Hello from Brazil!
After 14 hours of flight, plus the two-hour layover in Miami, I arrived to Sao Paulo safely. The flight was surprising pleasant with no delays or unnecessary troubles that often accompany international travels. The service provided by the American Airlines flight attendants — a mixture of both U.S.- and Brazil-based crew — was superb, an adjective not often associated with airline services but quite appropriate for my experience this time. Dinner (a cardboard meat with a side of rubbery mashed potatoes and defrosted, watery vegetables) and breakfast (piping hot croissant what quickly became hard, from the galley oven, accompanied by a cup of yogurt that certainly didn’t taste like one) served on the flight, however, was a different story altogether but it’s my fault for even expecting it to be somehow edible.
I arrived at Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport in the morning, and although my body was still operating under the Pacific Standard Time which is four hours behind, I was wide awake. It is surprising what adrenaline can do. Even after picking up my luggage and clearing custom and arriving at the hotel around noon, I could not sleep. So I did what I know best – go out for lunch 🙂
Unfortunately for me, the part of Sao Paulo I’m staying is a major business district so there aren’t much around. It’s an understatement to say that it is quite on a Sunday. I see NOONE on the streets! I took a quick walk around the very quite neighborhood of Vila Olimpia, found the office I’ll be reporting to tomorrow, and found an only place that seemed to be open for lunch at this hour.
Andiamo Ristorante is a little Italian restaurant on Rua Do Rocio, a street populated by office high rises and cute eateries that make businesspeople happy every day. Italian cuisine wouldn’t have been my first choice in a city full of wonderful, unique native dishes had there been more places open, but I was happy with my selection when I was greeted by a kind, English-speaking hostess. This may be an equivalent of a chain Italian restaurant in the states, but what the heck. This place was cute and I was hungry!
I was seated in the back booth that made even a solo diner comfortable. I don’t mind dining alone. In fact, I enjoy it, but the atmosphere of the restaurant can really dictate how the overall dining experience would turn out. The waiters spoke no English so I thought the communication would be difficult but the magic of food is so powerful, that it brought one English- and Japanese-speaking hungry gal and Portuguese-speaking staff together!
Simple is good.
A glass of red wine the waiter recommended.
I ordered a dish called Fusilli Rustico — butterfly-shaped pasta tossed with sliced olives, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and topped with a generous portion of grated Parmesan cheese. It was a simple dish but a delicious one, with juicy tomatoes adding distinct tanginess to the dish.
I heart strawberries.
For dessert (who could resist one when they bring you a tray full of sweets to choose from?), I had this strawberry cream concoction that had the perfect combination of fruity tanginess and subtle sweetness. It reminded me of the way that French eat strawberries where you pour milk on a bowl full of the fruit and squish them, making it a delicious milk dessert. My mother likes eating it this way too, and although it may not sound appetizing at first, it is most certainly a great way to enjoy this heavenly goodness! The drizzle of strawberry liquor added a punch to this lovely plate.
The street the office located.
An interesting graffiti I found on the way back to the hotel.
The fatigue finally caught up with me after lunch. Once I got back to the hotel, I went straight to bed and slept for the next five hours! It was a great start of my Brazilian trip and I’m looking forward to tasting some more wonderful dishes in the days to come.
My home away from home for the next six days.
Rua Do Rosio, Sao Paulo