Thursday, April 4, 2013

Gluten Free Raleigh - Guasaca Arepa and Salsa Grill

Marc and Marie told me about their visit to Gausaca late last year and when they described the Guasaca sauce I knew I had to get there. Somehow life kept getting between me and that yummy sauce until today. Gausaca is sort of a Venezuelan Chipotle with a choose your own menu of meats, beans, salsas, etc. They are located on Lake Boone Trail right off the belt-line and near Rex Hospital. It's bright and sunny and there's a nice patio outside when the weather is nice, which is certainly was not today.

After a week of roofers pounding over my head I was able to sneak away while Chris and Joe held down the fort and meet with Laura at Guasaca. God has placed such an amazing group women in my life and each one is so unique and special to me. While Laura and I love the Lord we also love sharing good food as evidenced by her thanking God for our taste buds during her grace.

The Guasca menu is really straight forward - you choose your own arepas, salads and rice bowls. Arepas are wonderful little corn flour flat breads - like small pitas but without wheat - that are filled with wonderfully tempting goodies. However, they are NOT gluten free so you'll have to skip them and get a rice bowl or salad. While they look delicious and Laura enjoyed her arepa I was so happy with my rice bowl I didn't feel the least bit deprived. 

I had emailed Guasaca in January before our first attempt to get there and Heli wrote right back to let me know the only item on the menu that is not gluten free are the arepas. Because you choose your own meats, beans, rices and toppings (23 in total) there are dozens of ways to enjoy salads and bowls. Everything is really fresh and healthy - fast but not fast food. 

Laura went first and her bowl looked so good I just followed her lead....for a while. We both started out with brown rice, black beans, plantains (SO GOOD!) and caramelized onions but we took a big detour when it came to salsas. I admit to be just a wee bit horrified to discover my dear friend doesn't like avocados. It literally stopped me in my tracks - avocados are my happy food, a super food and this Guasaca sauce really makes the most of them. But back to our bowls....mine had a generous scoop of Guasaca sauce and the creamy cilantro sauce on the side while Laura picked a few others, a taste of coleslaw and a plain arepa on the side.

While there is a similarity to Chipotle, as mentioned, the end result is a much different meal. The plantains, if you haven't had them before, look like bananas but have more of a potato texture and an earthy flavor. They're full of vitamins and minerals oh so good. The Guasaca sauce is a thick, mild salsa with chopped avocado and just amazingly good. I could eat it with a spoon all by itself and be happy. I couldn't have been more delighted with my meal and can't wait to get Chris and Joe here. I hope you'll try it soon!

Lunch flew by quickly and before I knew it I was heading home in the rain and thankful the roofers were done and for a new roof to keep our house dry. 

I brought up these sweet flowers from Laura's yard to brighten up my craft room/office/guestroom. Aren't they beautiful? A sweet reminder of a very nice time.


gabbyfek said...

yum. yum. YUM.
and i love laura's flower brooch!

leah said...

I am also horrified to know that anyone could not like avocados. It did, of course, take me 38 years to even try one myself.

You make me want to come to North Carolina to eat. :)

chacha said...

We'll go together soon!

Yes, that is such a beautiful flower! I knew you and Marie would love it. :-)


chacha said...

Leah, that reminds me of beets. Never tried one until I was 50 and loved them. At least you didn't wait that long to try an avocado. :-)

Come to California and we'll go!!! xoxo

Laura said...

Yes! That was so yummy and fun! I will write my review tomorrow or Monday because we are going BACK tomorrow night for dinner with company. 😜Yahoo!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Delicious and fun times! Everything looks great. Love those gorgeous daffodils. :-)


chacha said...

Laura - Chris and I went at lunch. He loved it. Especially the hot red sauce you liked so much.

chacha said...

Shirley, thank you! Those daffodils still look just as gorgeous today. =D

Heguberto said...

I would for sure enjoy this place.
Rice and beans combo is staple at home and we dress it with a variety of sides, just like this restaurant. Too bad your friend does not like avocados.... well it takes all kinds to make the world :)
Cool post!