Tender Meat and Tender Memories: Trilha Do Trigo

trilha-do-trigoI am amazed at the level of intelligence and diversity the people I met in the Brazil office posses. Not only do they have a strong command of the English language (written and verbal), most of them are virtually fluent, and English in not the only foreign language they speak and understand. Many of them speak Spanish (which is very similar to Portuguese), French, and even Japanese (there are a high population of Japanese-Brazilians in Sao Paulo). The saturation of highly educated people here is probably due to the fact that our company is an American company and communications are conducted primary in English and this high, multi-lingual percentage may not be an accurate representation of all the businesses around, but still, this is a pretty fascinating phenomenon. And did I tell you that they all have wicked sense of humor?

Beatriz, perhaps one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met (and reminds me very much of my best friend, Maya), and her team took me to the little restaurant next to the office for lunch. She kept apologizing that this place is nothing fancy but I thought it was very cute. The place was called Trilha Do Trigo, and although I have no idea what that translates to, I’m assuming it has something to do with a chicken or a rooster because the place was full of the quirky bird decorations. We sat in the patio-like area by the entrance but there’s a huge dining area in the back suitable for big banquet or a meeting, as well as small tables to accommodate solo diners who’s looking for a quick lunch.

sheepI was told that pasta dishes are delicious here and patrons can watch the chef make fresh pasta from the glass window located in the center of the restaurant. When I dine, especially in a new place, I like to try the daily special the restaurant offers. There was something I saw under the “winter special” that caught my eyes (I couldn’t believe from the 75 degree whether that it is winter here) and I asked my friends what it is. They searched for the word, and after a moment, they said enthusiastically, “Oh, it’s a sheep! It’s a sheep!”

For a second, it didn’t register that sheep is a lamb, so I thought I was being adventurous like Anthony Bourdine for trying something I’ve never had before. After I realized that I had just ordered a little baby lamb, I felt a bit guilty, but after the first, very tender and flavorful bite, I didn’t care what I was eating.

There was something magical about the cannelloni beans that accompanied the dish. They were so delicious — easily the best-tasting beans I’ve had. They had a nice texture, simple flavoring and nothing like the ones that come out of the can. Rice cooked with garlic and onion was delicious as usual, and I was also pleased to see the side of broccoli sitting pretty on the plate (vegetable!).

The food was delicious but it was the company of the new friends I made here that made this dining experience such a special one. I am so blessed that I had the opportunity to come to Brazil for work and meet these fantastic bunch of people, and although I’ll be leaving here in a few days, I know that I will cherish these tender memories for a long, long time.

Best Friends Forever: La Frite

My best friend and her family recently relocated to a place far, far away, and although I’m really happy for her and her new life, the move has left a tremendous void in my heart … and my stomach. Not only was she my best friend, she was also my epicurean soul sister, and there was nothing we cherished more than spending time together over a glass of wine and fabulous food. And boy, did we eat over the years (but she never gained weight whereas I gained at least 20 pounds from hanging out with her! Man, what I do in the name of friendship!

One of the places we frequented was a little French cafe called La Frite in our neck of the wood because we both loved affordable, friendly, low-key places. The restaurant offered good food and relaxing atmosphere, and although I never thought it offered the best French food in town by any means, the experience certainly hit the spot whenever we were looking for a place to unwind after a long day at work.

The last time we were at La Frite, we spotted a lady eating a cheesy, casserole dish at a table next to us and I had to have whatever it was that she was having. The casserole turned out to be a Ratatouille Crepe. I ordered it out of curiosity and while the idea of having a ratatouille on top of a crepe and baked in cheese sounded heavenly, the whole thing was just a little tad too much for me. But it sure was interesting and I’m glad I tried it (I’m sure Remy will be proud of me).


Crepe Ratatouille

On the other hand, what my best friend ordered, I thought, was out of this world. It was a daily special of lamb smothered in garlic sauce. I though the meat was cooked to perfection (a little on the rare side which I prefer) and the garlic sauce made my eyes roll backward.


Rack of lamb with garlic sauce

And of course, what’s a French café experience without a plateful of perfectly golden French fries and …


…. cream burle to share?


I guess the reason why La Frite holds such a special place in my heart is because this was (along with other places all over town) our place where we shared laughter and, of course, food coma, together.

La Frite
22616 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364