Try Something New aka an Arepa!

Looking for something different but still within the $10 range for lunch? I recommend Caracas Arepa Bar. This east village hot spot is offers New Yorkers a real taste of a Venezuelan specialty, called an arepa. Now, when I was first introduced to this phenomenon, I didn’t know what an arepa was. I was told it is like a Mexican taco, but Venezuelan style and that I needed to try it to really understand the concept.

So, I decided to try it out for lunch. They have a full menu of arepas, empanadas, combination plates, appetizers, and deserts. Check out the and see what catches your eye, but I will tell you what caught mine. I ordered the arepa “De Pabellón” which has shredded beef, black beans, white salty cheese and sweet plantains. All of these goodies come stuffed inside a “dense yet spongy corn-flour rounds, pitalike pockets, corn muffins, cake-swaddled mélange, white corn cakes, Latin sloppy Joe, sandwiches of a flat cornmeal patty, soft and smooth within, golden crispiness, tasty treats, burrito-killer, panini-killer, wheat-free, gluten-free crisp on the outside, steamy-soft in the middle…” And let me tell you! It was delicious!

The one thing I will caution you with is that this is a hands-on food. It is not something you eat with a fork and a knife. It is messy and the juices will drip from the arepa into the basket below, so always be prepared with a sufficient amount of napkins. The other thing to note is that you need to make sure to carve out enough time to try an arepa as there is usually a wait to sit and eat. But, if you don’t have time to sit and eat, you can always go next door to the “To-Go” side.

Even the FoodNetwork showers praise for this little Venezuelan hot spot by featuring it on its hit show Throw Down with Bobby Flay. Bobby Flay challenged the owners of Caracas Arepa Bar to an arepa challenge. He didn’t win, but watching him try to recreate this classic was entertaining. Check out what Bobby’s arepa recipe from this episode of Throw Down. Also if you want to see the actual episode you can see it below:

So, if you are looking for a sweet and savory treat off the beaten path for lunch for $10, I recommend that you try Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village. Before you even get the check you will already be planning your next visit to this Venezuelan gem.

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Indian Food Doesn’t Always Have To Be A Kick In The Pants

I think that Brick Lane Curry House has one of the best in-house lunch specials out there! First off, it is really authentic Indian food. Brick Lane has a great understanding for the balance between flavor and spice. When you order a curry, you can actually taste the flavors and spices in the curry as opposed to being overwhelmed by spice.

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So, why do I recommend Brick Lane for lunch? Because of the following reasons:
For $10 you get one of the following curries with your choice of chicken, prawns, fish, lamb, vegetable, tofu or paneer. Then you can choose one of the following sauces: Marsala, Bhuna, Madras, Goan, Vindaloo. And wait, there is still more. With your main dish you get Daal of the Day, Mixed Vegetable of the Day, rice, naan and desert!

You get a complete meal for just $10! And it is not only the price that is impressive! It’s the quality and freshness of the ingredients too! Everything is fresh and served to perfection. One of my big telltale signs of a good Indian restaurant is how well they can prepare chicken tikka, meaning that it is moist and full of flavor. And yes, Brick Lane’s chicken tikka is never dry and always done right!

I usually get the Tikka Marsala or the Tikka Goan. It really depends on what mood I am in, but today, I decided to go for the Goan. Before I went to Brick Lane, I had never head of Tikka Goan, so here it what it is in case you haven’t tried it: “A delightful recipe of green chilies, coconut milk, coriander, and vinegar” all flavored with sweet tomatoes. Check out the picture of our entire meal, with my favorite, the Tikka Goan in the middle.

Also, the staff is very friendly and attentive. They are always asking if you need anything or refills on things like rice or bread. Also, you can check out the full menu and what others are saying about this great little place! And if you are having one of those days where you can’t get out of the office for a sit down lunch, they also have Lunch Boxes To Go for those who still want delightful Indian. If you are looking for amazing Indian food in Midtown East, at the right price, come try Brick Lane’s In-House lunch special for just $10.

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235 E 53rd St (Between 2nd & 3rd Ave), New York City

(212) 339-8353

Directions