Have You Tried Real Tapioca?

On many street corners throughout Brazil you will see a small stand/cart with 2 frying pans and a bunch of little containers on it that says Tapioca across the top with various fillings listed below. Yes, the first time I saw this I was a bit surprised to see this makeshift cooking station.  Anyways, for the American’s reading, this is NOT the tapioca pudding you are remembering ie the cup of vanilla custard with little gross balls floating around…. Brazilian Tapioca is a kind of pancake made from manioc starch and water.

Brazilian Tapioca

Brazilian Tapioca

This ‘chewy tortilla’ (think a form of a crepe) can be filled with all sorts of items from ham & cheese to chocolate &  banana. Apparently it is very popular in the Northeast of Brazil where many people there eat it for breakfast, here in Rio I have found it to be more popular to eat as a snack or dessert.  While walking home, my friend wanted to pick one up for her sister (a cheese filled tapioca to be exact)… enjoy seeing how Brazilian Tapioca is made!

Tapioca produced by Pamela Granoff on WellcomeMat

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Trying new foods..

Today we headed to Copacabana(will post more about that later) but figured I would share my first time trying Arab food experience…. Since I had no idea what I would like, I piled on pretty much everything that I thought could be appealing… So as you can see there’s a chicken skewer (usually a safe choice), most of these little guys are filled with beef or cheese and of course some hummus and falafel in the mix.  I’ll be honest the falafel and hummus was good, the rest was well… overall an interesting eating experience (one for which I am unfortunately paying for now).  Glad I was daring and tried it all but think I will pass the next time someone suggests it…

Enjoying the food..

Cafeina is a great spot for salads and sandwiches! Huge list of both, plus they even have English translation under each item- first place I have been to that I have seen English since I got here… it is VERY exciting! The restaurant itself is on the corner of Av Ataulfo de Paiva and Rita Ludolf (a nice tree lined street) and open so you can sit inside or outside.

Off to Ipanema for the afternoon I discovered Casa do Pao de Queijo (apparently it is a chain and scattered throughout Brazil, but I happened to discover this one). For those of you who don’t know what Pao de Queijo is, it is a type of ‘cheese bread’.  They come in a variety of sizes, and are baked, cheese-flavored rolls (the inside is chewy and moist).  They are a very popular/typical snack in Brazil (and one of my personal favorites!). If you have never had it, I highly recommend trying it. If you are reading this and not near a Casa do Pao de Queijo (since they are in Brazil, you are probably not near one) Pão de queijo can be bought frozen at supermarkets to be baked personally, look for brands like Forno de Minas, and Casa do Pão de Queijo. Additionally, cheese puff mix packages are easily found in most supermarkets,super easy to make on your own (if I can make them, ANYONE can!) look for brands like ‘Yoki’ and ‘Hikari’ (those are the more popular ones in the states). If you are in NYC visit Buzios Brazil Boutique located at 20 W 46th St (second floor) to get the frozen kind or the mix, otherwise try it the next time you are at a Brazilian restaurant!

For those of you who know me well, a day is not complete without ice cream…. and while searching for my favorite comfort food, I stumbled upon Sorvet Italia

think I struck gold with this find! I can say with confidence I have never had such incredibly delicious, amazing, wonderful chocolate fudge brownie ice cream in my life, each bite was loaded with brownie! They don’t skimp out like they do at Ben & Jerrys does (you know what I am talking about, you dig and dig and maybe get 2-5 bites with brownie in it and are a little disappointed when you realize you’re left with just chocolate) well not here, you will be completely satisfied! They have a HUGE selection (I of course tasted a few flavors before deciding) and everything I tried was delicious, I will def be heading back there again!