Squeeze of lime

A British foodie at large in São Paulo // Food and Drink editor at Time Out São Paulo









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    we had fried manioc and piles of beautiful oysters and little empanada-like thingamajigs filled with dried meat and pumpkin and something like vatapá–a thick fish stew–and giant pieces of beautiful beef with the most beautiful egg I’ve seen outside of Italy. We arrived obscenely early–about eight in a country that doesn’t dine until nine at least, but it afforded us a big round table in the middle and a view of the open kitchen as a whole corps de ballet in white coats prepared our meal. By the time we got to dessert, the place was full; it was lit with that dimmed incandescent light that makes everyone look like a Rembrant of themselves.

    A lavish description of a meal at Dalva e Dito, by Jake Bachorach. Beautiful eggs, and beautiful beef – now that is making me hungry. As spotted on twitter via @claire_rigby

    Pretty but pricey, newbie in #itaim #saopaulo #fresh #tea #lunch #food (at Tea Connection)

    Two essential eating experiences in São Paulo this weekend

    1) The first feijoada of the year 

    I was emailed the flyer for this feijoada lunch session on Saturday, and the tag-line was ‘No-one forgets the first feijoada of the year’. Does anyone know why? That sounds ominous to me. But if the hosts are as jovial as they used to be when they ran the Thursday night closed-door night club “Quinta dos Infernos” then it should be entertaining.

    A few details to set the scene (according to the email): an un-obligatory mandatory cost of R$47.32 for the feijoada (drinks not included), Greek drachmas not accepted.
    From 11.57am, Rua Maestro Chiaffarelli 140, Jardim Paulista. Reservations via email quintadosinfernos@liegemonteiro.com.br

    2) Alex Atala’s galinhada

    The chicken for tomorrow’s midnight feast at Alex Atala’s restaurant Dalva e Dito must already be brining – soaking in salted water with garlic, onion, bay leaves, basil, mint and coriander. Tomorrow, the chunks of chicken (or should I say ‘hen’, since the traditional Brazilian recipe and indeed its name calls for an older bird to be used) will be marinated in a mix of tomato, onion, garlic, basil, coriander, spring onion and pimenta de cheiro chilli before being stewed and served with rice, farofa (toasted manioc flour) and other hearty goodies (see photo). 

    I’ve yet to check it out, and I’m sure many balk at the price, but I love the idea of being able to just wander on in to the kitchen of one of the world’s best chefs to serve myself. And then roll on downstairs to listen to the ladies from the Samba de Rainha group, keeping the rhythms going until about 3am. Perhaps I’ll go. midnight-3am, Dalva e Dito, Rua Padre João Manuel 1115, Jardim Paulistano, 3068 4444. dalvaedito.com.br. R$59

    Look mum, I’m on the radio! A few clips from the show ‘Alta Frequência’ on Band News FM on Monday morning (in portuguese, obv), talking about being a gringo in Brazil, the sounds of São Paulo and Brazilian food.

    Sounds of nature at Catimbau, Paraty

    In April 2012, a number of restaurants and bars throughout the bay in Paraty were closed down and slapped with big fines by the Brazilian environment agency Ibama, for not having licenses to operate. One local favourite, Catimbau, run by the lovely Dutch lady Mimi, has set up in a new spot on the other side of the bay while they fight their case.

    We were lucky enough to be there on their opening day on 26 December 2012. Photos to follow soon, but the most striking thing about the place was the incredible sounds of the forest, recorded here. 

    New ceviche menu at Killa

    Is Peruvian food still *the* thing to be eating? Do we even care? Not really. Food fashions aside, ceviche remains one of my favorite things to eat anyway, and Killa - being just round the corner from my house and run by such friendly folk – remains one of the top places in São Paulo to indulge in a bowl of fresh seafood, marinated in the moreish mix of spices and lime juice.  

    Killa’s new chef Kenji Shiroma, who joined the crew when the restaurant upscaled to a new, larger premisis back in August 2012, has created six new ceviches on a special menu, available until 30th January. They’ll scandalise purists, but hopefully delight the daring, using ingredients you wouldn’t normally associate with ceviche, like black olives in ‘Mi Olivo’ (see photo, courtesy of Tadeu Brunelli), fresh cheese and miso in ‘Mi Soqueso’ and salmon with cashew fruit in ‘Del Anarcardo’.  

    Try three ceviches in a tasting menu (desgustação) for R$35, or order each one separately. 

    Killa, Rua Padre Chico 324, Perdizes, killa.com.br

    Flipping good

    image

    For post-midnight munchies, after New Year spent crashing about on Copacabana beach, you can’t beat tapioca pancakes. Have ‘em savoury (ham and cheese is a classic) or sweet (make mine a banana with condensed milk). And who’s to say it takes years to perfect the pancake toss? I’ve still got it. Even after 5 caipis. 

    Island lunch near Paraty

    That Paraty is an essential tourist stop, with its old-world charm and impossible cobble stones, everybody knows. But the scattering of restaurants throughout Paraty’s bay, once the shipping route for gold coming down from Minas Gerais, is perhaps a lesser-known delight. 

    Equipped with a boat and at least 4 hours, one essential stop is at Hiltinho on the island Ilha do Algodão. Pull up in front of the restaurant and wait for a little boat to come and fetch you. Then it’s an uphill climb into the forest to settle into a table in the restaurant’s garden, looking out over the bay. 

    I am usually vexed by people who always order the same thing every time they go back to a restaurant. But really, it’s the only way to go here - dive straight into the moqueca especial, a steaming hot clay pot filled with robalo, meaty prawns, squid rings and mussels in a tomato, coriander and dendê (palm oil) sauce.

    Essential sides include rice, beans, pirão (which often gets translated as fish porridge, which is a long way from doing the thick manioc paste justice), and perhaps some fried manioc and a palm heart salad if you’re a group of 5 or more. Round it off with a cheeky cachaçinha and then you’ll be well set for a siesta. 

    Hiltinho, (024) 3371 1488, hiltinho.com.br/ilha.htm

    redjeep:

    I have seriously been lookin at these campers. I’ve a hitch on my ‘05 Mountain Edition Wrangler… ~redjeep

    Would this get me round South America on my dreamed-of food tour? Anyone know who makes them? 

    A salad of toasted, caramelised hazelnuts, sliced apples and a walnut and lime dressing with goat’s cheese, melted on whole grain toast with bacon jam. Putting our pot of bacon jam (a moreish thick meaty paste) to the test. 

    Pig on toast. Now that’s what I call a hearty breakfast. 

    Holy bread, baked daily by the pious folk at São Paulo’s Mosteiro de São Bento. For Christmas, I treated my family to one of the most expensive - and dense and delicious - cakes of all times, the “bolo dos monges” (monk’s cake) with prunes, muscovado sugar, dried apricots and canonical wine (R$60).

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