So we didn’t spend all day at the beach! Although it was tempting. We mixed it up with some good sights, food and nightlife too. Our entire time in Rio was spent with my parents. Four mouths to feed usually means that we got to try even more dishes when eating out. But on our first night in Rio, all four wanted the same thing: feijoada.
Feijoada is the national dish of Brazil. It consists of black beans stewed with meat, served over rice and other side fixings. We chose a place that specializes in feijoada and were pretty excited to fill up on some homey comfort food. All four of us ordered the feijoada but the waiter kept shaking his head and saying that was too much food. He kept suggesting that we mix it up with something, such as la truta (trout). It didn’t seem like he was getting money out of us – it was more of a cultural misunderstanding. Nonetheless, we insisted on getting feijoada and 4 huge bowls of it landed on our table. We could’t even make a dent as it was a feast for ten people. But it was good. And now, whenever a misunderstanding occurs (which is often) Nathan and I shrug our shoulders and say ¨la truta!¨(you have to say it very emphatically with a long drawn out “ah” : )
After the feijoada we were in food coma mode. But we charged on to the bossa nova club. It was awesome! The singer performed a mix of old standards and a few less familiar songs too. My dad would play bossa nova while I was growing up and I’ve loved the genre ever since. This was a special treat.
Brazil has a lot of Japanese immigrants so we were excited to find Manekineko, a japanese brazilian fusion place. Fusion in this case means mostly japanese food with the chefs adding cheese and frying things when they found the opportunity. Nothing amazing but it was fun.
I think the best thing about the Rio food scene (and Brazil for that matter) is the wonderful array of juices. Everything from pineapple to kiwi to avocado to pears. Mixed the way you want. I want a juicer now!
One of our best lunches was in the palm shaded patio at Market. The organic certification reminded me of California. As did the quinoa salads and salmon sandwiches. But after so many heavy dishes, I liked being reminded of home.
Our meals fueled us up for a big night out in the Lapa district, which is a hub of Rio nightlife. We went to the club with the biggest crowd and loudest samba band. I loved how people of all ages were dancing between the tables. It was great to put my year of samba lessons to use! This inspired me to come back for Carnivale…maybe next year…