Wednesday evening I boarded the plane for Brazil. I have traveled between the US and Brazil many times before, so I knew what to expect and I was looking forward to leaving the pending snow storm for 80 degree weather.
What I didn’t realize was how being 6 years older (last time I went to Brazil I was 19) can drastically change your traveling experience. I am turning 25 on Monday and I am sure many people would make fun of me for saying that I feel “old”, but it is the truth. Sitting on the plane, my back started to hurt, my knees started to hurt, essentially I was INCREDIBLY uncomfortable. It didn’t help that I had gotten two vaccines that day (getting ready for my big backpacking trip!), so every time I leaned against either arm I winced in pain and discomfort.
Long story short, I didn’t sleep very much.
But sleep didn’t matter because I knew once I landed I would be in São Paulo, the land of delicious, mouth-watering food. And sure enough, 3 hours after I landed I found myself in the dining room of Mocotó Restaurante.
I am not going to lie, Mocotó is not in the nicest part of the city. As my dad said several times, “I wouldn’t want to be here at night”. But in the quest for great food we need to be willing to go outside our comfort zone. If you have seen the movie Field of Dreams you may know the quote,
“If you build it, he will come”
and that is what Chef José Oliveira de Almeida has done. He built a restaurant on the foundation of excellent food, garnered a wall of awards, and now people flock to the restuarant, no matter what the neighborhood may look like. For example we got there 30 minutes before the restaurant opened, and we weren’t the only ones waiting.
First we ordered were the caipirinhas and beer. I was a bit dehydrated from my long flight so I stuck to water, but I might have stolen a few sips 😉
This caipirinha is made with Jabuticaba (fruit native to brazil). The traditional drink is made with limes, but the options are endless.
The appetizers came next…
For appetizers we had Dadinhos de Tapioca and Queijo-de-Coalho com Melado. The first was crunchy cubes of tapioca and cheese that you could dip in their sweet and sour chili sauce, and the second was grilled cheese (Queijo-de-Coalho) that you could dip in cane syrup. When I say “grilled cheese” I don’t mean cheese + bread, I mean literally a piece of cheese grilled so that it has a crunchy exterior and a smooth cheesy center.
Looks like this ↑ (click image for source).
The lack of appetizer pictures is due to the fact that I was still playing with my camera settings, and I was pretty hungry, oops.
The meal itself was like a family dinner, you order your meats and your sides and have a little bit of everything.
I couldn’t get enough of the pimento biquinho (little red peppers), they were the perfect balance between spice and flavor. Best part, they sold the peppers so I am bringing them home with me! My goal next summer will be to grow and pickle these myself!
Overall, not my best shots, but don’t let me photos fool you, the food was amazing. If you are ever in São Paulo you should make your way to Mocotó 🙂
Love always, Arianna the Wandering Pipette