Con Queso

With the smell of obesity in the air, it was surely time for the Florida State Fair in Tampa.  We decided to venture the 2.5 hours north and check out the fair.  While no one in the family is big on carne-driven Midway Games & Rides, we are all big on a good time.  And, the Florida State Fair was advertising just that.  I was looking forward to the different expos, walking around and, oh yeah, the F O O D.

We arrived at the fair around 11:00am this morning and ventured inside.  We were immediately hit with food offerings of all kinds along with a wide variety of carnes who certainly had a thing for Mommy.  We walked around for a bit taking it all in.  Signs advertising all different kinds of food were calling my name.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the offerings and certainly did not see anything really out of the ordinary.  Yes, fried butter may sound ridiculous, but this is old and has been done before.

Nothing was immediately jumping out at any of us.  Before heading into an expo hall, we decided to try our first food item of the day.  We opted on the one and only vendor selling Arepas Con Queso.  I placed an order for 1 Arepa Con Queso (we all planned to share), paid my 4 dollars and waited for the Arepa to be prepared.

An Arepa Con Queso is a corn patty with cheese on the inside.  I have had these before but it is not a normal item I opt for at fairs.  Why, I’m not sure, because I do indeed enjoy them.  Our Arepa was prepared on a griddle press and flipped every few minutes.  After waiting about 5 minutes, our Arepa was ready.  It was presented to me, quite hot, and on a plate. 

The Arepa smelt and looked great.  I could indeed smell the corn from the patty and gooey, melty cheese was coming out of the edges.  I walked over to Mommy and Taylor and let the Arepa cool for a few moments.  When I couldn’t stand to wait any longer, I took a bite.  Oh my was it good.  The gooey cheese was melted so perfectly between two layers of Arepas.  Neither layer was too thick and the entire patty meshed together so well.

The Arepa patty itself was very warm and not crispy.  It was similar to a thick cornbread in consistency and I could indeed taste the corn within it.  It did not have a greasy taste to it at all and was very smooth.  While I could taste the corn within it, it did overpower it or the combination of the patty with the cheese.  Even if this Arepa was less the queso, it would have still been great.  No additional seasoning needed.  Key was the fact that it was cooked when I ordered it – not 30 minutes before and left to tan under a heat lamp.

Within the two layers of the Arepa, was the perfectly melted cheese.  While there was not a ton of cheese within the patties, there was just enough to form a match made in heaven.  The cheese was white in color and tasted like queso blanco.  Very smooth in its flavor and consistency.  There were no bites that included unmelted cheese or too much cheese.  I did not taste any cheese within the patty itself but, it was not needed.  The cheese right in between was just perfect.

The 3 of us finished off the Arepa Con Queso in just a few minutes.  Every bite I got to enjoy was just as good as the one before.  I was left with a slight corn taste in my mouth but it was not unpleasant.  I could have certainly eaten another Arepa but, there was so much more to come for the 2012 State Fair.  I absolutely loved this Arepa Con Queso and will be sure to remind myself that I need to get these more often.  While the Arepa on its own would have been great, the addition of Con Queso made it just fabulous.