GLOSSARY

Our core ingredients are corn, yuca, plantains and taro root. These are the four foundational ingredients of our food, and the basis of traditional Venezuelan cuisine.

Pica Pica (pee-kah pee-kah)

roughly translates as “A little bit of this, a little bit of that.” In Spanish, Picar has multiple meanings: hens peck; spicy; to eat little bits of different foods.

Arepa (ah-ray-pah)

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Ours is the Venezuelan arepa. It is a grilled corn pocket, crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside; cut length-wise and stuffed with savory goodness. You can enjoy the classic white made with Harina P.A.N. or the sweet yellow made out of fresh sweet corn.

Bululú (boo-loo-loo)

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This salad is a burst of tropical freshness, made with roasted corn kernels, red bell peppers, daikon spouts, jicama and bits of pineapple with passion fruit vinaigrette. Bululú in Venezuelan vernacular means a very noisy gathering!

Buñuelos (boon-nuay-los)

Buñuelos (boon-nuay-los) Also called beignets

Also called beignets, these are very Latin, but with a decidedly European influence. It is a fried ball of dough, flavored with sweet or savory ingredients and topped with something sweet. Ours are made with yuca and queso fresco, and are 100% gluten free.

Cachapas (ka-chóp-az)

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A corn pancake or crèpe made out of sweet yellow corn. You can feel the corn kernels in every bite (and in doing so, be transported back to earlier times, when the dough was made originally by pounding the corn kernels with a stone). In Venezuela the cachapa is usually eaten for breakfast and filled with white cheese. At Pica Pica, it is offered all day long since we find its sweetness is well-balanced with the different savory fillings available on our menu.

Catira (ka-tee-ra)

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A chicken and vegetable stew presenting the traditional sweet, savory and spicy flavors of the “Cocina de Caracas,” reminiscent of the “guiso de hallacas,” topped with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.

Empanada (em-pah-na-dah)

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In Spanish, empanar means to wrap or coat in bread. The Empanada is a stuffed bread that is baked or fried. Ours are made of corn flour, filled with shredded beef or cheese, and fried. We like to serve them small, easy to share or as a starter.

Guasacaca (wá-sa-ka-ka)

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Venezuela’s version of Guacamole but without tomatoes. Ours has chunky avocado, red onions, green peppers, garlic, cilantro, lime and a splash of our secret Pica’pun hot sauce!

Mojo (mo-ho)

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. . .a spicy pickled vinegar used throughout Venezuela and much of South America. Presentations vary, as in the Andres it has a dairy base (ajicero de leche) and looks milky. The most common version is what we serve in the glass condiment carafes on each table at Pica Pica. Not too spicy, it’s a great addition to soups or meat fillings if you are looking for a bit more brightness in flavors, or for your lost mojo. . . .

Pabellón (pah-bay-yon)

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One of our most popular fillings, pabellón consists of shredded skirt steak, black beans and sweet, fried plantains. This filling is the national dish in Venezuela, since it is representative of the mestizaje (ethnic and cultural mix) of our heritage. The soft, stew-style shredded skirt steak represents the Spanish influence; the black beans and the plantains reflect our Afro-Caribbean roots; and the arepa is our daily bread, a contribution of our indigenous tribes. Any hint of spice is a signature of the Lopez family recipe book.

Pepeada (peh-peh-ah-dah)

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Better known in Venezuela as “La Reina Pepeada” or “SpotterCurvy Queen.” The story goes that this arepa filling was named after Susana Duijm, Miss World 1955, the first South American woman to ever hold the title. Pepeada refers to beautiful and voluptuous. This filling calls for slowly braised chicken, shredded and mixed with avocado, green bell pepper, Serrano peppers, red onions, cilantro, lime and a few other kickers that make this one of Pica Pica’s (and Venezuela’s!) top sellers.

Pernil (per-neel)

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A slow-cooked, oven-roasted pork shoulder. We pull it to make it easier to eat as a filling inside the arepa. Our flavors are typical Venezuelan, with sweet and citrus aromas. It is served with sliced tomatoes, avocado and garlic aioli. It’s proven to be one of Pica Pica’s best sellers!

Pica’Pun (pee-ka-poon)

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Pica Pica’s signature hot sauce and an original Leopoldo López recipe. Venezuelan cookery doesn’t have strong traces of spicy hotness, but sometimes a little kick finds its way into stews and slow braised meats. Due to popular demand we decided to take the Pica’Pun out of the kitchen and share it with you on the table. Enjoy and be forewarned, pica mucho!

Quesillo (keh-see-yoh)

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The Venezuelan crème caramel, with eggs, caramel and condensed milk. We add coconut as a nod to our tropical roots. It is dense, creamy and light and a perfect palate cleanser to end a good meal.

Tajadas (tah-ha-das)

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Sweet, ripe plantains sliced and fried(we wait until the skin is black, which means the inside is sweet).  We serve sweet plantains as a side. But it is also a crucial ingredient inside the arepa and cachapa, as it balances the savory slow braised meats or grilled tofu with our various sauces and the crunch or sweetness of the corn pockets.

Taro (tah-ro)

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Known in Venezuela as ocumo or nabo chino, taro is a starchy root originating from Asia. It came to Venezuela through the West Indies and it is usually eaten boiled in stews. It has purplish pigments and should not be eaten raw.

Tostones (tos-toh-nehs)

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A popular South American and Caribbean side dish, also known as patacones. They are sliced and smashed green plantains, fried twice for optimal crispiness.

Vegetariana (veh-heh-tar-ee-ah-na)

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Pica Pica’s creation of a vegetarian filling that provides a unique combination of sweet and savory flavors present in the arepa’s traditional meat fillings.

Yuca (yu-ka)

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This starchy root, properly called cassava, is a tropical plant eaten as a main source of carbohydrates. The flour made out of yuca is tapioca. Pica Pica’s yuca fries are certifiably addictive.