Do you think these skewers will fit into my suitecase?
There are some things in life that are so fascinating that you just have to put it on your “things to do in your lifetime” list. For some, it may be to climb Mt. Everest. And for others, it may be to run a marathon in all 50 states. Although my action items are not that ambitious, I too have the “list,” and to nobody’s surprise, many revolve around food. I want to enroll in Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. I want to go (just to go) to Tsujiki Fish Market in Tokyo. And I want to experience churrascaria in Brazil. Well, thanks to my new friends in Brazil who took the time to show me the great Brazilian culinary ritual, I can check off one from the list.
Churrascaria, a Brazilian steakhouse where waiters serve different types of meat on a huge skewer at a table, is not only delicious, it’s an experience in its own. We went to Montana Grill located only a few miles from the office, and although the restaurant is not as famous as Fogo de Chao which is the oldest, and the most reputable churrascaria in Brazil (and has a restaurant on La Cienaga and around the world), it was still as authentic and still delicious.
Cachaca with Passion Fruite. It’s typically made with lime.
The group that took me out to lunch this day was so out-of-this-world hilarious that I ended up crying the entire time from laughter, and when you add a few glasses of cachaca (the famous Brazilian liquor made out of sugarcane), you can just imagine how much of a side-splitting fun I had. It was me, Aldo, Essio, Gabriella, Monica and Bia, my little angel.
The lunch started out with the visit to the all-you-can-eat salad bar that puts ordinary buffet to shame. My favorite items here marinated eggplants, white asparagus, beef carpaccio with mustard and capers, and pickled octopus. There were salmon sashimi and sushi rolls there too. (FYI, what you see on the picture above is my second plate … the first one was a lot more packed with food.)
Right when I returned to the table, the skewers of meat started appearing non stop, and I had to flip the little card that reads, “no thank you” just so that I can pace myself! As each meat arrived, Aldo explained for me what it is. “Oh, this is ‘Picanha’, the sirloin, and the most popular cut of steak here” and “This is lamb, you’ll like it.” When Cordeiro arrived, however, Aldo couldn’t find the word to translation it, so instead, he pointed at his rib and said, “it’s this, it’s this.” And Essio, the comedian, said, “That’s not a rib, that’s FAT!” and we all died of laughter (note: Aldo is a slim man). Essio told me that his motto in life is, “I may lose friends but I’ll never lose my joke,” and Aldo’s is, “I may lose my self esteem, but I will never lose my joke.” In a span of just an hour, I had every part of a cow imaginable, including the heart which was chewy and flavorful. I meant to take more pictures of food but I was so busy devouring the meat 🙂
Aldo, the adventurous one, took me to the kitchen to show me how the meat is cooked. The manager of the joint was so gracious for allowing us to go inside and even letting me pose with a skewer! I was so tempted to take it and run!
Montana Grill Churrascaria
Av. Pres. Juscelino Kubitschek, 817, Sao Paulo