This is a bit of an ônibus post. It’s largely the result of being really busy after having had these experiences last week. I was also the inadvertent result of overusing my internet plan, which is a little limited. I’m trying to make sure I don’t leave with overage charges, so uploading photos and Skyping has been a little difficult.
I have been able to try more of the salgadinhos (little salty snacks), delicious pastries that dominate the street food scene here. I went to a self-service restaurant with a friend on the lunch break of a conference I attended here. I got to eat some excellent food with her. I’ve eaten some delicious sorvetes for dessert.
First up, some really delicious steet pastries:
The first is called simply pastel. It’s a pair of two dough sheets stuffed with goodies, usually meat and cheese. I was able to order this one with Calabresa (good ham) and cheese. The second one was a Kibe, which was a ___ stuffed with melty cheese. I enjoyed a maracuja (passion fruit) soft drink while having this. It was much sweeter than plain passion fruit, sort of like passion fruit Kool Aid.
Here is a view inside the pastry:
Here is a view inside the kibe.
Apparently the pastel has Japanese origins, unlike other fried pastry here that has direct European heredity. The crust is flaky for being fried, and very light in flavor. The Kibe (we might say Kibbeh) was made with burghum, was a little spongy, and certainly delicious. I’ve been to a Spanish club here called Calaf, where samba is played, and made a dinner out of these things.
I made conversation with a fellow who was eating lunch next to me. He wanted to practice his English. He said that he had a Russian friend come to visit and he took pictures of all the food he ate too. So be on the lookout for the Russian Brazilian food blog out there.
I have another meeting at the office near where this place is located Tuesday. I might try to get another pastry run in before I leave for Rio.
Oh, lost in the archives was a shot of a pastry from earlier in the week. It was good, stuffed with ground beef, but the other one was better because it was fresh. I was at the time drinking an agua de coco straight out of a green coconut, which is the best way to get some quick energy and look cool at the same time!
Bear with me, because Flickr won’t let me edit the image here for some reason:
I went to a self-service restaurant with a friend I've made here on a break from a conference. I ate a rather protein-heavy dish of beans, meat and plantains, and somehow I managed to stay awake for the rest of the conference when we returned.
I had some linguiça (sausage), skirt steak, braised beef, mixed refried beans, black beans, farofa de manioc, rice, plantains, fish, pequi (a fruit), hearts of palm, and slaw.
The meats were great. I was pretty selective in my cuts of meat. I grabbed steak that wasn’t done all the way through, and it was great. The braised beef was a big hunk of vertebrae, and I think the bone jacked the price of my plate up by about R$5 ($3). But the meat was so rich and wonderful it was worth it. The fish wasn’t really for me, but the rest was delicious.
You mix the farofa, which is dry and powdery, with the beans and it absorbs all of the remaining liquid. It adds a textural component to the bean dish. I was informed that this is a very popular thing to do in the South by my friend. I also learned that the mixed beans were very common in the south.
We’re all missing out on hearts of palm up here. So rich. They compare to artichoke but are more tender. The slaw was OK and the plantain was a young one. Had me nervous that it was banana, a fruit to which I’m allergic.
The Pequi was another story altogether. This fruit is popular in the central-west of Brazil, where Brasilia is located. It was one of the most distinct flavors I’ve ever eaten, and I don’t mean that in a good way. It wasn’t sour, it wasn’t sweet, it wasn’t bitter, it was just pungent, and piquant. And it’s not even approachable.
You have to eat around a sharp, jagged stone on the inside. You do this by holding it and eating it like corn, slowly rotating around the stone with your teeth. But you have to be very careful or the fruit will bite back! You can’t bite down. Instead you’re just sloughing off the layers of fruit flesh around the stone. I stopped having the taste of this thing in my mouth (certainly not in my mind) by the late afternoon.
Here is a shot of a delicious sobremesa (dessert) of key lime pie and açaí berry sorbets.
Every ice cream treat here is referred to generally as a sorvete, so the word is used loosely to describe popsicles, tubs of ice creams, and sorbets. No complaints. Desserts rule, and it’s hot here, so it’s important to cool off when you get the chance.
I was also able to try a street food hamburger here today. It was, well, in a word, horrible. I’m not trying to make the blog about awful things, but man, I’m going to be a little more careful here with sandwiches on the street. Pastries are the way to go.