Desayuno criollo is the Venezuelan version of a full breakfast. The version at Tuttopane comes with scrambled eggs, black beans, white cheese, and a hot-off-the-griddle arepa. I got the eggs with mushrooms and onions and ordered a cappuccino on the side. I split the arepa in half and stuffed it with eggs and beans. It was a pleasant change of pace from the usual huevos, refried beans, and flour tortillas.

Tuttopane
13525 Westheimer
281-752-8333

Tuttopane also serves empanadas stuffed with beef, chicken, or cheese, and there's a criollo-style empanada with dried beef, black beans, and plantains. Pastelitos (made with wheat flour) come with cheese or a choice of fillings. You can also get a stuffed arepa for breakfast. The lunch menu includes salads, sandwiches, and criollo dishes like shredded beef with black beans and plantains. 

There is another restaurant called Pastelitos Cafe on Eldridge Parkway, a few blocks from Tuttopane. That cafe offers an international menu that includes Venezuelan pastelitos along with omelets, bagels and smoked salmon, and a Southern breakfast with pecan grits—along with falafel sandwiches for lunch.

I asked the woman behind the counter at Tuttopane if this was the part of town where most of the Venezuelans lived. She wasn't sure, but told me that lots of Venezuelans were employed by the oil companies located along the Eldridge Parkway "Energy Corridor"— this is why she chose the location for her Venezuelan-style cafe.

 

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