I met this Argentine dude in my hostel in Rio de Janeiro. He was a 30 something guy who always looked like he was just about to go for a jog — decked out in black Nike shorts with one of those light weight Adidas muscle sleeveless shirts. He had been in Rio for the past few weeks, so in the attempt to engage in casual conversation, and be the utter fatty that I am only bringing up food as a conversation starter, I asked him if he had any good restaurant recommendations. Hoping to get the name of at least one great spot, instead he revealed that he thought the food was ‘un asco’ (disgusting), and he eats at McDonalds or Bob’s (Rio’s version of McDonalds) almost every day. Appalled by this statement, I was determined to prove this Bob/Micky D-lover wrong.Welcome to BRASSSILLLL: first night in Rio and had to order something stupid, simple and cheap — grilled chicken or steak, with beans rice, fries, spice, Skol, caipi and a can of Guaraná. HELLO BRAZIL!
Second stop: STRAIGHT TO DA BEACH, BOYEEEEE. Agua de coco me all day long. Couveflor, a great restaurant buffet right next to the Jardim Botanico (Botanical Gardens) had lots of fresh veggies, meats and more. Instead of paying for an all-you-can-eat, you pay by weight.Cachaça is the alcohol used to make the infamous Brazilian caipirinha and at the Academia de Cachaça (Cachaça academy) in Leblon/Ipanema you can try lots of the sweet strong alcoholic nector. After this trio of cherry, passion fruit, and original lime caipirinhas, I stumbled out to dinner at Casa do Feijoada in Copacabana.Not really sure what this was – a shit load of beans, collard greens, sausage, rice and mystery meat topped off with a fried egg. delish. That was just one dish.Then I ordered the jerk chicken with a side of sweet potatoes..too much food.Quick stop to a sushi restaurant for a tuna handroll – the seawood tasted disgusting, so I disassembled it and asked for a portion of white rice in order to salvage the meal..doused in sweet teriyaki sauce and toasted sesame seeds, it was pretty good! Temakerias were all the rage.Walk down a long fruity passageway and you will find this great brunch spot with a full menu of eggs, waffles, fruit and sandwiches. I can’t remember the name or address, but it was near my hostel in Ipanema (Che Lagarto Hostel).
Eggs benedict, fruit plate, smoothie with pineapple strawberry and ginger, and a café mocha – great way to start the day in a bright shiny happy restaurant. I’d kill for a place like this in Buenos Aires.So, I have a fast food confession to make. Before going to Brazil, I had never actually eaten at a Kentucky Fried Chicken — KFC. Wanting to show my favorite Argentine was southern food was all about (because OBVIO KFC will give him an authentic taste of the greatness that is comfort food…), I couldn’t pass it by. Oh, and how glorious it was. Fried Chicken + Huge sides like creamy coleslaw + mashed potatoes + BLACK BEANS = chickeny bliss.Whenever I’ve heard KFC references, this big bucket of chicken is always mentioned. So, I thought it was only fit to order the buck-o-chicken while embarking on a crispy and original recipe journey. Unbeknown to me, these portions are huge – enough for a family of 5… looking around everyone had a full plate of heaping of food, 1/8 the size of the chicken, coleslaw, beans, and mashed potatoes staring me in the eye.First night in the south of Brazil, Armaçao beach in Florianopolis – still didn’t learn about the massive portion sizes. There was one place open in this small, deserted beach town. The menu had 3 sizes – full portions, 1/2 and 1/4 portions. Just wanted a little snack so the 1/4 portion size seemed to be the best option – again, a ridiculous amount of fresh from the ocean shrimp (fried), salad with lettuce, carrots, beats, and cucumber, 2 types of rice, potato salad and french fries.Really wasn’t a wide selection of restaurants, so I ended up here the next day as well – same thing as the night before, just substituted the shrimp for fish. Soo good, fresh, right out of the ocean. I think caipirinha drinking and beach laying could be the best thing in the world. It might look like I’m making love to the camera, but I was really making love to my caipirinha.