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Latin-Mediterranean Fusion Flare at Houston's Gusto Gourmet

By Courtney Clark

Since 2012, Houston has been enjoying a delicious fusion of Latin and Mediterranean cuisine from Gusto Gourmet, a restaurant offering authentic Venezuelan fare with a twist. The friendly, family-oriented staff serves one-of-a-kind dishes that delight locals and tourists alike.

Gusto Gourmet's story began in Venezuela in 2000. Sandra Sarshalom, the Houston location's Co-Owner, and family opened the first of four stores and named it after their mother, Mazal. Sarshalom says, Mazal Gourmet served family recipes that were passed down over the generations and dished out with love.

Pictured above is their classic Arepa.

The Sarshaloms moved to Houston in 2011 and decided to share the unique dishes with those in the area, consequently opening Gusto the following year. And the restaurant has been successful so far: the Houston Chronicle listed it among the 2016 Top 100 Restaurants, and diners awarded it more four out of five stars on platforms such as Facebook and Google.

Gusto is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and of course dessert). A popular breakfast dish are the cachapas, which are corn pancakes with Venezuelan cheese. Guests can choose from plain cheese or add ham, sweet plantains, black bean, beef, or chicken. Arepas, cornflour pockets that are stuffed, are another favorite. Diners can choose from the capresa, avila, reina, and more, including traditional and vegan options.

Pictured above is their Cachapa with Venezuelan cheese.

For lunch or dinner, try the popular fusion pabellon pita sandwich: a pita stuffed with shredded beef and served with black beans, sweet plantains, and tahini. Other pitas include the kafta, stuffed with ground beef patties and served with salad, hummus and tahini, and the veggie Mediterranean burger. The falafel tostada is another favorite , topped with tabouleh salad, hummus, tahini and muhammara.

Pictured above is the Pabellon pita sandwich.

Craving dessert? Try one of the familiar and new dishes Gusto offers in a four ounce mason jar. Guests can try a traditional black and white layered cake, tres leches, chocolate mousse pie made with Venezuelan chocolate, or quesillo (Latin flan with caramel).

Gusto Gourmet has something for everyone to try. With vegetarian dishes, an extensive menu for diners throughout the day, and delicious desserts, each visitor is bound to find something to enjoy. The unique Venezuelan dishes with a Mediterranean flare will thrill tourists and have Houston locals coming back for more with something new to try. As the website says, "Our dreams continue to grow and every day we create new flavors. You won't be disappointed."

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