Tag Archives: Guasacaca

Venezuelan Restaurant Review: Doggi’s Venezuelan Cuisine

15 Mar Doggi's Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

A while back, while I still lived in Montgomery, Alabama, I had created a foursquare list for myself of all the Venezuelan Restaurants in South Florida that I wanted to try out and write reviews for, once I moved back down to Florida.  In that list, I had included Doggi’s.  When I finally moved back down here, I was a bit upset with myself because I was too busy with work and I realized most of the Venezuelan Restaurants on the list are in Miami and Doral, and I lived in Hollywood.  I rarely drove down to Miami and I rarely had a chance to try out all these places.  I was lucky to find Eats Good 33 (read the review here), but I was unable to enjoy their delicious food because they are only open when I am at work.

Things have changed a bit around here.  I moved to Plantation (even further away from all the good Venezuelan Restaurants), and now my commute is longer, giving me less time to try out new Venezuelan places and write recipes of my own for the blog.  However, my husband has been driving around all over South Florida due to his new job, and he has been keeping an eye out for new Venezuelan places to try out.  Since he drives to Miami all the time, it doesn’t seem that far away to him, and one weekend he suggested to take my sister and I down to the Wynwood Arts District in Miami.

Wynwood Art District Miami

Wynwood Art District Miami

It was kind of a “spur of the moment” plan for that weekend, so we really didn’t make any plans for lunch or anything.  After enjoying a nice walk, taking a few photos, and taking in all the artwork on the walls, we were kind of hungry.  My husband suggested finding the nearest Venezuelan Restaurant and going there for a late lunch (around 3 pm).  He found Doggi’s first, and I immediately remembered it was on my list of places to try.  So we headed over there.

Wynwood Art District Miami

Wynwood Art District Miami

On our way there, driving on Coral Way, my sister commented that the drive felt much like driving around Las Mercedes, in Caracas (Venezuela).  The bit of traffic, the trees, the road… something about it reminded her of Las Mercedes, and I agreed.  We were very lucky to find a parking stop right in front, but that is not the norm, so if you aren’t as lucky, you can park on the other side of the building.  There is an Italian Restaurant/Bakery on this corner building and a couple other businesses to the side.  Walking towards Doggi’s, you can appreciate the love and detail poured into every single detail in this place.  There are a couple metal tables and chairs on the outside, much like I remember a certain ice cream shop in Las Mercedes in Caracas.  The door is bright red and has a black wrought iron door in front of it, very much like almost every home in Venezuela.  You usually have your wrought iron ‘gate’ and then your wooden door – very nice touch.  Once in it feels a bit tight, and there are only about 10 small tables or less.  It is small and tight, but I think it makes it homey and cozy.  We were also lucky to get one of the only three tables by the window, so that was great.  The inside is beautifully decorated with a ton of Venezuelan… things.  I don’t really know how to explain these things; they are juts typical Venezuelan things that you would see on the walls of your grandmother’s house.  Things like a cuatro, maracas, cast irons, and virgins.  On another wall there are countless posters, ads, and logos of all kinds of different Venezuelan brands, sports teams, celebrities, etc.  They also have a large projector, which wasn’t turned on, but I can only assume they play all the soccer games when they are on.  On that wall they also have very stylized drawings of a male and a female figure dressed in typical Venezuelan folkloric costumes.  My poor description of the decor doesn’t really do it much justice, since it sounds crazy and cluttered, but it was actually done in a very minimalistic, simplistic and trendy manner.  They also have a smaller TV Screen that displays the current song being played.  My husband pointed out that he was shocked that they were not playing loud Spanish music like in most Venezuelan Restaurants we have been to.  They had a pop channel, and it was at a perfect volume level, in which you can still talk to the person next to you without having to scream like you are at a club.  The tables also have a trendy word-cloud or word collage of cool and unusual Venezuelan slang words.  The entire place’s decoration and design is very trendy and up-to-date, but also filled with old Venezuelan traditions and ‘things’.

Doggi's Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

Doggi’s Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

Doggi's Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

Doggi’s Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

Doggi's Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

Doggi’s Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

Doggi's Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

Doggi’s Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

Doggi's Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

Doggi’s Venezuelan Cuisine Decor

As soon as we sat down our kind server Gabriela greeted us promptly.  We read trough the short but complete menu and we were definitely unsure of what to order.  Everything sounded delicious, so it was hard to make a decision.  We decided to have an order of Tequeños as an appetizer.  They are served in these cute little baskets and they are five small tequeños, but perfect for an appetizer, since you don’t want to be filled up before your meal gets to the table.  As soon as I tried one I knew they had it right… the cheese that is.  Usually, most Venezuelan places make tequeños with mozzarella, or whatever other white cheese they can find.  At Doggi’s they have the right kind of cheese, simple white cheese is what we call it, but it is far from it.  It is perfectly salty enough and melts just right inside the tequeños.  I had to order a café con leche, since it was very cold outside (for me at least), my hubby ordered the pineapple juice and he wouldn’t stop taking about how good it was, he said it was the freshest pineapple juice he’d ever tried, and then he realized it had fresh chunks of pineapple in it, and he liked it even more.

Tequeños

Tequeños

After giving it a lot of thought, I ordered the Arepa Santa Bárbara, which is an arepa with marinated churrasco (beef), tomato, avocado and I switched the organic white shredded cheese for queso de mano.  My sister ordered the Arepa Pabellón, which is an arepa with shredded beef, fried plantain, black beans and organic white cheese.  My husband ordered the Milanesa Steak, which is a thin flank steak breaded and fried, with fried yucca and plantains on the side.  My arepa Santa Barbara was delicious.  The arepa itself was not too big that you can’t even hold it, and not too small that it can’t contain all the stuff inside.  The size was just right.  The texture was just right too, not too soft, and not too hard, and just the right thickness as well.  When I had the first bite with some churrasco beef, I was immediately taken back to Sunday nights at my grandparents’ house when my dad used to make parrillas.  The beef was perfectly marinated and cooked, juicy and tender, exactly the way my dad used to make it.  It’s cut in bite size cubes so it is easy to eat inside the arepa.  Combine that juicy beef with avocado, tomato and cheese, and you create my new favorite arepa.  My sister’s arepa de pabellón was delicious, too.  The beef was seasoned just right and the plantains were ripe and sweet.  My hubby absolutely loved his milanesa steak, so much so, that he ate the entire thing, which he usually doesn’t.  He compared it to my mom’s milanesa, which is a huge compliment, since he once ate 3 servings of it in one sitting.  Surprisingly, we still had some room, so we ordered desert.  We ordered the churros with dulce de leche on top, I think the order usually brings 5 churros but we got 6.  They were pretty darn good.

Arepa Santa Bárbara

Arepa Santa Bárbara

Milanesa de Carne

Milanesa de Carne

Churros

Churros

Overall we all enjoyed the food, the ambiance, the décor and the music.  So much so, that we went back two weeks later for more.  We went there specifically, not just because we were down in Miami.  It’s about a 40 minute drive from where I currently live, but it is worth it.  We went down there on Valentines Day for an early dinner around 5:30 pm.  I called on our way there to reserve a table, because I thought it might be busy, I’m glad I did.  This time around we ordered arepitas dulces as an appetizer.  They are served with white cheese and nata.  They were delicious.  Not exactly the same as the ones I am used to, large and with a crispy thin crust.  However, they were still delicious, perfectly sweet and complemented by the right white cheese.  They where small and thick, and had just the right amount of anise.  I ordered the asado negro, which is marinated eye round cooked with brown sugar, green peppers and onions, served with rice and plantains.  The asado was incredible, it was just like my grandmother makes it, and I loved the addition of fresh cilantro on top, which balanced the sweetness of the beef and the plantains.  The plantains were served with white cheese and nata on top, which is a great extra.  The rice is the only thing I was not super excited about.  In my opinion, everything at Doggies has an extra something, but the rice doesn’t.  This time it was a bit undercooked and I think the type of rice is not what Venezuelans are used to.  True white Venezuelan rice is flavored with onions and bell peppers and then they are taken out.  Also this rice type seemed thin and small, like Basmati rice.  Whereas Venezuelan rice is more like medium grain rice that is not long and not short, and it’s a bit fatter.  I appreciate trying to go for a fancier type of rice, but it was the only thing on my plate that didn’t bring back memories of eating asado negro at my grandmother’s house in Venezuela.  Just to be fair, my sister disagreed and said the rice was fine.  She ordered a cachapa, which is a traditional corn pancake semi-sweet, served with queso de mano inside and topped with nata and white cheese, and she asked to add chicken to it.  I do not like cachapas so I did not try it.  My sister said it tasted just like the ones sold in Venezuela, and actually better, because it was less sweet, like not overwhelmingly sweet.  My husband loved the milanesa so much the first time, that he had them again, even though we had all agreed to try something different.  We were very satisfied after appetizers and meals, so we didn’t want any desert.  However, we did take a can of Pirulín home, it’s great that they have Venezuelan snacks, I sure miss those.  They also have Venezuelan beer brands and malta.

Arepitas Dulces

Arepitas Dulces

Asado Negro

Asado Negro

Cachapa

Cachapa

We like Doggi’s so much, we had to go yet again two weeks after that.  We simply wanted to eat there again, so we took the drive down there, simply because we were craving some really good Venezuelan food.  This time we ordered cazón and cheese empanadas, and grilled chorizo as appetizers.  The empanadas were medium sized so if you order these as appetizers, don’t order such a big meal, maybe an arepa.  The cazón was delicious and very well seasoned and filled with herbs and veggies that made it even better.  The cheese empanada was great, because it’s the right cheese.  The chorizo, even though I don’t usually care for it, it was very tasty, just like my dad used to make it on the grill at my grandparent’s house on Sundays.  I ordered the Pabellón Criollo as the main entry, which is the most traditional national Venezuelan dish.  It came with white rice, black beans, fried plantains, and shredded beef.  The beef was well seasoned and juicy.  The black beans were cooked well and they weren’t too watery.  My sister did point out that the black beans had white cheese on top, which is how I like them, but she said some people eat them with sugar instead, so she would ask for them to be sweetened before putting the cheese on top.  The plantains were perfect as usual with white cheese on top.  The rice, again was simple, there was nothing great about it, this time it wasn’t undercooked though.  My husband ordered the marinated churrasco, which is grilled steak with fried yucca and fries; he also ordered a side of plantains.  The beef (as before with the arepa santa Barbara) was seasoned and cooked to perfection.  And the yucca fries are delicious with the guasacaca sauces on the table.  My sister ordered the Doggi’s parrilla for one, which includes marinated churrasco, chicken and chorizo, with yucca fries.  All the protein was cooked and marinated to perfection.  We both agreed that it reminded us of my dad’s parrilla on Sundays at our grandparents’ house.  All of our plates were on the larger side, so we all had “doggibags” to go, and we all had the food the next day for lunch and we were surprised to see that it still was pretty tasty and somewhat fresh after re-heating it in the microwave.

Pabellón Criollo

Pabellón Criollo

Doggi's Parrilla

Doggi’s Parrilla

Marinated Churrasco

Marinated Churrasco

Overall I must say, if you want to experience true Venezuelan flavors, traditions, customs and ambiance, then visit Doggi’s.  What I love about it is that even though the menu seems small, you have a little bit of everything and not only do you have the typical Venezuelan dishes, but also dishes that families in Venezuela eat on a daily basis.  The servers are friendly, and you can tell that the owners are on top of their game and involved, which makes the place and the food, the best.  As I learned on my first visit, from Gabriela, Doggi’s started as a gentleman selling hotdogs from a cart in Miami, hence the name Doggi’s.  Then the gentleman, his wife and three kids opened up the restaurant down the street from where it is now.  Now, the three brothers run the place, and I even saw the mother there.  This truly makes all the difference in a place, because you can tell they put thought and care into every detail and they run an airtight family business.  The place is clean, and the service is fast.  I enjoy that they serve you with real plates and forks, it has a restaurant feel, but it is small and cozy like a fast food place, and they ARE fast. They deliver nearby and they also have take-out. You will get a true Venezuelan experience and you wont be disappointed.

The Details:
Address: 1246 SW Coral Way Miami, FL 33145
Phone Number: 305.854.6869
Website: http://www.eatdoggis.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DoggisAndMore
Twitter: https://twitter.com/doggismore
Instagram: https://instagram.com/doggis
Hours: Mon – Wed: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Fri – Sat: 10:00 am – 1:00 am
Sun: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Menu: http://www.letseat.at/doggis/menu
Categories: Venezuelan
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/doggis-venezuelan-cuisine-miami-2

Advertisements

Recipe: Yuca Sancochada o Frita | Venezuelan Boiled or Fried Cassava

4 Apr

First and foremost, DO NOT EAT RAW YUCA!  Raw yuca contains two cyanogenic glucosides called linamarin and lotaustralin, which are decomposed by linamarase, thus liberating hydrogen cyanide.  I am no chemistry expert, but this stuff is highly toxic and you could become seriously ill and it could even be deadly.
So, now that I have scared you enough, lets talk about how yummy yucca is, if you dare to eat it, he he.  You have nothing to worry about, as long as you cook the yuca before you eat it.  In Venezuela we eat it all the time, and no one that I know of has ever died from eating yuca. So, seriously, don’t worry.  Just don’t eat it raw.
Yucca is a tuberous root, and in Venezuela we eat it in several different ways.  Yuca is served boiled as a side to our delicious parrillas, rotisserie chicken, or anything you can think of.  We also add it to soups.  We fry it to make delicious yuca fries.  We even prepare it differently to make casabe, a sort of yuca cracker.  So we use it much like you would a potato.  Boiled yuca is usually served hot with a little bit of butter, or a cilantro and parsley mojo, or Guasacaca (specially when eating at parrillas).  Fried yucca is usually served as a side much like French fries, with salt, but you could definitely dip it in a delicious Venezuelan Salsa Verde as well.

Cassava (yuca) roots, the Taínos' main crop

Boiled Yuca
What you need:

– 500 gr. yuca (about 1 large or 2 pieces)
– Enough water to cover the yuca
– Salt (to taste)
– Toppings (butter, cilantro and parsley mojo, guasacaca, salsa verde, etc).
Preparation:
1. Cut the tips of the yuca, then peel it and rinse it with water.

Cut, peel and rinse.

Cut, peel and rinse.

2. In a large enough pot, add the water and the yuca (make sure the water covers the yuca entirely).  Turn the stove to high heat until the water starts boiling and then continue to cook for about 30 minutes.

Boil the Yuca

Boil the Yuca

3. Add the salt and then continue to cook for about 15 to 30 more minutes or until the yuca is soft (test like a potato), or until it starts to open up.
4. Drain the yuca and serve hot.
5. You can serve it with butter, with salt, or with a cilantro and parsley mojo, salsa verde or guasacaca.

Yuca Sancochada | Boiled Yuca

Yuca Sancochada | Boiled Yuca

Fried Yuca
What you need:

– Same as above, plus oil for frying
Preparation:
1. Follow the instructions for Boiled Yuca.

Yuca Sancochada | Boiled Yuca

Yuca Sancochada | Boiled Yuca

2. Make sure you drain the yuca right away, and then let it cool completely. Or better yet, place it in your fridge for it to cool faster.
3. Cut the yuca into sticks.

Cut

Cut

4. Heat up enough frying oil and fry the yuca sticks until golden brown all over.
5. Serve hot and sprinkle with salt.
6. You can serve with a yummy dipping sauce like Venezuelan Salsa Verde or Guasacaca.

Yuca Frita | Fried Yuca

Yuca Frita | Fried Yuca

¡Buen Provecho!

Recipe: Venezuelan Taco Night

31 Aug

Now that you have the recipes for Guasacaca, Salsa Verde and Fresh Salsa; you can have yourself a Venezuelan Taco Night.   Tacos are CLEARLY not Venezuelan.   They are Mexican, in case you didn’t know.   However, we Venezuelans do like tacos.   Unfortunately, we do not have Taco Bell in Venezuela, so most families just make their own.   My mom made the best tacos ever, and it was a treat for us.   We helped her by chopping up all the ingredients and setting up the table while she cooked the meat and the Guasacaca.   Afterwards, we played Monopoly or Telefunken (Venezuelan Card Game).   Since I don’t live in Venezuela and I like to share my Venezuelan traditions with others, I have started my own Venezuelan Taco Night tradition.   I usually invite a couple of friends over and we have some Tacos and Board Games.   So, here is the recipe, preparations, menu and everything you need to have your own Venezuelan Taco Night.

Old El Paso Taco Shells and Tortillas

Old El Paso Taco Shells and Tortillas


What you need (for about 4 adults + leftovers)

– 1 Box of 6 soft and 6 hard tacos (Old El Paso)
– 1 or 2 Bags of Tortilla Chips
– ½ Romaine Lettuce Head, chopped
– 4 Tomatoes, chopped
– 1 Cup of Mexican Cheese Blend (I like the Sorrento Brand)
– 1 Cup Sour Cream

Ingredients for Taco Beef

Ingredients for Taco Beef

Taco Beef
– 2 lbs. Ground Beef
– 1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
– 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
– 1 Tbsp. Adobo Seasoning
– 2 Baggies of Old el Paso Original Taco Seasoning

Guasacaca
Salsa Verde
Fresh Salsa

– Board Games

 

Preparation

1. Make sure you thaw the beef (I always seem to forget about this step).
2. You should condiment the beef with the soy sauce, the Worcestershire and the adobo seasoning. Mix well and let it sit.

Ground Beef

Ground Beef

3. You can go ahead and make the Salsa Verde and the Fresh Salsa, then refrigerate until everything else is ready.
4. You can also go ahead and chop all the ingredients for inside the Tacos, like the lettuce and tomatoes and place them in a bowl and inside the fridge, along with the cheese and sour cream.
5. Now go ahead and start browning the ground beef. Once it’s almost done, drain the beef, to get rid of all the oils and juices from the beef.   Now go ahead and follow the instructions on the Taco Seasoning, and add it to the beef.
6. Prepare the Guasacaca.
7. Heat up the soft and hard tacos as instructed on the box.   I usually heat up the hard tacos in my toaster-oven and “hang” them upside-down from the rack inside the oven.   This will open them up a bit.   But be careful not to “toast” them or burn them, just turn the toaster-oven on at the lowest setting for 2 minutes.   The soft tacos you can heat up 1 minute each on a pan at low temperature.   Or you can do it the lazy way and stick them all in the microwave for a minute or two.
8. Serve everything on the table and enjoy.

Venezuelan Tacos

Venezuelan Tacos

¡Buen Provecho!

Recipe: Venezuelan Guasacaca

10 Aug

This is my own version of the Venezuelan Guasacaca, which I created by modifying my mom’s recipe a bit more to my liking.   I don’t follow my own recipe every time, because I usually eyeball all the ingredients, or what we Venezuelans call “al ojo porciento”.   I usually put like double the amount of avocadoes, because well… I love avocados.   For this reason my Guasacaca never tastes the same, but every one seems to always love it.   I think the thing that makes or breaks a Guasacaca is the freshness of the ingredients.   I usually buy all the ingredients the same day or the day before I have to make it.   I also make it right before all the guests arrive… and sometimes even while the guests are arriving or already there (in true Venezuelan fashion… late).   I like getting the ingredients at a place where I know they have the freshest produce, like Whole Foods, Earth Fare, the Fresh Market and sometimes Publix.   However, you do take the risk of not finding perfectly ripe avocadoes the same day or the day before you are making your Guasacaca.   I guess you would have to know your local supermarkets very well.

Venezuelan Guasacaca Ingredients

Venezuelan Guasacaca Ingredients


Ingredients

4 whole large avocados
1 whole onion
1 whole bell pepper, you can mix yellow, red and green
2 sticks green onion, thinly sliced
2 whole tomatoes
1 handful of cilantro, thinly sliced
1-tablespoon vinegar
3-tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
1-tablespoon salt
½-tablespoon pepper
1-tablespoon limejuice

Preparation

1. Cut ½ of one of the avocados in small squares and mix it in a bowl with the onion, bell peppers, green onion, tomatoes, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
2. Using an electrical blender or food processor, puree the other avocados including half a cup of the previous mix and then add all the mix in the blender on to the remaining mix in the bowl.
3. Use the remaining 1/4 of the first avocado to cut in slices and decorate. You can include small squares of tomatoes for decoration and one or two leafs of parsley also.

Venezuelan Guasacaca

Venezuelan Guasacaca

Tips

-You can use the avocado seeds and place them inside the Guasacaca once served to help keep it fresh (I have yet to test this theory).
– In order to buy the perfect avocados just press the thinnest part of the avocado (what I would call the top) with your thumb and it should feel soft, but not too soft.
– Sometimes I puree half of all the ingredients and thinly chop the other half, and then mix them all together.   That way you have all the flavors of all the ingredients in the pureed mix and also all the colors and slices in the diced part of the mix.
– Always add more olive oil and less vinegar.   If you add too much vinegar it will taste too strong.
– Don’t store the avocados in the fridge, because they will turn black pretty quickly.
– If you think the avocados won’t be ready by the time you need them… they say you can wrap them in newspaper and they will ripen quickly (and by “they”… I mean my mom).


A more Traditional Guasacaca Recipe:

– 1 large avocado
– 2 large onions, thinly chopped
– 2 green bell peppers, thinly chopped
– 4 green onion sticks, thinly chopped
– ½ cup of vinegar
– ½ cup of olive oil
– 1-teaspoon salt
– 1-teaspoon pepper
– 1 sprig of parsley, thinly chopped
– The entire juice of one lime

Preparation

You use only half of the avocado and dice it up in little cubes, then mix it with the rest of the thinly chopped ingredients like the onion, bell peppers, green onion, and parsley.   Then add all the other ingredients like the vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and limejuice. Then take the remaining avocado and blend it or process it, along with 3 tablespoons of the previous mix.   Finally, combine everything together.   You can garnish with a little bit of diced tomatoes on top.

Check out Venezuelan born Chef George Duran’s own Guasacaca Recipe and Video

¡Buen Provecho!

La Guasacaca

3 Aug

The Guasacaca (Wah-Sah-Kaka), is a Venezuelan version of your typical Mexican Guacamole.   However, in Venezuela we use it as a lot more than just dipping sauce.   As varied as Arepa fillings, the Guasacaca can be very different depending on who’s preparing it.   Some people use some ingredients, and some people leave some ingredients out.   But the most important thing is that it must contain avocados.

The Guasacaca is also multipurpose, since we can serve it with many different things and has many different uses.   In my family, the Guasacaca ALWAYS has to be present when cooking “Parrillas”, which are simply different types of grilled beef.   The Guasacaca would be served as a “sauce” to dip your beef in, or place on top of the beef, and even on top of the other sides such as baked potatoes, Hallaquitas, Bollos, Tostones, or anything else you can think of.

Guasacaca also usually accompanies the famous “Pollo a la Brasa” or what I am guessing would be translated as either barbeque, roasted chicken, or grilled chicken.   But it is usually cooked inside a rotisserie type oven.

The Guasacaca can also be used as a simple dip to serve with chips at all kinds of parties and events.

When my mom made tacos for dinner, she would also make her famous Guasacaca and we would eat it with chips and also put it inside our tacos.

No that I live very far away from home, and I can no longer attend the usual Sunday Parrilla at my grandparent’s house, or have my dad bring home some pollo a la brasa from the Riviera brothers’ restaurant, or even have my mom make tacos with her famous Guasacaca… I guess I have to make it myself.   I usually have some friends over for “Taco Night” and make the now famous Guasacaca, and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it.

Taco Night... Featuring Venezuelan Guasacaca

Taco Night... Featuring Venezuelan Guasacaca

¡Buen Provecho!

%d bloggers like this: