Earlier this year, my friends Lisa, Melissa and I were looking for somewhere to meet and catch up with each other. Melissa suggested a few places near her in Pasadena (California), and one of them was a place that served hot chocolate. That quickly became our pick, and we met there on Saturday afternoon.
I arrived first, and since I left the house early that morning, I was hungry. Not knowing if we would be ordering only hot chocolate or food too, I decided to try an empanada while I waited for Lisa and Melissa to arrive.
It was the perfect size for a small snack, but you could also order several to make a full meal.
Although I wanted sipping chocolate, I needed some caffeine, so I decided to try a cacao latte, but I had choices as to how dark I wanted the chocolate in my mocha to be, a choice I never had before! I am a big fan of dark chocolate, so I ordered my cacao latte with the 61% dark chocolate. According to Amara’s menu, the chocolate is paired with Guatemalan espresso. It was the perfect combination of chocolate and espresso flavors with a hint of sweetness.
While waiting, I realized that Amara Cafe was not simply a pastry cafe but a Venezuelan cafe – the empanadas on the menu was one clue. There was a selection of the usual sandwich combinations, but at the register, an ipad displayed photos of other menu items. One thing that caught my eye was a tortilla that seemed to be covered with beans and plantains. There were also churros on the menu! I did not expect that. I knew I wanted to order some but decided to wait to see if Lisa and Melissa were interested in sharing some too.
Melissa arrived next, and while she was looking at the menu, she too noticed the tortilla photo and was intrigued. We decided to order that to share and learned that in addition to the beans and plantains there was beef and cheese as well. It is called an arepa, a Venezuelan corn flat-bread. We ordered La De Pabellon which included the arepa, shredded beef, white cheese, black beans and plantains.
When it arrived at our table, we split it between the three of us (by this time Lisa joined us) – it might make a main entree for dinner, but with both beans and meat, it is pretty filling for one person for lunch. It was delicious – the sweetness of the corn tortilla and plantains balanced nicely with the meat and beans. So, so good!
After finishing that, we had our next big decision – how many churros to order, and with what sauces? We decided on six to share with dark chocolate and nutella sauces.
Churros con chocolate -mmm the perfect morning, lunch, mid-afternoon or late night treat!
We were all surprised by this little cafe in the heart of old town Pasadena. While there is typical cafe fare, the Venezuelan menu items – especially the chocolate – give it something to stand out. Read more about Amara’s chocolates on their website.
The space is small, but we were able to find a table with ease to enjoy our orders. There was a steady stream of customers coming in for food to sit and eat or a drink to have on the go.
I would recommend visiting this unique cafe and trying some of their Venezuelan delicacies and chocolates!
55 South Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone (626) 744-1765
90 min Free Parking