At the Coupa

dinner - gluten free - restaurant - vegetarian

I’ve been wanting to try Coupa Cafe since Ameena and I had planned to meet there back in 2010

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…last night I finally got my chance. Owner Camelia Coupal invited me and a guest for dinner on the house!

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Since I was first to arrive, I had time for a private tour – there’s a large, outdoor patio (Julius friendly!!!)

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Cozy fireplace lounge (too warm yesterday) with live music every Thursday evening

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The view from the upstairs dining nook (for private parties/meetings/etc.)

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We sat indoors, on the main floor

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Originally, I had hoped Ameena would be my date, but we couldn’t make our schedules work. Abe came instead…

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…so we ordered everything meat-free! The menu is quite extensive…

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…we stuck to the Venezuelan specialties. Camelia is also a vegetarian, so I just went with her suggestions…

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…so glad I did – these were the best appetizers ever!

Yucca fries – my new love. Sturdy, crisp, chewy…

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…I used all three dipping sauces (even though you aren’t “supposed” to)

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The fried queso duro wrapped in sweet fried plantain made me swoon…

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…as did these mini corn griddle pancakes (I left the queso de mano off of one)

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Next up – my very first Arepa ever, served with a side salad

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Grilled eggplant, Caramelized Onion, Heirloom Tomato (yup, vegan)

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This griddled cornmeal is wheat/gluten-free, but can get very messy!

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Abe and I passed it back and forth between forkfuls of greens

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Our last dish to share was the Pabellon, a quintessential Venezuelan meal

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We worked on the fried stuff first…

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…just a taste of the rest, since those would hold up as leftovers

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Everything was delicious – I was impressed with how many choices there were, and how different everything tasted, despite sounding similar on the menu page. I also loved that most items could be veganized – though I did wind up adding a little cheesy, creamy goodness onto my food.

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Coupa Cafe’s dessert menu is also pretty large (with everything from sundaes to brownies to crepes) but Camelia said the must-try was their Tres Leches…

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…cake soaked in three milks, topped with meringue

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Extra long spoon for some deep layers of yum

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I was stuffed after devouring 2/3 of that dessert (and THAT was the mini size!)

Digested with a little tea…

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…Abe ordered an espresso

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That’s another very special thing – the family started the business in Caracas during the early 90’s to revive the Venezuelan coffee tradition. All their beans are purchased for well-above-fair-trade-prices – directly from the farmers – grown organically and sustainably especially for Coupa Cafe. This is the only place in the world, outside of Venezuela, that you can experience this coffee.

Well – here, and also at their locations in Palo Alto/Stanford:

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Right now there is a special dineLA menu for Restaurant Week – a good excuse to give them a shot…

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…with all the delicious food, cozy ambiance, free wifi, brunch/lunch/happy hour options, I’ll definitely be back for more soon (hopefully with Ameena!)

Have you ever eaten Venezuelan food before?

Coupa Cafe on Urbanspoon

  • http://hrcktheherald.wordpress.com HRCK the Herald

    That looks like such an amazing meal! I haven’t ever been to an official Venezuelan restaurant, but I’ve had some of the things that you got to try (yucca fries, arepas, etc).

  • http://idreamofgreenie.wordpress.com idreamofgreenie

    I’ve been here for coffee but never dined there… I LOVE yucca fries and now that I know they even have vegan arepas (another love of mine), I will need to eat there!

  • http://www.acaseoftheruns.com Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    No, but that tres leches cake might bring me over there… cue the Lactaid x3.

  • http://www.onannasplate.com Anna @ On Anna’s Plate

    I’ve never had Venezuelan food before– but it looks awesome!!

  • http://iflipforfood.com Angela

    That looks AMAZING, even to a carnivore like me! I will have to drag Mark soon.

  • http://myp3r.wordpress.com P3R

    Reblogged this on P3R Publicity and commented:
    P3R’s client Coupa Cafe gets a Rave Review!

  • http://www.backyardbite.com Amy

    Oh, man, had I known you were going I would have recommended the Spicy Mayan Hot Chocolate and the Tequeños (Venezuelan cheese sticks)… both soooo good! Love Coupa!

    • http://theactorsdiet.wordpress.com Lynn at The Actors Diet

      yum! next time!

  • http://huggerfood.blogspot.com Vegyogini

    This isn’t far from where I work. I’m definitely going to look into which menu items can be made vegan!

  • http://www.wineandbutter.com/ Em (Wine and Butter)

    That food looks so so so good! I miss Californian style cuisine. ALSO – we have the same engagement ring – Ive never seen another one with lots of little diamonds instead of one single one. Great taste eh…?

    • http://theactorsdiet.wordpress.com Lynn at The Actors Diet

      how funny – it was my mom’s wedding ring (now mine) – she’s had it since the 70’s!

  • http://aspiringeverything.wordpress.com Nicole

    Yum, I recently tried tres leches for the first time and now I am hooked.

  • http://tableforglasses.com Amanda

    I want to try it! I’m always interested in trying new foods. And I love the fact that the arepas are gluten-free. How exciting! Tres leches…oh lord.

  • http://fancythatfancythis.wordpress.com Ameena

    I’m so sad I missed it…Coupa is a fabulous restaurant! Love their coffee and now I’m inspired to go back. With you of course!

    Happy Friday Lynn. :)