WELCOME!

A life well lived has a little bit of this and a little bit of that. That’s the idea behind Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen, its signature arepas and how I approach life.

Being a native of Caracas, Venezuelan with a degree in Cultural Anthropology, I always wanted to do something that kept me connected to my heritage. I’ve achieved a big part of this dream by launching and running restaurants in San Francisco and Napa. It’s been an incredible, personal journey — one I’ve been making since 2006.

The most rewarding experience throughout has been introducing arepas to people. The expression on their face after they experience their “first time” with the crunchy corn pocket and the finger-licking, stewed fillings, is awesome!  Leave a quick shout out in the comments right below. You can subscribe to the blog in the menu above. Join me along the journey and share with me your stories, recipes and ideas. I promise to keep it interesting.

Be corny,

Adriana López Vermut – Owner Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen

(Español)

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Denise Barber Reyes Coleman - LOve Pica Pica!

Alejandro Ferrer - Adriana, tu que eres antropologa. Cual es el cuento de esas mentadas arepas hechas de maiz tierno como el de las cachapas? Yo nunca comi algo asi en Vzla, pero me las he encontrado en Nueva York y Callo Hueso en puestos callejeros, y tu las estabas sirviendo como arepas en Outsidelands. Malas no estaban, pero para mi eso no es una arepa.

Brenda Lee Thixton - Loved The Show, LOVE The Tee-Shirt even more! Wish I was closer!

Patty Boyd - Just watched Diners, Drive In, and Dives and saw Pica Pica on it and saw it was in San Francisco. I’m new to the city and knew this place was a must try. I went to the Valencia street location and loved the vibe right away and most of all my shredded beef Arepas in the white corn tortilla. Not heavy or greasy just pure fresh goodness. Next time I’m bringing the hubby. Thank you for the good food!

Sharon - The show was great. It’s exciting to see a 100% gluten free restaurant but I’m sad I’m on the East coast! Guess I need to plan a trip. :)

Adriana Lopez - Yes that might need to be the case…! I am glad you enjoyed the show, thanks for writing!

Greg Alexander - Hola A Lo, sounds like a theme song to some suprisingly great eats !
Gigi and I drove 700 miles from Sedona, Arizona en route to Ramiro and sons Taqueria in Alameda for their Authentic & super delicioso Carnitas burritos.Worth the drive !
Now we discover you on Diners,Drive-ins and Dives!
Labor Day monsoon storm kept us in today and we plan our next trip to the Bay Area & S.F. to delight our taste buds @ PICA PICA.
You appear as a Master in the Kitch and create beauty on a plate,can’t wait to get out there Oct/Nov and delight ourselves with Arepas !and everything else Venezuelan on the menu !
721 miles to go, Greg & Gigi

Adriana - Gigi and Greg- thanks for your super passionate comment! I am so excited that the show captured your interest and that the passion that we feel for what we do came through! Please keep me posted on your travel plans, it would be nice to meet you guys. Again, thanks for the beautiful message! Adriana

Fiesta Taco Grill - I can not wait to taste your food. Looks AMAZING!! Just saw you on triple D. I’m in So. Cal but now making a trip to visit San Fran is a must in the near future. Much Anticipation!

Adriana Lopez - Yay! Thanks for the comment. I assume you are a fellow restauranteur (?) so, much appreciated :) . Let me know if you do make it our way. Thanks,

Adriana

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks - Hi Adriana —

I had one of your arepas at Outside Lands a couple weeks ago, and it was out of this world! I used to live about ten blocks from Pica Pica in SF but never made it into your restaurant, and I’m so glad to have finally tried your food. So delicious.

I grew up in the SF Bay Area, and I’m a fourth generation Californian of Eastern European heritage, but I love cooking recipes from all sorts of different cuisines. I even have an arepa recipe of my own up on my blog: http://operagirlcooks.com/2012/01/20/venezuelan-arepa-recipe/

Congratulations on your segment with Guy Fieri, everything looked delicious, and it was awesome to see how you prepare some of your recipes!

Nancy Schuelke - Thanks for prompt email!
This is info I got on my facebook in case you were interested:
More info in VenMundo.com
El próximo sábado 14 de septiembre la organización Venezolanos en el Mundo (VenMundo), patrocinado por Avenext en Estados Unidos, Venezuelansk- norskforening en Noruega y los distintos restaurantes de venezolanos en el mundo, organizará el #DíaMundialDeLaArepa 2013 en el marco del II Arepazo Mundial para  homenajear  la gastronomía venezolana, a través de su principal protagonista.

christina - Hi, I love your concept! I have CD and other intolerance so I love when a restaurant actually knows about cross-contamination. I love that your 100% GF too! I wish there was one on the East coast. Are you ever planning to have one on the East coast?

Adriana Lopez - Hi Christina, thanks! One of these days we will make it out to the East Coast. For now we are in the Bay Area with 3 locations. But stay tuned, I don;t know yet what the next step will be! Adriana

Adriana Lopez - Fantastic! I love the recipe and the photo looks like they were delicious! I am in the quest of introducing the arepa as the ultimate vessel for a great filling… DON’T CALL IT A SANDWICH is my thing… because it is so much more than that. I thin that handcrafting aspect of making the arepa elevate the experience (just like anything coming fresh out of the oven). Thanks again for sharing and I hope you can make it to Pica Pica soon (let me know if you stop by). And thanks for watching the show, glad you enjoyed it! Adriana

Adriana Lopez - I look forward to hearing your feedback! On everything, please ;)

Danny - It’s football season and my friends and I tried to eyeball your recipes. Not a good idea lol. White guys shouldn’t try these recipes. Arepas?? Corn marinade

Emily - I just ordered from you guys for the first time and everything is mind blowingly ORGASMIC! It’s unlike anything I’ve ever had before and so wholesome! I cannot stress to you enough how incredibly delicious that was. I will definitely be back for more very soon! Much love <3 <3 <3

Adriana - Emily, thank you for such a wonderful comment!!!! You have no idea how meaningful it is. A comment like this is the fuel that keeps everyone in our team fueled! I am so gla you love it!!! Adriana

Jose Luis Altuve Duarte - Hola Adriana,
Lamentablemente tuve mala experiencia al consumir una arepa con pernil en PicaPica en SFO( Valencia St. ).
-
Mis sugerencias:
1) Mejorar el olor del local …huele a piso “coleteado”.

2) La arepa debe estar crispy – tostada recien hecha y servirla en un plato separada de la ensaladita que viene con ella.
De esta manera la arepa no se “enchumba” …estaba lo que llamamos en Caracas – empapada -.

3) Las tajadas …..sugiero que uses las Goya que vienen listas y bien maduritas.

4) En las bebidas debe haber algo venezolano como Chicha de Arroz, Papelon con Limon o al menos Frescolita.

Sorry for the bad feedback ..pero es creo que ademas del negocio debemos dejar en alto la gastronomia venezolana.

Reconozco tu esfuerzo en hacer conocer la arepa por el mundo.

Suerte y pesetas !

Adriana - Hola Jose Luis, gracias por tomarte el tiempo e visitarnos y visitar el blog. En cuanto a tus comentarios (siempre agradecidos, todo feedback es muy importante):

* piso ‘coleteado’- eso pasa a veces, hemos probado varios tipos de producto que no dejen olor. Seguiremos buscando opciones (a que hora fuiste/)
* totalmente de acuerdo, es asi como la describimos, crocnate por fuera y suave por dentro. Nuestra arepa es 100% artesanal, y cada una aunque trataos de que sea igual a la ideal, no lo es. Pero te agradezco el comentario de igual manera (a que hora y que dia fue?)
* Nuestras tajadas son cortadas de platano fresco. No usamos productos pre-empacados o congelados si podemos obtener producto fresco, cual es el caso con el platano. Hay veces que sale mas dulce y suave que otras, pero la prioridad es usar producto 100% fresco.
* NUestras bebidas: hemos probado chicha y papelon con limon y desafortunadamente no se venden. Nuestro publico no lo aprecia y se pierde por que se fermentan al no moverlos. Nuestra meta es servir producto fresco, de alta rotacion y evitar vender producto que se ponga malo por no moverse. Las frescolitas y la malta, pues no se consiguen aqui a una costo que tengan sentido e igualmente el publico no lo pide. Lo que si gusta y es fresco son nuestros jugos, que reflejan nuestra herencia.
* Siento lo de la arepa empapada, no deberia de ser asi pues la ensalda deberia de ser seca, servida sobre el taro. Gracias por el comentario, lo mirare.

te agradezco lo scomentarios y los llevare a la cocina para seguir manteniendo en alto nuestro trabajo de internacionalizar nuestra herencia cultural.

Gracias,

Adriana

Arianna - Que ricoo!!!… I haven’t had Venezuelan food since about 2005 last time I was in Caracas with my family, I was sad to miss the Hallacas and Pan de Jamon, but maybe next year, I had a beef cachapa and it was AMAZING, and the quesillo almost brought tears to my eyes, you guys brought me way back, thank you so much!!!!! I will definitely be back any time I’m in the Bay Area.

Steve Gordon - Never before have I been instantly captivated by anyone until I saw you. You’re lovely, talented, sensual, and clearly passionate about your food. Love the cultural anthropology as well. Getting to know people past and present is what life is about.

Keep the passion.
Your fellow chef, Steve

Adriana - Arianna:

Gracias por tu comentario y que sabroso escuchar que alguien se puede conectar a lo suyo a traves de una comida. Ese es el centro de la motivacion de este proyecto (para mi en lo personal) y no sabes el gusto que me da oir que Pica Pica te regalo eso. Gracias! Adriana

Adriana - Steve:

Thank you for such a nice comment! I am so glad that the passion behind this project came through the show! Youa re generous with your ‘piropos’! I am only doing alittle piece of work in trying to let people know about our wonderful traditions through food! Thanks and I hope you make it to Pica Pica!

Adriana

Ravuth - I am here because I saw your video on YouTube on annatto seed.
I made the oil. Is it suppose to be that bitter?

Adriana - The annatto seed does have a flavor, but it is subtle. If the oil boils and the seeds burn then the taste will indeed turn bitter. It is not necessary to boil the oil to get the seeds to release the natural dye. As soon as it is hot you can lower the flame to low and let the seeds cook in it for a few minutes then you can turn the flame off. Leave the seeds in the oil until it cools down and strain. The seeds will continue to release door in the hot oil. And you should get a very mild flavor not a bitter one.

I hope this helps!
Adriana

Linda Lou Harris - I first saw you last fall on triple D. We were going to be visiting our son & his family for Christmas in San Jose, CA. Your restaurant was top on my list to visit & it was fabulous! An entire restaurant that was GF & delicious :-) . I just found your blog & hope to learn alot. Ty

Roberto Callarotti - Hola Adriana
Aunque naci en Boston y ahora vivo en Montreal me pase treinta años de mi vida en Venezuela. Por pura casulidad vi hace unos dias el episodio de ddd donde apareciste. Mayor grata sorpresa ver arepas en the food network. Tengo una pregunta: cuando preparaste la masa le pusiste manteca crisco I guess, por que? No horneas las arepas despues de la plancha? Felicitaciones y éxito.
Roberto.

Robin - Watched the show and knew I needed to try the food your serving. I am celiac and you being 100% gluten free is awesome. Only problem is I live on Northern Vancouver Island in BC. So this July I’m coming to San Fransisco to fulfill my food fantasy. I can’t wait!!!

Husband of a Venezuelan - Love the recipes. I now have experience in guiso and hallacas last holiday. I want to suprise her with something new. I’m having trouble picking sweet ripe plantains. Could you give me some tips?

Vincent - I am making hallaca Venezuela my Grandmother passed away I made hallacas with her one time we are venezuelian I seen your video it looks the same but I don’t remember salt pork but she made with hens no pork or beef how do you cook the pork and beef and is it pork butt and what kind of beef thank you for your response.

Georges Colin - Buenos dias yo estuvo en Venezuela Zulia Maracaibo hace mucho 1948 desde entonces yo no había encontrado un lugar que hacia Arepa pero el cartero me dio de Napa Pica Pica fuimos hoy no estaba que mala suerte pero aprovechamos muchas veces antes nuestra comida ya se fue que lastima Le deseo muchas suerte un saludo gracias por las arepas tan deliciosas que viva Venezuela yo le debo muchos Felicidad GC Estuvo en Bachaquero 5 Anos

Adriana Lopez | bringing the arepa to the world

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max harper - if this email goes to the lady that appeared with foodnetworks guy feiri, i just had to comment, i was so impressed with your beauty and personality, it was nice to see.

Adriana Lopez - Thank you! I really appreciate the comment and of course, I am flattered! Thank you!
Adriana

Denise - You should write a cook book….fascinating! We need you in Hawaii! Maybe, someday!

Anonymous - If you are not married I will move and marry you you are so gorgeous!