Coupa Cafe 538 Ramona St./University Ave., (650) 322-6872. B-L-D daily; $.
Located within a historical 1930s Spanish Colonial building with a tile floor, wood-beamed ceiling, and fireplace in a red-walled, skylighted back room, this casual spot is a branch of the original café in Caracas, Venezuela. Order at the counter, then select seating in the cozy interior or on the outside front patio. When seating is tight, as it often is, sit anywhere and then move when a better spot opens up.
|entrance to Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto, California|
|atmospheric back room at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto, California|
The kitchen serves up hot breakfasts, salads, soups, wraps, pastas, crepes, Caribbean-style empanadas (my favorite is the pabellon made with carne mechada shredded beef, black beans, sweet fried plantains, loleta cheese, and tasty Venezuelan sauces),
|pabellon empanada at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto, California|
and arepas—traditional Venezuelan white-cornmeal griddle cakes with a variety of fillings (my favorite is the cami made with fresh white cheese, sweet fried plantains, and avocado).
|cami arepa at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto, California|
Picture-perfect pastries and hand-made Venezuelan chocolate bonbons perch invitingly in glass cases,
|chocolates display case at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto, California|
and drinks include coffees made with patio-dried fair-trade Venezuelan beans and a velvety, spicy Maya hot chocolate--all available either hot or iced. Branches are located all around the town.
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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers