Monday, July 13, 2015

All about food Brazil: Part 8 1/2


Our first night in São Paulo, we went to dinner at this per-kilo restaurant near our hotel. Per-kilo restaurants are pretty common there - it's just buffet style and you pay by weight.  (So this was a good first meal out, because everyone could choose how daring or how cautious they wanted to be!)  The restaurant workers here were great (and patient as Jordan tried to help everybody order :) and we stopped by several more times for odds and ends during our stay. (Every time we passed the restaurant as we were coming or going from our hotel, Owen would remark "There's the restaurant with the yellow and red chairs!")

Something interesting we learned right away - carbonated water is just about as common as regular bottled water. So, after one mistake here (and a surprising first drink), we remembered to order agua 'sem gas' (without carbonation). 

We were traveling in the off season, so I'd imagine during more busy times all these chair would be full. Even so, depending on what time of day we walked by the restaurant, we'd always see the tables and chairs in different configurations. Lunch is the main meal of the day in Brazil so from 12-3ish, the tables would be set out together ready for bigger groups. . From 3-5 or 6, the chairs would be stacked up like this (and the per-kilo items inside packed away), then for the evening, chairs and tables would be set out in smaller groups ready for couples to stop by for drinks or a light snack. 

We stopped for lunch at the mall one afternoon, and found this dining area with several waiters nearby to take your order (from several of the nearby restaurants). We ended up with orders from three different restaurants (which meant Jordan was working over time trying to translate requests for 9 people, then determine who each order belonged to, and finally trying to get all the bills straight when we finished!)

And the kids (especially this Porter!) were super excited to find McDonalds ice cream cones 
(I thought that ordering ice cream was a task I could handle, so I stood in line and planned out just how to make my order in Portuguese. The trouble came when I got to the front and made my order (one small vanilla ice cream cone, two twists, three chocolate or something like that) and their ice-cream machine was broken. I'm not very good at thinking in Portuguese for actual conversations (without time to plan out my next sentence!), but when I switched to 6 vanillas, I think he was glad for the simpler order he could actually understand from me :)

We splurged on an evening dinner at this Churrascaria (a Rodizio type restaurant). The kids were kind of mesmerized by the calm and quiet and just fancy atmosphere (and we loved it too!)

They served manioc fries (and several other french-fry kinds of things) on these silver platters and suddenly they were such a fancy dish! (And if they started to get cold, they would bring a new dish to replace them!)

I passed on the meats, but was super excited for my brave dish of the night -- salad with flowers! :)

We tried pastelles (I think that's the right name) at the Market Municipal - they were kind of like a wonton wrapper, filled with various things (hamburger above for Landon, ham & cheesee,  tomato & mozzarella...) They were a fun thing to try, but I think at this point most of us were feeling like we'd love more fresh/less fried foods :)

Ha! And we just had to snap a picture of this sandwich  (from another diner) and it's piles of meat! (We visited the Carnegie Deli on our first trip to New York about 10 years ago, and I think that's the last time I saw a sandwich made this way!) (And I hadn't noticed all the cleaning supplies when we took the picture... I'm not sure what the story was there!)

My favorite meal! This is so funny, but I was just crazy about this food.  I think I told Jordan at least 5 times that night how much I loved dinner.  (Grilled chicken, brown rice, carrots, plain lettuce and grilled pineapple -- plus a few bites of Jordan's passionfruit dessert) I think I was ready for some plain old foods with regular flavors that I was familiar with :)

And Jordan's meal the same night (A little bit of everything!)

One afternoon in São Paulo, we set out to explore the Bela Vista neighborhood (a traditional Italian neighborhood). Following our maps, we thought we should be just about there, but we turned the corner to see more and more of this style rather than any obvious Italian style...

But we kept walking just a little more, and then found a lovely area with a super fun Italian restaurant.

They had a delicious Italian buffet with unique pastas and a white sauce lasagna and good breads and salads and fun passionfruit mousse... 

And this waiter just the made the experience so fun. He stood by our table for most of the meal talking and visiting (mostly with Jordan, but he knew enough English to talk with everyone too) "Oh yeah! Utah Jazz!" he said about our hometown :)

After we left and were planning our next route, he came outside (having just finished his shift) in jeans and t-shirt and stopped to visit again for a few minutes. "I was just enchanted with you guys!" he said.  :) 

Such a fun time!

On our day trip to Rio, we got to the Botanical Gardens well past lunch time and we would have stopped to eat at any kind of restaurant we could find. Fortunately, the garden had a lovely French cafe where we enjoyed some delicious sandwiches and Pão de Chocolat.

A perfectly named restaurant for our bike-loving family. 

In Florianopolis, we visited this restaurant right at the shore. Jordan and April decided to be daring and try out "the sequence". When Jordan tried to order some black beans to go along with the meal, the waiter said (basically) "no, no! It's too much food!" And it definitely was too much! Pretty much if you can think of a sea food or a way to prepare a sea food, it was included. Shrimp, breaded and fried, crab cooked two ways, fish cakes, squid, cockle pastry, oysters cooked two ways, mussels, tainha...
The rest of us ordered chicken and rice (!)  A funny thing - almost all of the grilled chicken we ordered in Brazil was very well-cooked. Super-duper well cooked. :)

Such a beautiful place to spend the evening and enjoy a fun meal.

Porter trying (and liking!)  fried squid

Landon playing right behind the restaurant while we waited for our check

We stopped for gelato at the Downtown market in Florianopolis, and Kathie got some delicious passionfruit (maracuja) gelato. (Maracuja was our favorite flavor discovery of the trip!)

Another sea-side restaurant at Joaquina Beach. And another incredible view --

(Except for the time when I was panicking that Landon would fall off the other side of these rocks while Jordan and the kids explored as we waited for our food)

The last night of our trip, we ordered pizza at the hotel (which was a lot like the other Brazilian pizzas we had tried...) But, the dessert pizza was a hit! 

There were always little shops nearby with 'salgados' and we often stopped  to grab a snack of coxinas or pão de queijo. We make both of these at home so it was fun to have something Brazilian but still familiar. Landon especially loved the coxinas and loved getting to stop for a snack on our out and about adventures. (Coxina's are on the top row in the middle - the tear dropped shape. They have shredded chicken w/ a cream cheese kind of filling inside, wrapped in dough and then  rolled in bread crumbs and fried).