My fellow artist mommy friend and her daughter recently took my kiddies and me to Café Bolívar after we parted ways from an even bigger kiddie meet up at the local yogurt shoppe.
She frequented Café Bolívar because of its ambiance, the awesome selection of freshly pressed juice, the coffee and, of course, the arepas — a corn-based Venezuelan dish from the northern region of South America, all carefully prepared in the Caracas tradition.
While my kiddies enjoyed a perfectly flaky Pain de Chocolat, my friend was kind enough to share some of her yummy, freshly-pressed passionfruit juice with me. Delicious!
We also treated ourselves to a serving of arepas. I can only compare the size of arepas to that of a small Western hamburger slider. The taste of these arepas, however, cannot be compared to anything else. The cornmeal used to make these mini-pocket sandwiches, complimented well with the filling. By way of reference, I ordered the Caribbean-Style Black Bean/Fresh White Cheese arepa and the Premium Cooked Ham/Shredded Fresh White Cheese arepa. A delicious cilantro-based dipping sauce accompanied my order, which further enhanced the flavors of the arepas.
She also wanted to take me to Café Bolívar because local artists often use the space as an art gallery. Today, we were treated to Tiffany Saito’s Dreamcatcher Installation, a series of dreamcatchers she was inspired to create to soothe her daughter’s nightmares. It was great to see how much work Ms. Saito put into this art installation after her long absence from being a globetrotting artist.
Finally, my friend introduced me to a mural that one of her personal friends recently painted on the exterior of Café Bolívar.
“Wait, this looks very similar to one of the Beautify Lincoln murals I recently took pictures of. Did your friend also create one of those murals off Lincoln?” I asked.
“Why, yes.” She then tells me about how Karen’s process as an artist helped her branch out into other mediums. I later check out Ms. Kinney’s work and was blown away by her creations.
Café Bolívar is not just one of the local coffee shops that sprung up in Santa Monica. It has been up and running for over ten years, and it has no plans to go away (thank goodness). It is a unique venue for artists to showcase their recents works and it is also a wonderful dining place for those seeking something different from the usual morning or afternoon fare. Those arepas, for instance, were awesome.
If you don’t take my word for it, feel free to check out Café Bolívar yourself. You will be in for a treat, or two.
1741 Ocean Park Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Tiffany Saito, Dreamcatcher Installation
Karen Kinney, Fine Artist
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