Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eating My Way Through South America

I am back from my summer vacation to Brazil and Argentina! I apologize to any of my readers who felt abandoned, but it was nice to take a break from the dishes for a couple of weeks :-). I try and resist the temptation to turn this into some kind of personal blog, so rather than bore you with all the details of my recent trip, I'll stick to what this blog is really about--FOOD! And we ate plenty of it. I am highlighting some of my favorite restaurants from our trip, and if you plan on travelling to that part of the world any time soon, please feel free to email capitalchef@gmail.com with any questions.

 Rio de Janeiro

Favorite fruit smoothie--Acai Berry from Polis Sucos (Rua Maria Quitéria 70, Ipanema). We went here for a late night snack after a rumba show, and we went back the next day for lunch. We had a smoothie with a ham and cheese sandwich---cheap, easy, and really good!

Coconut Water- I loved sitting on the beach sipping water directly out of coconuts--so delicious and fresh and apparently a huge trend in the celebrity world these days http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b172937_why_every_celebrity_drinking_coconut.html

Man preparing coconut:

Me enjoying coconut:

Porcao Churrascaria- Vegetarians, be warned, this place is probably not for you. We celebrated my birthday at this restaurant, and it was AMAZING! The servers walk around the restaurant holding up different cuts of meat. We really have no idea what we ate that night (I think at one point I thought I was eating beef but it was ostrich?), but we just tried not to think about it for too long. ***My advice--don't overload on the buffet because there will be A LOT of meat coming your way. Also, there are two locations, but the one in Flamengo is right on the water and worth the short cab ride.
You hold this up when you want the meat they are offering:

And hold this up when you can't take anymore...

Caiprinha- Brazil's national cocktail. It is made with made with cachaça, sugar, and lime. I enjoyed one at the famous bar Garota de Ipanema, the bar where the famous bossa nova song Girl From Ipanema was written.

Favorite Street Food- Churros filled with Dulce de Leche--A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

One more restaurant worth mentioning because we went back twice (but unfortunately without a camera both times)--Doce Delicia (http://www.docedelicia.com.br/ Rua Dias Ferreira 48, Rio de Janeiro) After over-indulging in way too much meat the night before, this was the perfect place to enjoy a fresh salad. Ask for a seat near the kitchen where you can watch them prepare the most intricate pizzas I've ever seen---it was seriously a work of art.

Buenos Aires

Un' Altra Volta- Ice Cream/Chocolate store.  A few people recommended Freddo, which we also tired, but I liked this one better. The Dulce de Leche flavor was by far our favorite.

La Cabrera in Palermo-- I really will never be able to say enough about this restaurant. If you go to Buenos Aires, YOU MUST GO HERE! It was unreal. First of all, I should probably remind you if you didn't already know, don't even think about trying to eat in Argentina before 9 pm. We got there around 9:30 and had a little bit of a wait, so as we waited outside, they brought us a glass of champagne. Right there, they had my heart.

For an appetizer (Lord knows we did NOT need to order this), we ordered Provoletta (grilled cheese). I highly recommend.

We ordered steak and chicken wrapped in bacon...we tried to order a third because the prices were so cheap, but our waiter kindly warned us against ordering any more food. I'm sure he was thinking "typical overeating Americans!"

Then, they brought out all of these complimentary sides. I can't remember all of them except for the pureed pumpkin, pearl onions in wine sauce, roasted garlic, olive tapenade, creamed spinach, and the list goes on...

At the end, they brought us complimentary limoncello shots and lollipops. We definitely did not need to order dessert! (also, if someone could teach me how to rotate photos in blogger, I would greatly appreciate it.)

Cafe Tortoni-- We had a 10-minute wait to get in, but despite the fact that it is a huge tourist destination, it somehow maintains its old world charm. We could have sat there for hours.

La Brigada--Another really great restaurant. What impressed me most was that they cut the steak with a spoon here! We were a little tired ot taking pictures that night after a full day of sightseeing, so here is the only photo I took--me hungry/excited for another night of steak!

Aramburu (Salta 1050 http://www.arambururesto.com/)-My final restaurant recommendation is completely off the beaten path and brand new. After attempting to eat at another restaurant that was completely full, the hostess of that restaurant took pity on us and wrote down an address of another restaurant she said would definitely take us. She told us just to hand the address to a cab driver and she would call ahead for us. Let's just say, this restaurant doesn't seem to be in the 'best' neighborhood, and we had to knock on the door to be let in. For a brief moment, I thought this might have been some huge set-up, but the meal we were served that night was unlike anything I had ever eaten before. The chef, Gonzalo Aramburu, apparently just moved back to Buenos Aires after studying with a famous Spanish chef as well as working in restaurants in both Chicago and New York.  We were served an 8-course tasting menu, and unfortunately, since the waitress didn't speak ANY English and we were being served foods with Spanish names completely unfamiliar to me, we just had to trust her. Here are a few photos of the dishes we were served. I HIGHLY highly recommend.  This was 5 star food at 2 star prices.

If you will excuse me, I need to head to the gym now!


  1. We have a Brazilian steakhouse here in RI that serves unlimited meat carved table side, and it is delicious, so I could only imagine how good it must be in Brazil!

  2. Looks like you had SUCH a great time!! And what an amazing story about that last restaurant! I love those unknown places!


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