I love carnival food but hate carnivals. Street fairs, though, the type that pop up in New York on weekends during the warm weather months, are cool with me. All of the corn-on-the-cob, gyros and funnel cake I could ask for with none of the roaring rollercoasters, tacky arcade games or screaming children. What’s not to like?
Flaneur and I were recently on our way to get lunch with a friend when we stumbled upon a street fair running along the stretch of Third Avenue near our apartment. I saw a carnival food classic I more closely associate with my Miami upbringing and I had to have it. I beelined toward the small stand under a banner proclaiming: “Arepas.”
“But we’re having lunch soon,” Flaneur said hesitantly, looking down at the yellow, pancake-like arepa I was seconds later holding on a paper plate.
“Then think of this as an appetizer.”
I chomped down and took the first bite of the hot, cornmeal patty. Thick strings of melted mozzarella oozed out of it beautifully. The moist, sweet cornmeal danced around in my mouth with the tangy saltiness of the cheese.
In a few back and forth mouthfuls, the arepa was devoured and all that was left was the lone paper plate and a smudge of cooking oil.
“Well, alright,” I said wiping my hands on a thin napkin, “let’s go get some lunch.”