Archive for the 'Brazil' Category

Maní, São Paulo

When we started outlining our recent trip to Brazil, Rocky and I hadn’t originally planned to spend so much time in São Paulo(proportionately, vs Rio). But it turned out that one of the restaurants I most wanted to visit didn’t reopen from their holiday closure until a week into the new year. So we stretched out our stay, relaxed a little, and had a nice time. After a great lunch with our friend Marc Z, some ice cream and chocolate along Rua Oscar Freire, and a swim on our hotel rooftop, Rocky and I spent our last night in São Paulo checking out what Chefs Helena Rizzo and Daniel Redondo were cooking up at their restaurant Maní.

mani sao paulo entrance

mani sao paulo table setting

mani sao paulo dining room

Walking into the space for a meal at Maní is like accepting an invitation to the dinner party of an ex-surfer turned millionaire who tried his hardest to recreate a beach side taco stand within his downtown loft, except with better food. Settled in at our table we ordered up a bottle of grape juice and the Chef’s tasting menu(naturally) and got the party started.

mani sao paulo bread servicemani sao paulo bread service

mani sao paulo bread servicemani sao paulo bread service

Pães diversos, lascas de polvilho, coalhada seca, queijo de cabra com pimenta rosa, manteiga, pirulito de parmesão. Bread service. Parmesan lollipop, tapioca starch chips, and a crusty loaf accompanied by butter, goat cheese with pink peppercorn, and sour milk curd with paprika. The tapioca chips were dangerously addicting, light and savory.

mani sao paulo canapes

Belisquetes: Bombom de guacamole com biscoito de fubá. Bombom de Foie Gras com goiabada e capa de vinho do Porto. Chips de batata com rosbife e mostarda dijon. Guacamole bonbon with cornmeal biscuit and dried tomato. Foie bonbon with port wine and guava. Potato chip with roast beef and dijon. Both of the bonbons were rich and smooth. The guacamole had good acid with contrasting crunch from the cracker. The foie was balanced with sweetness. Rocky said the roast beef and potato chip was reminiscent of her childhood lunches.

mani sao paulo crayfish mani sao paulo jabuticaba

mani sao paulo jabuticaba

Sopa Fria de Jabuticaba – com camarão no vapor de cachaça e picles de couve flor e amburana. Cold soup of Jabuticaba with cachaça steamed crayfish, pickled cauliflower, and amburana nuts. The crayfish was nice. The soup was tart, juicy, and almost effervescent. Overall this was the weakest dish of the night.

mani sao paulo waldorf salad

mani sao paulo waldorf salad

Salada Waldorf – gelatina de maçã com sorbet de aipo, nozes caramelizadas e emulsão de gorgonzola. A take on the classic Waldorf Salad. Apple jelly with celery sorbet, walnut praline, and gorgonzola emulsion. When all the tastes on the plate were combined, the dish was successful. The texture of the apple brunoise and nuts were great. More of them and more greens and petals would be nice to accompany the excess of jelly.

mani sao paulo gnocchi

mani sao paulo mandioquinha

Nhoques de mandioquinha e Kuso com “dashi” de tucupi. Mandioquinha(a type of ‘little cassava’) and araruta gnocchi served with tucupi dashi. F*cking nuts. The gnocchi, cheesy and starchy, were of ideal density. The savory hit of the dashi was perfect. The Jambu,one of the herbs atop the gnocchi, was a lot of fun, giving a tingling numbing sensation like a Szechuan button.

mani sao paulo palmito

mani sao paulo bone marrowmani sao paulo heart of palm

Tutano com pupunha, açaí, salada de rucula selvagem. Heart of palm(from pupunha palm tree) stuffed with cow bone marrow, with wild arugula and white truffle oil. Quite a rich few bites. Nicely salty. The palm was very good with a little crispness.

mani sao paulo langoustine

mani sao paulo crayfish

Moqueca de lagostim com terrine de mandioquinha. A modernized moqueca(fish stew) with langoustine and a ‘terrine’ of mandioquinha root in a broth from the crayfish with roasted bell peppers and onion. Beautiful intensity of savory compliments.

mani sao paulo cod brandade

Bacalhau com taioba, queijo da serra da canastra e farofa de milho. Cod brandade with taioba leaf, Serra da Canastra cheese emulsion, and manioc farofa(toasted flour). The taioba had a very vegetal kale-like taste. The crunch of the farofa was good against the softness of the rest of the plate.

mani sao paulo feijoada

mani sao paulo feijoada

Feijoada – carpacio de pé de porco, esfera de feijao, laranja e farofa. A modernist feijoada(bean and meat stew) of pork foot carpaccio, bacon, black bean spheres, orange, kale, and manioc farofa. I wasn’t completely sold on the dish, but Rocky maintains that it was solid.

mani sao paulo cannelloni

mani sao paulo escondidinho

Escondidinho de carne seca com pimenta biquinho. Another take on a Brazilian classic and a very nice plate. Escondidinho, or ‘hidden jerk’. Instead of the dried meat being ‘hidden’ under a mound of mashed cassava, it was encased with manioc puree inside manioc flour and sitting atop a reduction from the jerk. Also on the plate were some candied, cubed, and powdered biquinho peppers.

mani sao pork foot cannelloni

mani sao paulo caneloni porco

Canelone de pé de porco, maçã verde e repolho roxo. Pork foot cannelloni(in bread) with red cabbage, green apple emulsion, and crispy pork skin. Good richness to round out the savories.

mani sao paulo coconut panna cotta

Panacota de Coco – com sorvete de chocolate branco ao rum, pérolas de abacaxi e consome de abacaxi e capim santo. Coconut panna cotta served with rum and white chocolate ice cream, pineapple pearls, lemongrass and pineapple consommé. The white chocolate added a subtle rich element to the beautiful little light tropical dessert. Rocky exclaimed: Piña Colada!!

mani sao paulo mille feuille

mani sao paulo raspberry domino

Mil folhas “Dominó” com sorvete de framboesa. ‘Mille feuille’ with raspberry sorbet, puff pastry, and vanilla cream. Superb. I loved the light crunch of the pastries with the perfect combo of vanilla and raspberry. A very special little dish.

Some wines we had:

mani sao paulo winemani sao paulo winemani sao paulo wine

Date of visit: January 7, 2014

Maní. Rua Joaquim Antunes, 210. São Paulo, Brazil  +55 11 3085 4148

mani sao paulo front door

mani sao paulo bus van

mani sao paulo sidewalk bird


Kinoshita, São Paulo

In the months leading up to my recent trip to Brazil I met a steady stream of food-savvy Brazilians visiting and dining in NYC. I collected lists of restaurant recommendations from many of them and continued to stay in touch with a few. Since São Paulo is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, I wanted to check out a couple Japanese restaurants. The same three names popped up consistently on the lists I was given. Two of them I couldn’t make it to because of closures or scheduling. The third was Tsuyoshi Murakami’s Kinoshita. My buddy Marc Z from Gastronomium had just flown back to SP from his NYC/LV trip and invited Rocky and me to join him for lunch there.

kinoshita sao paulo table setting

kinoshita sao paulo cocktailskinoshita sao paulo cocktail

We chatted and caught up for a moment then got the party started with some cocktails and an omakase menu.

kinoshita sao paulo oyster

kinoshita sao paulo oyster

An oyster with quail egg yolk, salmon roe, okra, ponzu, and tabasco. The oyster ‘shot’ had a nicely rounded hit of savory layers with just a little spice.

kinoshita sao paulo salmon tempura

Salmon with vegetable tempura, flying fish roe, and olive oil soy vinegar sauce. The savory aroma was very nice and the dish was tasty, though the featured salmon was covered up by the other components.

kinoshita sao paulo tuna foie gras

Tuna with seared foie lobe, teriyaki, and olive oil. What little flavor there was in the fish was again overshadowed with stronger flavors. The foie was well-executed and the plate as a whole had nice salt.

kinoshita sao paulo torched salmon

Torched salmon with butter soy lemon sauce. The fish had good flavor and a good fleshy bite with nice texture from the torching. The pool of sauce had a pleasant saltiness to support the fish. There was also something sweet in the dish that was fantastic.

kinoshita sao paulo tuna uni

Fatty tuna sashimi and uni with lemon and salt. A fine plate. The tuna had great taste and texture. Their house soy sauce was pretty solid.

kinoshita sao paulo sushi plate

Kinoshita sushi. The tuna, foie gras, and teriyaki was decent enough. Salmon with white truffle oil was strong on the truffle taste. Yellowtail with fleur de sel was very nice with pure fish taste. Hokkigai surf clam had  great density with a good chew. The uni was fantastic and sweet. Accompanied by a subtle Japanese soy sauce.

kinoshita sao paulo shrimp tempura

Shrimp tempura with a sweet apple onion carrot sauce and some mustard on the side for a light spice. A tasty enough plate, though nothing crazy special.

kinoshita sao paulo soba

kinoshita sao paulo soba noodles

Soba noodles with egg yolk, vegetable tempura, wakame seaweed, okra, and mushroom dashi. A tremendous savory bowl of cold noodles. The closer I got to the bottom of the bowl the more superb and full flavored the dish was.

kinoshita sao paulo Krug champagne

We were asked if we wanted any more savories before dessert. It seemed like the right thing to do to have a few more bites and another half bottle of Krug.

kinoshita sao paulo uni lime wasabi

Uni in lime with wasabi. At first Marc Z and I both agreed the lime was too strong for the uni. Then we agreed again that a little wasabi balanced it all out really nicely.

kinoshita sao paulo oyster shot

And another oyster shot. Delicious.

kinoshita sao paulo mochi coffe ice cream

Mochi rice cake and coffee ice cream. The mochi was filled with Valrhona chocolate and was well-balanced and great. The ice cream had an honest coffee flavor though was slightly icy in texture.

kinoshita sao paulo

A pretty solid lunch with great company. Big thanks to Marc Z for the generosity.

Date of visit:  January 7, 2014

Kinoshita. Rua Jacques Felix, 405. São Paulo, Brazil  +55 11 3849 6940

Dinner at D.O.M.

After a beautiful day of touring museums and parks in the Jardins area of São Paulo, Rocky and I made our way back to Alex Atala’s D.O.M. for part two of our two-in-a-row(click here for part one). Still excited from a remarkable lunch and a night of unique cocktails the day before, we were beyond ready to see what was cooking for dinner.

dom sao paulo

We got the party started with bread service and some off-menu cocktails that our new friend Barman Jean Ponce worked up in anticipation of our return.

dom sao paulo cocktaildom sao paulo cocktail

dom sao paulo bread servicedom sao paulo butterdom sao paulo bread service

After some back and forth with our service guy we established a game plan for the meal. With the exception of a few dishes we requested to have again, they had a new menu lined up for us.

dom sao paulo manioc

The same opener from the day before, though this time the texture of the grilled manioc was even better. Perfectly crisped with the starchy layers almost peeling apart. Great again with the cheese and port sauce. It was served with the same drink and I had just as much trouble with the pairing this time.

dom sao paulo zucchini salad

dom sao paulo langoustine zucchini

Salada de abobrinha caipira e lagostim. A zucchini salad with delicate, sweet langoustine and tender squid. Accompanied by Amazon herbs, flowers, and cashews with a tangy tangerine sauce. Playful, bright, light bites.

dom sao paulo scallop coconut brazil nut

Vieira com leite de coco e castanha do Pará. This was the dish from lunch that Rocky and I both wanted to have more of. Chilled scallop, coconut milk, shaved Brazil nut, dried mango. Just superb. And an ideal pairing of local flavors with the bottle of Brazilian chardonnay we had.

dom sao paulo oyster roe tapioca

Ostras empanadas com tapioca marinada. A grilled Santa Catarina Oyster with brioche breading served among salmon roe and tapioca. Texturally this was a ton of fun between shape and size similarities but tactile and taste contrasts of the roe and tapioca. The sweet brioche coating and the pepper spice in the sauce made a good dynamic with the oceanic salinity of the oyster and roe.

dom sao paulo black rice vegetables

dom sao paulo rice vegetables brazil nut milk

Arroz negro levemente tostado com legumes verdes e leite de castanha do Pará. Another repeated plate from  the previous day’s lunch. Toasted black rice with green vegetables(asparagus, green pepper, green onion, broccoli, leek, snow pea, celery) and Brazil nut milk. Just a great plate. The toasty crisp rice with the sweet of the milk and the vegetal snap. The leek this time was particularly superb.

dom sao paulo cod brandade

Brandade de bacalhau com tutano. Cod brandade with marrow accompanied by port reduction, rich earthy oxtail sauce, and herbed olive oil. Nothing too crazy, but certainly great.

dom sao paulo amazonic ant

dom sao paulo amazonian ant pineapple

Abacaxi com formiga amazônica. The same insect serving as the day before: Amazonian ant, solo, then with pineapple. Same story as before. Same resounding cooling herbaceousness.

dom sao paulo shrimp kale arugula

dom sao paulo shrimp

Camarão, couve e rúcula. Santa Catarina shrimp, kale cream, arugula, mushroom, potato, black pepper. Holy f*ck. The head of this shrimp was the best I had tasted in a long time. The intense, savory, lightly sweet, buttery flavor hit hard. Just licking the kale cream off the shell was incredible. My favorite dish of the trip.

dom sao paulo sea snail brazilian lime

dom sao paulo sea snail lime

dom sao paulo sea snail lemon

Caracol Marinho e casca de limão rosa. Dense, meaty sea snail with bitter, acidic Brazilian lemon peel supported by nice layers of alliums. The little pearl onion petals were great.

dom sao paulo peccary manioc toffee

dom sao paulo wild boar filet mignon

Filet mignon de queixada com caramelo toffe e mandioca Brás. The ‘filet mignon’ from peccary, a type of wild boar, dressed with a reduction of red wine, meat, fish, and milk caramel. Accompanied by crispy manioc cooked with egg and onion. Bad ass.

dom sao paulo aligot

Aligot. Again with the smooth, starchy potatoes whipped with Gruyere and Minas cheeses.

dom sao paulo sweet potato dessert

Mandioquinha glacê, chocolaté do Combu e chantilly de mel de abelha indígena. Fried arracacha root with chantilly cream made with local bee honey in a pool of the reduced cooking liquid of the root. The glazed root tasted close to a sweet potato, which I typically don’t care for, but I loved the sauce with the cream.

dom sao paulo pumpkin dessert

Abóbora, carvão vegetal e sorvete de tapioca. Pumpkin, cooked in sugar, then caramelized. With tapioca ice cream and coconut foam mixed with ‘vegetable coal’ or carbonized herb powder. The pumpkin was sweet and wonderfully juicy. The ‘coal’ in the foam gave the dish a nice campfire taste.

dom sao paulo mignardises

Some sweets with our tea.

dom sao paulo vale verde 12 year cachaca

Our new friend Pietro, who we chatted with a good deal the day before, presented us with a beautiful gift of Vale Verde 12 year Cachaça to finish our dinner. Smooth, lightly sweet, with balanced oak and acidity. A perfect finish to our meals at D.O.M.

Date of visit:  January 4, 2014

D.O.M. Rua Barão de Capanema, 549. São Paulo, Brazil  +55 11 3088 0761

Lunch at D.O.M. São Paulo

I first read about D.O.M. back in 2005. I had just earned a BFA in ballet and modern dance performance. I was living a jovial, sometimes raucous lifestyle with very few responsibilities. Each day I was getting more drawn into habitual eating and drinking out and about as well as cooking and entertaining at home. Reading more cookbooks and reading about what chefs and their teams were doing around the world. At that time I started to think it would be a neat idea to get a reservation at one of these amazing restaurants then plan a trip around the meal. Each time I mentioned to my friends the thought of traveling to another country for a meal they would tell me what a ridiculous idea it was. But I kept on looking for new places and another great bite. Now, nine years later, I find myself planning not only travel but most of my life around which wondrous restaurant to visit next.

A couple weeks ago Rocky and I made our first trip to the Southern Hemisphere and I finally got to taste what Chef Alex Atala is cooking at D.O.M. in São Paulo. As long as I was making the trek from NYC to Brazil, I thought I should make it a two-a-day, but Rocky is starting to protest that practice, so I went with a two-in-a-row. So this is a post from Friday lunch. Click here for Saturday dinner.

dom sao paulo table setting

After a couple sunny days of sightseeing, eating excessive açaí, and playing on the beach in Rio de Janeiro, we hopped on a plane to São Paulo, stopped by our hotel for a few minutes then made our way to lunch at D.O.M. We started up with a bottle of bubbles(kick-ass 1995 Fleury) and got the party started.

dom sao paulo bread servicedom sao paulo bread service

dom sao paulo bread servicedom sao paulo bread service

They hit us first with bread service. Traditional sourdough, whole wheat sourdough, and addictive little pão de queijo(cheese & tapioca buns) accompanied with Brazilian butter, roasted garlic and potato spread, and what we understood to be sour cream with olive oil.

dom sao paulo manioc

Before starting into the menu, a serving of grilled manioc with smooth, rich, whipped cheese and port reduction. The texture of the root was great. Crisp outside with starchy striations. A good few bites to start. Although it was served with a cocktail of curaçao and sparkling wine that tasted of cough syrup and perrier.

dom sao paulo eggplant

dom sao paulo eggplant ceviche

Ceviche de berinjela e algas. A ‘ceviche’ of juicy, acidic eggplant with seaweed, cilantro, and sesame. Not sure what all was in the powder that was dusted over, but it started off with an immediate spice that faded right into a pleasant oceanic seaweed taste.

dom sao paulo scallop coconut milk brazil nut

Vieira com leite de coco e castanha do Pará. Scallops with coconut milk, Brazil nut, dried mango, cilantro, and pepper. Superb tropical balance. Straight from Rocky’s mouth: ‘This is super f*cking delicious.’ Different types of sweetness subtly sang together and harmonized beautifully.

dom sao paulo black rice vegetables

Arroz negro levemente tostado com legumes verdes e leite de castanha do Pará. Lightly toasted black rice with broccoli, asparagus, snow pea, celery, leek, green pepper, and green onion dressed with Brazil nut milk. A wonderful plate of well-executed grains and vegetables.

dom sao paulo red snapper mini rice

Olho de cão com mini arroz e alga marinha. Local red snapper with mini-rice and seaweed. Really well balanced. Nothing mind blowing, but delicious.

dom sao paulo heart of palm anchovy

dom sao paulo palmito brandade

Brandade de palmito com anchova e telha de tapioca. A brandade of roasted heart of palm with anchovy and a meat-fish-red wine reduction. The brandade itself showed just enough of the astringency and acidity of the palm to balance into the richness. When combined with a little of the super salty anchovy, it was pretty bad ass.

dom sao paulo amazonic ant

dom sao paulo ant pineapple

Abacaxi com formiga amazônica. Northern Amazonic ants. Served both plain and with pineapple. We were instructed to have the plain ant first. It had a strong lemongrass-ginger taste and a resonating menthol-ish finish. When combined with the pineapple it was kind of like a cough drop in flavor, with the sweetness of the fruit alongside the herbaceous insect.

dom sao paulo mini rice cake

dom sao paulo mini rice mushroom watercress

Mini arroz tostado com cogumelos e agrião. A toasted mini rice ‘cake’ with mushrooms, kale cream, watercress, flowers, and a cream of curdled milk with brown butter solids. Effing bangin’. The rice was wonderfully textured. The dense, earthy mushrooms with the sweet, vegetal kale and the tangy, sour cream were fantastic.

dom sao paulo heart palm fettuccine

Fettuccine de palmito à Carbonara. Heart of palm ‘fettuccine’ prepared as a classic carbonara. I wasn’t too excited going into this one. I thought it sounded gimmicky/tacky in Atala’s recent cookbook, but I was way wrong. This plate was dynamite. The al dente snap of the palm and the balance of the inherent acidity within the rich preparation were spectacular.

dom sao paulo baby pork ribs

Costelinha ao Malbec com mandioca Brás. Baby pork ribs, fall-off tender with a nice thick glaze, plated up with Malbec foam and manioc prepared like crispy crunchy little french fries dressed with egg and onion. Not necessarily highly elevated cuisine, but it was super f*cking tasty.

dom sao paulo aligot

Aligot. An amazing Aligot. Loaded up with Gruyère and Minas cheese. With a perfect density. Almost like potato flavored chewing gum.

dom sao paulo lime ravioli

dom sao paulo lime ravioli

Priprioca – Ravióli de limão e banana ouro. Lime gel ‘ravioli’ stuffed with banana with priprioca. The sweet, lightly acidic lime made the banana taste rich which created a light fruity balanced first dessert.

dom sao paulo brazil nut tart

dom sao paulo brazil nut whiskey ice cream

Torta de castanha do Pará com sorvete de whiskey, curry, chocolate, sal, rúcula e pimenta. A Brazil nut tart with whiskey ice cream, curry, chocolate spice sauce, arugula, salt and pepper. With all the elements combined, a superb dessert.

dom sao paulo petit fours

A few sweet bites to accompany our coffee(which was made from Nespresso capsules, which we saw everywhere).

After dinner we got to chatting with one of the service staff and got onto the subject of Cachaça and cocktails and he started to tell us of Jean Ponce, D.O.M.’s barman, and some of his creations. So we decided we needed to visit for drinks in-between our two meals. Here’s a glimpse of what went down that night:

dom sao paulo cocktaildom sao paulo cachaca

dom sao paulo jean poncedom sao paulo cocktail

dom sao paulo cocktailsdom sao paulo bar snacks tapioca

It was absolutely a great first day in São Paulo, to see what we had for dinner the next day, click here.

Date of visit(s):  January 3, 2014

D.O.M. Rua Barão de Capanema, 549. São Paulo, Brazil  +55 11 3088 0761