By Amaris Pollock, special correspondent to Philly Grub
[Photo: Amaris Pollock]
There is something special to be said of foods that are more ethnic in origin, and the reason why is the bold flavors and interesting combinations that are used to create them.
Recently I was invited to try out Puyero Venezuelan Flavor’s special menu item, each bringing an interesting fusion of Philadelphia-meets-Venezuelan flare. As such, I tried out the local restaurant’s Independence Specials, running from July 5th through July 29th.
I have never had Venezuelan food before, so this really was a food adventure for me. That is why I asked one of the owner’s, Gil Arends, to recommend which of the July Specials I should try. His recommendation to fulfill my hunger: their Patacón Burger ($9), and I was in luck! They also allowed me to try out one of their signature drinks and side dishes. So I chose their Yuca Fries with Guasacaca Dip ($4) and the Cilantro Lemonade ($3).
The Patacón Burger was far bigger than I had expected, filled with layers of different ingredients that made a tantalizing visual temptation. Of course there was the burger, but adorning it were layers of cabbage, yellow cheese that melted onto the burger, and white cheese—which was a huge portion about ½ inch thick! Then there were potato chips and their Green Mayo, ham, and to bring in even more flavor, they added Ketchup and Mustard into the mix. All of that sat between one of the most interesting ‘buns’ I have ever tasted. They took plantains and turned them into flat disks and fried them up until the plantains were crisp. Honestly, this Burger was the most inventive one that I have every eaten. And unbelievably filling—all of which is a good thing. I love having an adventurous food experience, and this was definitely a great one.
The side of Yuca Fries with the Guasacaca Dip was equally interesting to try. First off, Puyero Venezuelan Flavor cuts their Yuca fries thick and in a way where you can scoop the dip. Once the dip is on, you can bite into the crispy outer layer and soft inside while enjoying their version of guacamole (the Guasacaca dip). The taste of the Yuca fries were somewhere between a normal potato and a sweet potato—a little sweet but not too much. To add flavor, they lightly salted the outside. This made my palate happy because in my opinion, foods shouldn’t be overly salted; you can always add salt if you want more.
While eating all of the delicious food offerings from Puyero Venezuelan Flavor, I paired it with their Cilantro Lemonade. With each sip I tasted the earthy cilantro adding to the light and refreshing drink with its sweet and tart base. It was a perfect companion to the meal, and also aides in digestion!
Overall I had a very good experience in this restaurant, and it’s a wonderful place that offers hearty foods using natural ingredients. I loved trying out what they had to offer, and I think that you will too!
Puyero Venezuelan Flavor is located at 524 S. 4th Street (off South Street). For more information about Puyero, visit http://www.puyeroflavor.com/ or call (267) 928-4584.