with tequeños.
Matthew Kang

Vivi’s Gourmet Cuisine trailer with menu.

Vivi’s Connoisseur Delicacies trailer with menu.
Matthew Kang