Hanukah and Consolação

December 12, 2009

Last night, after our packed day of seeing urban agriculture in action, Scott and I went to a lovely shabbat/Hanukah dinner at Paulo and Edite’s, and then out.  Dinner with everyone was great, warm, easy conversation.  As we finished off the donuts, we felt pretty lucky, again that we have this support system here.

We went out in Consolação, first to Bar Leblon, where there was a map of our old neighborhood covering a long wall of the space.  It gave us saudades for our old stomping ground, and we sipped our drinks slowly, looking at the twenty-something crowd picking at petiscoes and drinking fruity capairinhas.

From there we went to a bar called Sonique.

It was a little clubby for us, but not that crowded when we went at midnight, and it was filled with high heels and short skirts, tight jean and white sneakers.  The music thumped, and I very much liked the industrial chic look, with smooth cement floors and cinder block walls with classy white framing.  It was a fun scene to watch and be a part of, and very different than anything we had access to in Rio.

Scott and I had a super fun night last night. We went here:

A dreamy place with really delicious food–flatbreads with a trio of dips–tomatoes sweetened with honey, eggplant caponata and an amazingly kicky wasabi cream. We had tuna tartar with a hoison sauce (like Momofuku) and the most amazing dessert.

If you have a kitchen torch, please make this. It was banana carpaccio brule–thinly sliced bananas, arranged beautifully to cover the whole plate with a layer of caramelized, crusty sugar, topped off with coconut tapioca ice cream. It was crunchy and creamy, hot and cold and sweet.

From there we went here to Palaphita Kitch…

A very loungy bar that overlooks the lagoa (Rio has water everywhere–the Atlantic, a bay and a lake, it gets confusing sometimes when you’re driving around), with strong caparinhas, twinkly lights and cool music. I also found their candles to be pretty innovative. Instead of regular votives gracing each table, they had a little crappy piece of plastic, with a normal, white stubby candle, covered by a rusted box grater. It sounds awful now that I’m writing it (Brooke, where have your critical senses gone? Are you just so smitten with everything Brasileiro?) but the effect was pretty cool. Everyone’s doing more with less these days, right?

Designated Drivers

July 3, 2009

It was overcast today and so after wandering by the beach for a little bit, Scott and I ventured into RioDesignLeblon.  It’s a big, sparkly shopping mall with a lot of trendy shops and restaurants.  We discovered Joe & Leo’s, an anywhere, any town sports-themed restaurant with wings and nachos and burgers.  It now seems appropriate that we went there on Fourth of July weekend.

While we waited for our food to come, we started reading our table cards, because every bit of print or speech is an opportunity to test our Portuguese.

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What we discovered is that Joe & Leo’s offers, in addition to double portion appetizers during happy hour,  a Buddy Driver deal, where in any group of four people, if one person doesn’t drink, they get a R$25 voucher for the next time they come.  An unexpected and sort of clever way to enforce safety.  It seemed totally initiated by the restaurant, but we wondered if US policymakers shouldn’t provide tax incentives to restaurants to do the same.

Lapa

June 28, 2009

We woke up to sun this morning after a super fun night in Lapa.  Although I have to say we went to one of the most well-known samba clubs, and it was a little like going to the Hard Rock Cafe, the only difference was that Cariocas lined up to get in, not tourists.  The menu was  cheesy and laminated and the lights were 50% too bright for any self-respecting club, but it was packed and the queue stretched down the cobble stone street.  We saw, ate, and went outside to this:

LapaWhere we bought some beers from the booze cart for a dollar each and took in the energy of the Arcos.  Samba music played all around, and it was more fun to be sitting on a bench in the middle of it than to be in a bar paying more…

Jobi

June 26, 2009

This is where we went last night for ice cold Chope and cassava fries. It was a little nothing bar that was packed with attractive people.  The waiters were old and joking (borracho? he asked us after we ordered a third round), and check out the fans.  I’m in love with them, the old school, Jobichrome-spinning ones.  They’re surprisingly effective and just a beautiful design.