Review: Zaguan Bakery Y Cafe

Padded ledges counting as seating: 4

Times my stomach punched me for not ordering fresh-squeezed papaya juice: 20 million

I know three things about Venezuela:


Zaguan Bakery Y Caf�

2604 Oak Lawn Ave.


1) It began as a small town, and because Syesha Mercado told it that if it believed in itself, it could do anything, it grew up to become the world's fifth leading producer of disposable grapes.

2) Its capital, Montpelier, is hosting the 2008 Summer Booblympic Games.

3) The Venezuelan Top Hat was invented there by your mom. She says it's a doozy.

So, even though I don't speak Venezuelanese, I know enough about the culture to hang with the Venezuelan food eaters of the Zaguan Bakery Y Café. I totally knew what I was in for when I ordered the cachapas, which are decorative assless pants that traditionally have maracas painted all over them, which you wear over your jeans while you eat. Or, so I had hoped. Turns out, my cachapa was a corn pancake-y thing filled with briskety beef and a ton of cheese and then folded over and smushed together the same way I make a one-slice PB&J fold-over. Only this fold-over was about three times the size of a PB&J fold-over and 20 times as good. Somehow, it totally topped my assless chap expectations. It came with a side of plantains (Spanish for "Holy fucking fuck, these Not Bananas are the bomb"), which I love. But, if you're not a fan of fried plantains, get a side of fruit. It's like that syrupy Dole fruit cup you always wished your mom loved you enough to include in your school lunches, only better, because it comes with mangoes and cantaloupes and all kinds of other unexpected fruitery.

To drink, I ordered an iced tea and found out in one spit take (OK, two) that it wasn't for me. I am not a fan of whatever gingery, lemony tea vibe The Zag was throwing my way. But, it's probably not Zaguan's fault. Ginger and I have some longstanding unresolved issues. (Starting with the fact that ginger sucks and ending with the fact that I'm right. Whatever. Shut up, Ginger. You taste of Pine Sol and you smell of butt.)


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