Photo by Caitlin Abrams
I think Hola Arepa is the best food truck restaurant we have, and that’s high praise considering the quality coming out of Foxy Falafel and World Street Kitchen, among others. But Christina Nguyen’s brunch menu has helped Hola graduate from a great food truck restaurant, to just a great restaurant.
It’s busy, fun, lively. The breakfast drinks are flowing (never more than a budget-friendly $8.50), and the room is full of foodies, neighbors, and families.
WHAT TO ORDER
I’d start with the fried chicken & cachapas, which are Hola’s version of red-hot chicken and waffles. Cachapas are a Venezuelan snack, a little sweeter than an arepa, which come topped with perfectly fried chicken, an egg, bacon, gooseberries, and jalepeño. So many wonderful flavors in one dish ($13).
The fried yuca hash is beautiful: bright pinks and purples served with a zippy chorizo sausage, black beans, and a great tamarind-ancho sauce ($12). I love chilaquiles, and these are some of my favorites because they taste so distinctly Hola with Christina’s tomatillo salsa and the same pickled onion radish you see on some of the regular arepas ($11).
The sofrito potatoes ($5.50) are full of flavor, coated in the Puerto Rican sofrito sauce made with bell peppers, garlic, olive, and capers. It’s earthy and acidic thanks to a citrus crema.
THERE’S A KIDS MENU
I’m not one who believes there should be a kids’ menu everywhere that serves brunch, but I sure appreciate the opportunity to spend just $5 or $6 on my kids’ meals so I can have an extra drink.
Sam had a ham and cheese arepa that came with a side of chips and salsa, Seth went for black bean and cotija cheese. Happy kids make happy parents.
It’s hard to resist the regular drink menu. Blood Lines with tequila, gin, and cocchi rosa has that great bitter quality, and the Hola Fashioned with rum is always a hit. But go for the Bloody Mary—it has the same Puerto Rican sofrito that’s in the potato side dish.
Hola is one of the best brunches in the Twin Cities right now. Period. Serving Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., you have no excuse. Get there soon!
3501 Nicollet Ave., Mpls., holaarepa.com