Jun 11

#SkypeSavvyChallenge Competition!

Brasil-rumo-ao-hexa

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.

 

#SkypeSavvyChallenge

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

Brazilian-beef

 

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

backlit-butterfly

 

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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May 28

Are Brazilians capable of organising a Mega-Event?

 

Yesterday I stumbled across an article in the New York Times, Brazil Is Tired of Being Scolded, which takes issue with the criticism that FIFA and the IOC have been directing at Brazil recently. The article’s author, Vanessa Barbara, is upset with what she sees as the condescending tone from ‘Mummy’ (FIFA) and ‘Daddy’ (IOC), and quips that Brazil may soon be grounded by its ‘parents’.

Well, I guess patriotism can make us all say strange things from time to time, but for me, this article is not only incoherent, but also rather depressing.

 

Incoherent

Barbara appears to be taking all this criticism very personally, while at the same time listing all the failings and injustices that the people of Brazil have suffered at the hands of their incompetent government. Now I’m no fan of FIFA or the IOC, but the criticism they are making is not of the Brazilian nation/people – it’s of the organisers of these events, in other words the government.

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May 21

Spotting Toucans in Rio

Picture the scene: it’s 9am and I’m sitting at my desk with a full day of work ahead of me. My phone is switched off, I’m logged out of all instant-messaging applications and Mrs Eat Rio is in São Paulo. Today nothing will distract me. Today will be different. Today I will achieve! 

I start tapping away at the keyboard and it feels like things are going well. Then a strange noise starts up outside. It’s actually quite annoying and for once it isn’t man-made. This is the sound I heard:

 

 

See what I mean? It is pretty annoying isn’t it? It’s also quite hard to ignore and it sounded like it was coming from the trees just outside the window, so I decided to investigate.

channel-billed-toucan

As tormentors go this fellow was rather charming.

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May 16

Galinha ao Molho Pardo

santa-teresa

Feeling lazy and hungry?

OK I’ll hold my hand up – from time to time I succumb to the temptations of exaggeration and hyperbole. When you’re trying to write about something in an entertaining way, it can feel a bit flat to say something is “nice” or “fine” or “pleasant”. That’s when I come out with phrases like “this is my favourite Brazilian dish ever!!!“. So, today I’m going to try to stay calm and keep the exclamation marks to a minimum.

About a month or so ago, Mrs Eat Rio and I were feeling both hungry and lazy, so we decided to wander up into Santa Teresa and find somewhere to eat out. We didn’t really have a plan, but we found ourselves in a low-key kind of place called Bar do Arnaudo. Well it might look low-key, but it turns out this place is amazing!!! good.

We ordered a nice cold beer and perused the menu. Arnaudo’s specialises in comida nordestina (dishes from the north-east of Brazil). One classic dish from the north-east is Carne de Sol and I love it, but Mrs Eat Rio has had just about enough of it as I went through a bit of a phase where it’s all I wanted to eat. So instead we went for a rather special chicken dish.

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May 13

Brazilian Brands: Goiabinha & Biscoito da Vaquinha

Working from home poses multiple dangers. I mentioned my struggles with procrastination in my last post – today I have to tell you about ‘The Kitchen Problem’. Throughout my working day, I am never more than 6 or 7 paces from the kitchen and all the good things that live there. When temptation is so close, the urge to wander in and make a snack presents itself approximately every 45 minutes.

I have developed a coping strategy: tea. I’m now getting through around 8 or 9 cups of tea per day (feels great to live up to my national stereotype). However, the kitchen and my own appetite have developed a counter strategy: biscuits. I expect this arms race of desire and denial will continue, but in the meantime let me tell you about my current biscuits of choice (yes, 2 of them).

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May 09

Good news for wine lovers and the end of Comida di Buteco

Tom-Le-Mesurier-drinking-wine

Cheers!

 

When I was living in London, one of my greatest pleasures was to meet up with a friend or two after work and drink a few glasses of wine. This was especially enjoyable when the weather was good – on sunny summer days, the people of Britain are possessed with a burning desire to go out after work and socialise, desperately aware that they might not see the sun again for weeks or even months.

So imagine my dismay when I got to sunny Rio to find that there weren’t many places that sold decent wine by the glass at affordable prices. All that sunshine and no wine? There is Coccinelle in Centro – they sell excellent wines – but they open mostly for the lunch time crowd. What was a wine loving person without vast wads of cash to do?

Thankfully, someone has finally come along to fill this gap in the market – and they’re filling that gap from a sweet little bar in Botafogo – meet WineHouse:

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May 07

Pre-Copa Mayhem

Pre-copa-mayhem

 

Well, the deadline is looming, the tension is mounting and the financial backers are getting nervous. With just 35 days to go, everyone is asking themselves same question: Will it be ready on time? Well I’ll tell you – it had better be ready on time or I’ll be in big trouble.

Wait, what? What were you talking about? was talking about my first proper writing job which has to be delivered before the start of the World Cup. You were talking about the Copa itself? Well yeah, fingers crossed for that too I suppose.

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