Back in Rio

March 26, 2010

Lindsay and I arrived back in Rio this afternoon. I can’t believe how good it feels to be here. We checked into the hotel and went to get acai from the shiny new BB Lanches. We went to our old apartment and said hello to Marcos, our super hero door man. He opened up our mailbox, and it turns out he was keeping mail for us! It was all junk, but still. We stopped in at the Claridge, where Scott and I stayed when we arrived, and said hello to Paulo. We finished up with a stroll over to Ipanema and then back along the beach, with a quick stop at one o the kiosks. It just reminds me how happy I was while living here. I was so disappointed when it was unbearably hot and crowded over Christmas, and now Rio is back to the city that I totally adore, in all of it’s leafy, mountainous, beachy beauty.


Acai in New York

March 16, 2010

To counteract my water post from earlier today, I’d like to mention that I just found myself doing extensive research about where I can get acai in New York once I return.  While I may love gulping glasses of cool tap water, I’m going to miss perfectly blended acai–the most refreshing breakfast.  It’s clear that we’ll need to get a blender or juicer or something when we get back, and I discovered that I can buy frozen acai pulp at a number of grocery stores in New York.  That blender will also be useful for all of the other juices that are so incredible here.  I’m particularly partial to anything with maracuja (passion fruit) and melancia (watermelon) the most refreshing.

In an article published yesterday, Seth Kugel, who I think lives in Sao Paulo, wrote about açaí in the New York Times. I think it’s the thing I’m going to miss the most when we return from Brazil.

The Usual

September 8, 2009

I spent this morning researching roof gardens in preparation for my afternoon call.  About half way through, somewhere between learning about hydroponics and the safety requirements of improved roofs in Toronto, I realized I hadn’t eaten and went down the street to our closest juice bar.  It’s not the best one, since our fan favorite closed for renovation, but it’s now the closest one.  The guy looked at me and said “the usual?” and I nodded.  I never even achieved this sort of status with any establishment in New York.

I was then only tripped up by trying to eat enough of the açaí so I could put a lid on it to take it home before it melted too much, pushing the hair out of my face (it was super windy this morning) and not spilling my granola, which I like to add little by little so it doesn’t get soggy.

Another post about food

July 14, 2009

I’ve been refraining from posting about food, since I’ve gotten teased about it, but there are two new discoveries worth mentioning.

I had açaí again, the real thing, from the juice bar (which has changed our lives) and it’s incredible. BB Lanches, a juice bar down the street just does everything right (grilled cheese, any kind of juice), and it’s fast and cheap. It makes us feel like real cariocas.

The other discovery was a very common Brazilian dessert called brigadeiros. They’re like small, caramelly, chocolate things covered in sprinkles. They’re super easy to make and impossibly delicious.

And our Portuguese teacher showed up today. Away we go!


July 6, 2009

I was reluctant to get on the açaí bandwagon.  It seemed like an unimportant fad in the US before we left, something that I could absolutely pass up.  Even now, where there are juice stands (sucus) on literally every corner, I still haven’t stopped in for a juice.  The thing I found most intriguing were cups that people were walking away with, filled with a slushy looking chocolate sorbet.  What I learned today, after buying this

IMG_0047in the freezer at the supermarket–a  little tub of açaí with banana, served with a tiny spoon, a capsule of honey and a little packet of granola, I realized it’s the same thing.  It happens to be totally delicious–berry flavored mostly, with the herbal qualities of a tea, sort of, and in this frosty form, I’m totally into it. Plus the packaging is super cute.  I’ll have to try the real thing at the juice bar tomorrow.

After 20 seconds on wikipedia (a little bit more because now my computer unfortunately searches in Portuguese), the Açaí fruit is from the palm

The fruit, is small, round, black-purple drupe about 1 inch (25 mm) in diameter, similar in appearance and size to a grape but with less pulp, is produced in branched panicles of 700 to 900 fruits. Two crops of fruit are produced each year.  The berries are harvested as food. In a study of three traditional Caboclo populations in the Amazon region of Brazil, açaí palm was described as the most important plant species because the fruit makes up such a major component of diet (up to 42% of the total food intake by weight) and is economically valuable in the region.

The juice and pulp of açaí fruits (Euterpe oleracea) are used in various juice blends, smoothies, sodas, and other beverages. In northern Brazil, açaí is traditionally served in gourds called “cuias” with tapioca and, depending on the local preference, can be consumed either salty or sweet (sugar, rapadura, and honey are known to be used in the mix). Açaí has become popular in southern Brazil where it is consumed cold as açaí na tigela (“açaí in the bowl”), mostly mixed with granola. Açaí is also widely consumed in Brazil as an ice cream flavor or juice. The juice has also been used in a flavored liqueur.