Thursday, January 6, 2011

Back in Action

Ah, 'tis a lovely sunny morning here in LA, with highs in the upper 60's.

Last night was a much needed break from the non-stop go go go of the past 6 days, so I appreciate you sticking with me.

Yesterday also marked week 5 of the World Series of Food.

In case you're new to the blog: every Wednesday, my friend Christian and I go to a restaurant in Los Angeles that serves a different type of regional cuisine. Since we both love learning about other cultures, but lack the budgets and time to actually travel the world, it's a great way for us to experience various countries' cooking without ever leaving LA.

We try our best to go in alphabetical order and yesterday just so happened to be Brazil.

Which took us to a cute little restaurant/market called Taste of Brazil.

Our waitress was an absolute sweetheart and seemed very happy to have us there, answering our innumerable questions and laughing at our lame jokes (yes, they happen).

I started with an acai juice (hello antioxidants and bitter grape flavor)...

Since Christian had already decided before we arrived (thanks to the internet) that he'd be splurging on an $18 meal, we decided to skip the appetizer and save our hard earned cash (and bellies) for dessert.

Much like Argentine day, I figured Brazil wouldn't be the best country to showcase meatless options, but I wanted to get a sense of their flavor palette and staple ingredients, so I opted for the vegetarian platter.

And what a spread: rice and mashed potatoes, black beans, plantains, delicious veggies sauteed in what I guessed was garlic and a little side salad.

Christian went all the way and chose the "plate of Brazil":

Feijoada Completa- Brazilian stew (sausage, beef and pork cooked with black beans) + sauteed collard greens, white rice and orange slices.

How decadent ;)

The most intriguing thing on both our plates was the farofa-

essentially, ground yucca:

I've been seeing yucca fries in restaurants and across the blogosphere for a while now, but yucca flour was new to me. 

It seemed like the farofa on my plate had been dressed up with a little garlic and possibly salt- it's used as a seasoning for meats and beans, after all. Gabriela, thoughts? ;)

Another curiosity I couldn't leave without trying were these super hot peppers:

While Christian was talking away, he suddenly stopped mid-sentence, tilted his head and jumped in his seat a little. The peppers he'd innocently sprinkled on his plate had come back to bite him in the mouth.

I tried one whole, thankfully having been prepared for its spiciness level by my friend's reaction. Phew! But I love the burn!

Then came time for dessert. 

I had to try the coconut flan, since our waitress told us it was "unique":

That's a caramelized prune on top (not my fav part)

Christian insisted we get the chocolate mousse, though I think that was straying a bit out of the realm of authentic Brazilian cuisine:

Especially since it tasted an awful lot like chocolate pudding out of a box. But who am I to complain about chocolate?!

Throughout the meal, our background music and viewing was an insane concert by a well known singer down in the country of Order and Progress:

I believe our waitress told us her name was Isetta.... Wow, could she move. And sing. Nonstop. In front of a crowd of what looked like tens of thousands.

It sure beat the soap opera playing on full blast in the empty restaurant we visited on African day, that I can assure you.

Next week we plan to attend a British high tea. I'm looking pret-ty forward to some scone and fancy tea cup action.

Alright, I'm off to get this day going!

What's your favorite type of non-American food?


  1. That looks like a yummy AND healthy restaurant! My favourite type of non-american food is asian :) Yumm, I love miso soup, stir-fries and all their light sauces!

  2. What a great idea! I'm sure you get to experience some great (and not so great) foods by exploring this way :)

    Your food looks really good---I had plantains once, and they were interesting and good. Well, they were different!


  3. Awww totally made me smile by saying you're going for high tea! My boyfriend and I did the same thing on Monday. Traditionally we have cucumber sandwiches cut into fingers, loose leaf tea, fruit scones with clotted cream and jam and sometimes some mini pastries of some sort. It's so fun and so terribly british daaahling! Let me know what you think :-) x x

  4. WOOOOW!
    Loved this, Madeleine!
    Gosh... it all looks so familiar to me! I mean, I eat black beans and farofa on a regular basis ;)
    And you're absolutely right - farofa is made with "farinha de mandioca" (yucca flour), garlic, salt, and maybe sliced onion (if you're inclined). And it's absolutely amazing. You should come to Brazil someday - I'd love to show you the authentic brazilian cuisine!
    Oh, and still on the farofa subject - we sometimes add scrambled eggs to the farofa mixture... We call it "farofa de ovo" (egg farofa), which tastes amazing, too :)
    I wish I could send you some yucca flour right now (so cheap around here) so you could try making farofa by yourself. You'd love it, I'm sure.
    My sister is obsessed about Açaí - which is commonly not a juice around here, but a thicker mixture of the fruit, like a smoothie or something. We eat it by the spoon, though - it's really like an ice-cream, texture wise.
    Hahahaha - you probably noticed how excited I am about this subject ;)
    Ohh, and on a last note - I just recognized the singer you guys were watching while at Taste of Brazil. Her name is actually Ivete Sangalo, and she's really popular around here. I personally adore her, she has an amazing voice and energy while on the stage, and some of her songs are incredibly beautiful.
    Besides, reggae and axé can be really fun to watch/hear. Haha.
    Thanks for posting this, love!
    I feel very honored ;)
    Hope you're having a great day - it's almost the weekend now!

  5. wow what a great concept! and the Brazillian food looks absolutely amazing :)