Ξ July 26th, 2009 | → Comments Off | ∇ Highland Park |
In order to write a poem you don’t always need a pen, just the subtlety of the ball.
On the lips of the referee, silence wins.
It’s so much more enjoyable to watch soccer in Spanish. The broadcasters treat the game more like an epic poem, or in the case of the 5-0 U.S. loss in today’s Gold Cup final, a Greek tragedy might be more appropriate. (Watching the U.S. defense quit in the second half feels similar to finding out you’ve slept with your mother and blinded yourself…I imagine).
Yet I digress. The purpose of this post is really to pimp a new local business bringing last year’s frozen yogurt fad to NELA. Normally I’d make some snide comment about Pinkberry and it’s imitators and then try to lump them with Sprinkles and Kogi, but in this case, Blue Dot Açai & Yogurt Parfait brings something unique to the neighborhood. In the vein of my previous post on Brazil, I returned home last week hoping to be able to find the Açai smoothies that I’d fallen in love with. Jamba Juice only uses Açai juice as an ingredient and Whole Foods sells a frozen version in a bag that wasn’t nearly as good as the original. My search quickly led me to this new business that has only been open for a month. They have the classic yogurt options that have become so popular in the neighborhoods to our west with a bevy of fruit and candy toppings (Cinnamon Toast Crunch having the most promise). Still, I avoided these and tried their Original Açai Bowl with blended Açai, granola, fresh sliced bananas, and honey. The result was heavy but delicious. Açai is pretty high in calories so the bowl is probably better suited as a healthy meal than a snack. Still, it makes a great addition to the neighborhood and will have to be worked into my sweets circuit.
Blue Dot Acai and Yogurt Parfait
5110 Townsend Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90041
- A partially eaten Acai bowl
Ξ July 26th, 2009 | → Comments Off | ∇ Highland Park |
For the final installment of our Latin American food series, I’m going to touch on my four day stay in Rio de Janeiro. The irony in travelling through Latin American countries such as Chile and Argentina is th they didn’t feel very “latin”. A map would have you believe that Latin America begins in Tierra del Fuego and ends at Mexico’s northern border. The irony of my trip of course is that I left Highland Park for cities where the locals were overwhelmingly anglo, the foodrecalled Michigan more than Michoacan, and street life lacked any of the chaos so enjoyable in other parts of Latin America (and LA for that matter). Brazil finally contained the exoticism I was looking for after some 13 hours of flying. Brazilians have crafted a very unique cuisine from a nation rich in fruit and expansive ranches with a strong cultural blend of Portuguese, African, and Amerindian cultures.
The centerpiece of breakfast in Rio is the fruit. Fruit stands are omnipresent in Ipanemaand Copacabana and provide a cheap, fast, and healthy way to start the day. This meal consists of mango juice, an egg and cheese sandwich, and blended frozen açai. Açai was a real revelation on this trip. I know Jamba Juice uses it as an ingredient in some of their smoothies, but I’d never tried it. Not only is it delicious, but it’s very healthy as well (very high in antioxidants).
Perhaps most representative of Brazil’s multicultural history isfeijoada, a Brazilian bean stew. Traditionally served only on weekends, the dish is historically slave cuisine. The undesirableparts of the pig (ears, tail, feet) would be salted and slow cooked into a meal so heavy, it can only be eaten as lunch on a day off. (You wouldn’t want to be digesting this at your office desk.) Traditional garnishes can include orange slices, mantioc flour, rice, collared greens, and bananas.
Stews are very popular throughout Brazil. Although my trip didn’t take me out of Rio, we did find a restaurant that served amazonian food typical of the northern state of Para. Not much goes to waste in this salty dish as the rice in the stew is cooked with chicken blood.
As the terminus of the world’s largest river, freshwater fish plays a large role in Paran cuisine. The Peixada do Peixes do Rio Amazonas was an entire pot full of broiled freshwater fish, vegetables, and coconut milk. Intensely rich in flavor it was difficult to even put a dent in this.
Peixada do Peixes do Rio Amazonas
Just down the coast from Para is the Brazilian state of Bahia where seafood is again a staple of the diet. This Moquequa is a mixture of rice, mantioc flour, calamari, shrimp, and chicken.
For dinner, buffets where the customer pays per kilo seemed popular but a uniquely Brazilian meal is of course the churrascaria. You begin by loading up your plate withvarious side dishes and then an army of waiters circulate through the tables offering different roast meats directly off the spit. I didn’t actually take this picture as I’m not comfortable trying to mime to our waiter why I want him to pose with a sword stacked with chicken hearts. I probably would have appreciated this more if I hadn’t spent the previous two weeks on a strict diet of grilled red meat. Of course I don’t have to go far in Los Angeles to get this food as Porto Alegre in Pasadena or Fogo de Chao near the Beverly Center.
Finally, any summary of a trip to Rio would be incomplete without mention of the Caipirinha. Made with lime, sugar, and cachaça, sitting in a plastic chair between a white sand beach and the towering cliffs of Rio might be the quintessential Brazilian experience.