Don Julian: Venezuelan-Style Barbecue

I am unabashedly picky about my barbecue. It’s one of the few giveaways that I’m from Texas (the other being that I refuse to get rid of my y’all). I wasn’t a fan of North Carolina’s vinegar-based barbecue while in college, and I only ate barbecue twice during my five years in NYC (and trust me when I say the uber-popular eatery Dallas BBQs is not BBQ; however, their Texas-sized drinks I’ll never sniff at). NYC is many things culinary, but a barbecue hot spot it is not. I don’t care what the food critics might say.

When the co-worker who loves to plan outings for foreign teachers as a means of introducing us to all things Venezuelan invited people to join her at a restaurant, I was all about it. Any restaurant that has you order meat by weight and not by size must be on to something.

Consequently, on a Sunday afternoon I found myself seated in a wooden chair facing a beautifully lush, green mountainside. A misting system was overhead in case I got hot while lounging outside. Music wafted around me and not one fly bothered to cross my line of vision.

I was supposed to be eating healthier, but instead I was devouring the most delicious arepitas con queso, grilled cheese (and I’m not talking about the sandwich that is a childhood favorite; take a look at the picture for proof), and a stack of well-done red meat (again, being from Texas I don’t do rare. Ever.). A dark, almost maroon colored sangria served as the table’s centerpiece.

I know they say that good food leads to good conversation, but I think the opposite is true. When the food is delectable all conversation stops because people are too busy “being in their plates.” I know I was while at Don Julian’s. I can’t even post a picture of the barbecue because, in all honesty, I inhaled a good bit of it before even thinking about a photo. I figured readers were getting tired of my pictures of half-eaten food on a now dirty plate. I have no shame, y’all, no shame.

If Don Julian was an actual man, I would be pursuing him “something silly” (as my grandma would say). Since it’s simply the name of the restaurant, I’ll have to settle for dreams of returning one day soon.

**A co-worker took all posted photos. I left my camera at home and brought just my debit card and an appetite.


3 thoughts on “Don Julian: Venezuelan-Style Barbecue

  1. Being raised about 35 miles north of the Oklahoma-Texas state line and having spent a number of years south of the Red River (as well as 40 north of it), I’m with you on BBQ and that marvelous word “y’all”… (When I have to teach my ESL students that “you plural” is “you”, I cringe and do it through translation… and inform them that, coming out of my mouth, “you” is by definition singular and that they’d damn good and well better learn to recognize “y’all” … )

    You need to come to Brazil and try out “churrasco” (which is often mistranslated as BBQ). It’s not BBQ, but it is excellent meat in all of its glory roasted over open flames… And, if I’m ever your way, trust me, Don Julian’s will be on my list of places to visit…

  2. Ha! I love it! When I was learning Spanish my Honors Spanish teacher literally taught us that the vosotros form was like y’all. You should’ve seen the way the class went from confusion to “oh, ok…that makes sense.” 🙂

    No matter where I go my students love the y’all and have learned to recognize it!

    I HAVE to get back to Brazil! Where in Brazil are you? I’ll need to get some recommendations from you. I’m trying to convince my family to take a trip there!

    • Convince your family and the y’all just bring yourselves on down here, you hear!… LOL! I’m in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, which is about three hours by car from Rio, but I lived in São Paulo for almost seven years and have been to a lot of different places here, so I feel qualified to make recommendations (which I’d give anyway!).

      Your honors Spanish teacher nailed it with vosotros (or for the folks down here, vós). That’s a great story. My ESL students have always been “intrigued” by my “non-standard” English. We have a lot of fun with it, just like I am sure you do! 🙂

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