Pica Pica Maize Kitchen in Napa and San Francisco: A SacFoodies Day Trip and Arepa Recipe
Dan Stevens, a member of the Fleishman-Hillard San Francisco office, shared a fun food spot with us that he recommends checking out if you happen to be in the Napa or San Francisco area.
Venezuelans eat arepas 24/7. This pita-like, corn-based bread is grilled, sliced horizontally and stuffed with a variety of fillings—meat, cheese, plantains, beans, veggies or even tofu.
This Venezuelan staple is now available right here in California, at the Pica Pica Maize Kitchen in Napa and San Francisco. Pica Pica is co-owned by Caracas, Venezuela natives and father/daughter team Leopoldo Lopez Gil and Adriana Lopez Vermut. They serve a variety of arepas, as well as sides such as Yuca fries, empanadas, soups and salads. If you enjoy Latin-style fare, it’s a great change from a burrito or taco. Plus, since arepas are corn-based, Pica Pica is also naturally 100 percent gluten-free.
If you’re looking to bring a taste of Venezuela into your own kitchen, here is an arepa recipe from Pica Pica that’s relatively easy and fun to make with kids, too:
Yields: 9-10 servings
2 cups corn flour (Masa AREPA or Harina PAN, found in specialty Latin stores)
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups water, heated to a boil
Combine flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Add water and mix to form a soft dough. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead for 5-10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Shape dough into arepas (about the shape and size of an English muffin). Cover to keep from drying until ready to grill.
Cook arepas on a hot grill (tap center of an arepa to determine doneness; it is ready when it sounds hollow), approximately 5 minutes on each side. Take warm arepa, cut in half lengthwise and insert desired fillings.
Pica Pica Maize Kitchen
401 Valencia Street (@ 15th Street)
San Francisco, CA
610 First Street (Oxbow Public Market)