Although we had already sampled a variety of the menu items at Zona Grill, the Venezuelan food truck off North Miami Avenue in Wynwood, the Hamburguesa Caraqueña might just be the best option. The menu, in both Spanish and English, details a hamburger patty topped in ham, bacon, fried egg, cheese, and potatoes. If you'd like, you can go with the "mixta," an extra meaty version to which you can add either a grilled pork chop, grilled chicken, or even a grilled steak. The standard will cost you $8. The mixta, just $10. For meat lovers, this is a steal.
Chef Richard Gonzalez, who has owned and operated the truck for the last eight months, tells us that this style of burger is standard in Caracas, where he's from. "There's a street in Caracas called Calle de Hambre (Street of Hunger)," he says. "It's lined in fixed food stalls that sell everything from arepas and patacones to the Caraqueña." Most visitors, we imagine, leave satisfied.
Gonzalez begins by putting the six-ounce, all-beef patty on the grill. Beside, a ring mold is used to fry the egg, so it matches the size of the burger. Next to these, strips of bacon and a slice of ham are thrown down, which will all be stacked neatly together.
Over on his prep table, the chef pulls out and shreds a head of cabbage, which he then mixes with carrots. The freshness of the cabbage helps, at least in part, to cut through the richness of all the other meat. There are also fried potato sticks, too, which you can find on sandwiches throughout South America. The crunch goes well with the creaminess of the egg and "yellow" cheese.
"We use four kinds of salsas," Gonzalez says. "La crema de ajo (garlic cream), which is mixed with cilantro. Mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard." Even for those who might not be mayonnaise lovers, all we can say is that the combination of so many sauces, paired with the texture of the potatoes, crisp bacon, and grilled bun – well, let's just say it's worth letting Gonzalez work his magic.
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