The 5 Best Hidden Restaurant Gems in Katy
4. Budare Arepa Express
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg A pabellón arepa at Budare Arepa Express.
Billed as a Venezuelan fast food restaurant, Budare Arepa Express isn't the most speedy arepa counter out there, but the maize cakes filled with meat, beans and cheese are legit. The owner suggested I try the "No. 11," called pabellón. It's a perfectly browned and crisped arepa about the size of a hamburger bun filled with seasoned shredded beef, black beans, crumbly queso fresco and sweet fried plantains. Venezuelan food isn't very spicy, but the shredded beef has a great flavor from stewing for hours in spices. One arepa is pretty filling, but once you taste one, it's difficult not to go back for more.
3. Deli's Cafe
Photo by Shan Pin K. Even the breakfasts at Deli's Cafe are worth the drive.
I was surprised to find quite a lot of Venezuelan food in Katy, all of it very good. Like Budare Arepa Express, Deli's Cafe makes more than a dozen varieties of arepa (including another great pabellón), but it also offers empanadas, hamburgers and larger lunch plates with grilled chicken or roasted pork. You can't go wrong with any of the arepas, but the cachapas are the true stars. Cachapas are corn cakes filled with cheese (like quesadillas, only with a corn pancake instead of a tortilla), and at Deli's, you can get one stuffed with roasted pork and queso a mano--handmade cheese. Deli's also makes incredible criollo salsa that I put on pretty much everything I ate there. Oh, yeah, and all of this wonderful Venezuelan food is located inside an Exxon station. The hours are strange (open for breakfast, but closed anywhere from 3 to 5 p.m.) so call ahead. It's worth it.
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