Jul 04

World Cup 2014 – Penalties on the beach



Phew! I’ve finally managed to find time to write a new post. I would like to post more often, but things have been ridiculously busy over the last month – I’ve been working 7 days a week with a mixture of food tours and writing assignments. So far my new career as freelance writer and food guide is going well and although I’m looking forward to having a little break, it feels good to be this busy.

Eat Rio Food Tours have been going really well and I am now up to number 38 in TripAdvisor’s list of Activities in Rio – take a look at some of the lovely things people have been saying.

Anyway, enough random talk, let’s get back to the football shall we? Last Saturday Brazil took on Chile in their first knock-out game and I decided to go out on assignment to capture the drama of the occasion (of course I had no idea quite how dramatic things would be). In the photo above you can see that the bar near Eat Rio HQ was taking things very seriously.

I hopped on the metro and was almost immediately absorbed into a group of Brazilians on their way to the big screens on Copacabana beach:

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Jun 27

Tucum and Gift Brazil


Havaianas – a great holiday present (though not hugely original).


One question that comes up a lot from visitors to Rio is “What is a nice gift that I can buy here to take home?”. The usual list of suggested presents/mementos goes like this: Havaianas, cachaça, coffee. That’s it.

Well, actually of course that’s not it – there are other imaginative suggestions like pão de queijo mix (both my parents have been the lucky recipients of this Brazilian treat), hammocks (my sister) and giant bird-head masks (my friends):

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Jun 24

Cutting Crispy Couve


Photo: Rodrigo Moreira


If you’re visiting Rio for a few days and you’re interested in eating some typical dishes, one of the items that should be near the top of your list is feijoada (pictured above). It’s a rich, heavy stew of black beans, carne seca, linguiça (sausuage) and various cuts of pork, not unlike the French dish cassoulet. Traditionally, it is served with rice, torresmo (pork scratchings/pork rind), farofa, orange slices and couve.

Couve is that shredded, green vegetable you can see at the top of the plate above. In the US they call it Collard Greens which is basically the same as what the British called Spring Greens – basically it’s a thick, slightly bitter green leaf from the Brassica family, not a million miles from Kale.

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Jun 19

Watching Brazil vs Mexico


Casa Alto Vidigal is a hostel and bar sitting right at the top of the Vidigal favela.


Well, Brazil have played 2 games now and I think it’s fair to say that most people have been pretty underwhelmed. So far there have been no dominant displays and no goleadas – just a feeling that something isn’t quite clicking when the team get out on the field.

I have a few Mexican friends living here in Rio, and they had all decided to watch the game at Casa Alto Vidigal, a hostel/bar at the very top of Vidigal favela. The journey would normally take a little over an hour, so I gave myself a little over 2 hours and set off on my journey. Within minutes I received messages from other friends who were also trying to get to Vidigal – everyone was telling me that the traffic was the worst they’d ever seen in Rio.

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Jun 13

World Cup 2014 day 1: post-match


On my way to the game, I saw that even the dogs were getting in on the act.


Well, things didn’t quite go as scripted for Brazil: an underwhelming performance, an own goal, a very dubious penalty decision and many people saying that Neymar should have received a red card. However, the score finished 3-1 and Brazil have the expected 3 points.

I was planning to watch the game at the FIFA Fanfest on the beach in Copacabana, so I hopped on the bus. I decided to stop off in Ipanema first to see what the World Cup atmosphere was like. With just a couple of hours to kick off, the beaches were eerily empty.


Where is everybody? Getting comfortable in front of a TV somewhere…

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Jun 12

World Cup 2014 – Day 1


This was the scene on the beach in Ipanema yesterday. Mostly cloudy with the beaches fairly quiet. Was this a bad omen?


Well, after all the anticipation, speculation, worry and protest, the day has finally dawned. Day 1 of the World Cup 2014. Yesterday was my first chance to get out of the house and wander the streets of Ipanema to see how things looked and I have to say it didn’t look great.

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Jun 11

#SkypeSavvyChallenge Competition!


Obligatory World Cup image.


In case you missed it, Brazil is currently hosting one of the biggest competitions in the world. With the help of my friends at Skype (I’m their Food Ambassador, remember?), I’m starting up a new competition and you’re all invited to take part.



The challenge is simple – tell us about a fun, unusual or inventive way you use Skype. Do you carry out training sessions with your band mates when you can’t all be in the same place at once? Are you one of those people who can tell an entire story using emoticons?

Here’s one of my tricks. When friends are working late in the office, I’ve been known to tempt them out to play by hanging around the vicinity of their office and Skyping them a photo of something tasty…

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Jun 06

Babilônia Feira Hype

Photo: I Hate Flash (Filipe Marques)

Photo: I Hate Flash (Filipe Marques)


Hi everyone. Well, it’s Friday and I’m running very late on about 3 jobs, so I only really have time to quickly tell you about something fun happening in Rio this weekend. Babilônia Feira Hype is a huge market that was first held back in 1996. Back then it was a smaller affair and was held on Aterro da Flamengo. Over the years it has grown, changed and switched locations so that what we have today is more than just a simple market.

Photo: I Hate Flash (Filipe Marques)

Photo: I Hate Flash (Filipe Marques)

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Jun 04

Cachambeer: Pleasures of the flesh in Zona Norte



Much as I love many Brazilian cuisine, I think very few people would described it as ‘sophisticated’. That’s not meant as an insult, but I think it’s fair to say that most Brazilian dishes fit into the category ‘comfort food’ rather than, say, ‘delicate and complex’. And although Brazil has 7,500km of coastline (more than twice that of Peru), many visitors are surprised at how little seafood finds its way onto Brazilian menus – meat usually takes pride of place.

Brazilian eating culture also places a lot of emphasis on dishes that are bem servido (served in generous portions) – restaurant menus often include suggestions for how many people main dishes will serve, but unless you’re a powerlifter you can safely multiply the suggestion by 2.

Well a couple of years ago I heard talk of a bar/restaurant way up in Zona Norte that took the Brazilian predilection for huge portions and roast meats to extreme levels and last weekend I finally got to visit.

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May 30

A photo, an update and a competition with a prize



Well, the World Cup looms ever closer and, like many people, I can’t wait for things to get going. Putting aside doubts and objections about chaotic organising efforts and public spending, I love international football and the thought of having the best players in the world playing for their countries in my own back yard – well that’s pretty awesome.

I’m also looking forward to the start of the tournament because I’ll finally be able to break away from my laptop and enjoy a little free time in Rio. It’s not easy to blog when you hardly leave the house and that’s part of the reason I haven’t been posting so much recently.

Today I’ve got a bit of a mish-mash for you. Firstly, check out that nice butterfly I saw this morning. It landed in a patch of sunshine on my jasmine plant and stayed there just long enough for me to get a photo.

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