*Disclaimer: First Baptist Church is not affiliated with, nor does it necessarily endorse any of the restaurants that are discussed in these posts. These are just the personal opinions of the blog writer and are meant only for information and fun.
Arepazo Latin Foods 904 Knox Abbott Drive Cayce, SC
A couple Saturdays ago (9-24-16) a new Latin restaurant opened near my house in Cayce. I made plans with Kara (of the First College Ministry) on Sunday to go that Monday for lunch. My only previous experience with Colombian/Venezuelan cuisine was when I got talked into cooking a Colombian meal for the weekly free International lunch a few years ago at the BCM when I worked in College and International Ministry. The only information I had was what two Columbian exchange students told me that their mothers said to do and Google to fill in the rest. I was told that I managed to make it fairly authentic, but have never had anything to compare it to. Until now!
Columbia has now been graced with a Colombian *see what I did there?* (South American to be more broad and actually the owners are from Venezuela, but that didn’t work with my pun) presence. Arepazo Latin Food is a humble space, but inviting. English is not their strong suit, but that is a good sign! Pointing, nodding, and smiling work just as well as talking.
With plenty of choices of arepas (cornmeal patties stuffed with all kinds of deliciousness), empanadas, sandwiches, and breads, the food is fantastic. The staff is very friendly and helpful as well. If you’re confused on what to order, they will give you suggestions and explain the menu to you. Or you can just let them pick out some stuff for you. I’m not really sure that you can go wrong.
Kara and I ended up ordering the same thing. We got the Catira arepa, which is shredded chicken and cheese. We also got a Venezuelan empanada filled with shredded beef. They brought out a garlic mayonnaise dip for the empanadas as well, which was SO GOOD. Jorge, who owns the place with his sister (according to the Free Times), came by to see if we liked our food. We told him that it was quite good. “You wouldn’t be lying?” he asked. “Clean plates don’t lie,” I responded.
Wednesday I had plans to get lunch with my friend Kerry, and she saw my Instagram post about going to Arepazo. She wanted to try it and I had no problem with that. So back I went for more arepas and empanadas. #noshame. When we came in, Jorge looked at me and said, “You were here earlier this week, weren’t you?” I confirmed and told him that I wasn’t lying to him about the food being good. I tried the mini arepitas, which is what I suggest if you want to try a little of everything. It’s four smaller arepas with different fillings. Because I’m in love with empanadas, I ordered the Colombian one to try. This time, they brought out a dipping sauce that I think is vinegar based with cilantro. It was even better than the garlic sauce. I wish that I could order a large bottle of it. I’d love to try to marinade some pork in it. I’m pretty sure that it would be divine. Oh, and in case you’re wondering if they have some meatless options, they do. Kerry is a vegetarian and had an easy time finding options that she liked. So, this is a place that should make most everyone in your group happy.
There’s a bread brand called Ezekiel 4:9. Have you heard of it? It’s pretty good (as in healthy) bread and is inspired from the verse Ezekiel 4:9. I chuckle when I see it in the store though because I know the story of Ezekiel. This prophet was given the weird assignments. God used him as a visual to what God was about to do to His people as punishment. Ezekiel had to lie on his left side for 390 days, one day representing a year of Israel’s punishment. Once that was over, he had to turn on his right side and lie on it for 40 days, one day representing a year of Judah’s punishment. Of course, even when you’re dramatically illustrating the punishment that nations are about to receive, a guy still has to eat. In Ezekiel 4:9-12 (mouse over the verses to read them), God tells Ezekiel what he is to eat each day. What was that last part though? He had to bake the bread over human dung?! That might negate the health benefit of those super grains. Well, Ezekiel begs God to not make him eat cakes over human dung. God relents and tells him to use cow dung instead. Ezekiel didn’t test God’s patience anymore and went with it.
I always think of Ezekiel as having the most difficult prophet job out of the whole lot. Maybe Hosea comes close, but these are just my opinions. No matter, I’m amazed not just of what God requires of this prophet, but that Ezekiel does not complain when he’s told what to do. He just does it. And we get bent out of shape when we are asked to give extra hours to volunteering at church or in the community! While the whole point of the book of Ezekiel isn’t that Ezekiel didn’t complain when told to do crazy things, I do want to learn from his example. I’m forced to do a heart check when I read through the books of the prophets and often find that I’m lacking in willingness and faith. The sad thing is, the requirements for me, at least thus far, have not been anywhere near as difficult.
It is my prayer for myself (and you) that we walk in faith without complaint. Let’s be diligent in our work for the Lord, keeping our eyes on Him and His purposes.
Have A Seat At Our Table
Let’s chat! Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below. If you are a church member and restaurant owner and would like for us to come visit your restaurant, e-mail me here. Or, if there’s a place you’d like for us to check out before you spend your money, let us know in the comments below. We want to hear from you!
Hi! I’m April. I work on staff here at FIRST designing a bunch of things for print and Web. I believe that world peace can be achieved over a pan of fresh baked biscuits and everyone coming to faith in Jesus. Ok, really it’s just Jesus, but the biscuits help.