Before my trip to Atlanta for work I had researched a pretty decent list of gluten-free options. Unfortunately some of the most desirable ones (especially gluten-free bakeries) were far out in the suburbs. I was able to get around for my meetings walking, Ubering, or taking Marta, so I didn’t have a rental car to go all the way out there. I was luckily still able to find some great options just a short Uber ride away from my hotel in downtown like Yeah! Burger (the biggest winner of my trip with gluten-free friend chicken sandwich) and a favorite from an earlier trip- Chick-a-Biddy.
There was however one restaurant- Arepa Mia- that came on my radar that was along my walk from my hotel to where I was having several meetings. Arepas (corn pancakes stuffed with fillings) are probably one of my favorite foods. First off, they’re just delicious and incorporate a lot of Latin flavors that I love (corn, meat, cheese). Secondly, they have an almost bready/gluten-y feel to them, but they’re made out of corn and gluten-free (usually)! Generally I wouldn’t focus too much on trying arepas (or Latin food in general) while traveling, since I can have that all the time in Miami (and usually that’s where it’s best). However Arepa Mia also had gluten-free empanadas, which is more unusual (usually empanadas are made with wheat flour) and definitely captured my attention. Everything on their menu is gluten-free!
One day for lunch a co-worker was open to trying Arepa Mia out, so we stopped on our walk back to the hotel. Arepa Mia is inside the Sweet Auburn Market, which in itself was a cool place to discover. We walked by a lot of produce stands and small markets, plus a couple other restaurants that caught our eye. Arepa Mia has a couple tables off of a counter where you order the food and it feels like an authentic mom-and-pop kind of place.
I for sure was getting some empanadas and went for two of the La Pelua (shredded beef). The Pabellon cachapa also caught my attention, because it came with beef, queso, fried sweet plantains, and black beans. Cachapas are sweet corn pancakes (while arepas are more savory) and also cachapas usually are more flat and cheesy than arepas. I’ve usually only had cachapas with cheese before, so I was curious to try them with all those other fillings.
The cachapa came out and was quite substantial. My expectations had been a little bit different only in that I had expected the beef, plantains, etc. to come inside the cachapa. Instead they were piled on top. Still was a delicious combination. The empanadas definitely lived up to my hopes. They were the crispy gluten-like texture I was hoping for. Next time I would maybe just mix it up and get a non-beef one as well. It certainly was a lot of food! My co-worker (from Oklahoma) also got a Pabellon cachapa, plus an arepa. He really enjoyed what I imagine were some new flavors and textures for him.Even though I can get great arepas in Miami, the arepa my co-worker got looked pretty delicious. Next time would definitely get one of those too.
If you haven’t tried arepas/Venezuelan food I’d highly recommend checking out Mia Arepa (they also have a location in Decatur). If you’re gluten-free I think you’ll appreciate the arepas even more and then the empanadas are worth moving Mia Arepa to the top of your list! Plus spending time walking around the Sweet Auburn Market seems like a great experience. Picture of the big pile of food below!
Mia Arepa- 209 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30303 (Sweet Auburn Market), plus a location in Decatur