Aug 27

Where to drink beer in Rio

Amazon-beer

 

 

Beer drinkers coming to Rio may be disappointed at first – many bars and restaurants only serve the lightest of beers such as Brahma, Skol and Antarctica. The near absence of flavour in these beers is primarily due to the use of up to 45% unmalted cereals, primarily corn and rice. This lack of flavour is why Mrs Eat Rio refers to these as ‘beer soda'; some people even debate whether you can honestly call these beverages ‘beer’ at all.

Moving up the food chain a little, the fancier beach kiosks and even some beach vendors are starting to stock Heineken. It might not be a wonder-beer exactly, but it has significantly more flavour and bite than the bog-standard beer sodas.

 

Carioca Beer Enthusiasts

With this background of terrible beer, you might be surprised to hear that during my time in Rio I have met more beer enthusiasts then in any other city. My theory is that if you spend your early drinking years indulging in tasteless budget beers like Itaipava and Nova Schin, then when you finally taste something decent, it blows your mind. I picture an 18 year old Brazilian tasting his/her first Guinness or Duvel, realising that real beer has real depth of flavour and embarking on a journey of beer discovery.

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Aug 25

Anonimundo – Pegheads and Washing Lines

anonimundo-pedra-do-sal

I first became aware of Anonimundo when I visited Pedra do Sal – Rio’s favourite free samba venue (Monday nights). I was having a bit of a look around when I noticed a brilliant piece of art on a broken down old wall (see above). This chirpy little clothes peg figure was playing the guitar whose string was doubling as a clothes line holding shirts spelling out the word ‘samba’. I loved it straight away.

It wasn’t until quite a while later that I saw another piece of work that was clearly by the same artist. This time I was walking the streets of Lapa during one of my Food Tours, when I saw this:

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Aug 15

Brazilian Chillies

Brazilian-chillis

 

Before I get going, I guess I should address the question of spelling. You know those super spicy peppers that make curries hot? Well there are a bunch of different spellings: chili, chile, chilli. According to Wikipedia, the word originates from the Nahuatl word “chīlli”, so I’m going with the chilli / chillies form.

Anyway, a little while back, my friend Patrick from Como Sur put me on to a pretty cool article at the Saveur website – a Chilli Pepper Guide listing more than 40 varieties. It’s pretty cool, with nice pictures and descriptions, but I noticed that only a couple of Brazilian varieties were on the list. Well, in the interests of filling in the blanks, I thought I’d give you my thoughts on a few of those fiery beauties that grace the pimenta stalls of Rio’s street markets.

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Aug 12

Guelaguetza: dancing with turkeys and fun with hats

Oaxaca-Guelaguetza-crowds

 

We arrived in Oaxaca with very little idea of what this ‘Guelaguetza’ thing was. All we knew was that it was an annual cultural event and we had tickets. The town was abuzz with visitors and colourful flags celebrating the event, but as we approached the venue, we were still guessing exactly what we were going to see.

We stepped out of a taxi outside a stadium-like structure which was perched on top of a hill overlooking the city. As we passed through the turnstiles we were handed what turned out to be a standard party-pack:

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Aug 11

Micheladas and Cubanas

michelada-with-cucumber

 

Well, time got away from me today – I was going to publish my final post on our trip to Mexico at around lunchtime, but then a bunch of other things came up and now the clock is striking 6pm. That final post will have to wait until tomorrow, but I’m still going to throw in a mini-post about one of my favourite Mexican treats: Micheladas and even better, Cubanas.

According to Wikipedia, the exact ingredients and definitions of a Michelada vary according to your location in Mexico, but in general we are talking about a beer mixed with lime juice, served in a salt/chilli-rimmed glass. Then a bunch of other extras are optionally added such as clamato (tomato juice with clam broth), chilli powder, Worcestershire sauce, Maggi sauce. The Cubana variation (which ended up being our favourite) tended to have loads of extra chilli sauce and extra spices and seasoning.

All this backs up the point I made in the previous post about peanuts – why have a boring old beer when you can have a spicy, sour, salty beer instead? Here were a few of our Michelada / Cubana highlights:

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Aug 08

Eating Oaxaca

oaxaca

 

After 6 days in Mexico City (aka DF), we decided it was time to get out of the big city and see a bit more of Mexico. We had heard that there was some big annual cultural event going on in Oaxaca (a city located in the state of the same name, around 500km southeast of DF), so we hopped on an overnight bus and rolled into town at 6.30am.

Feeling shattered from a bad night’s sleep on the bus, we stumbled into our hostel and asked if we could check in early – we were desperate for a shower and bed. The woman at reception looked as us impassively and said check-in was at 3pm. Urgh! Six and a half hours to kill!

We dumped our bags and sloped off into town to see if we could find breakfast. What we found was a city with almost no buildings higher than 2 stories, full of markets, crafts and street food. We wandered into the first market we found and had what turned out to be a very traditional Oaxacan breakfast.

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Jul 31

Eating out in Mexico City

The-angel-of-independence-mexico

 

We ate a LOT in Mexico City! In fact we ate so much good food in that pretty much every day involved the same conversation at some point: “Man, when we get back to Rio, we’re going to have to get in shape”.

Yeah, “when we get back to Rio” …but in the meantime:

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Jul 29

Eat Rio Eats Mexico

Even though I’ve been running my own culinary tours in Rio for almost a year, I had never been on a food tour as a guest until just a few days ago. Mrs Eat Rio and I put ourselves in the hands of the good people at Eat Mexico Culinary Tours and we did not regret it!

Here are a few of the highlights:

anais-eat-mexico

This was our guide, Anais. First stop: a street stall for seafood tostadas.

 

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Jul 23

Eat Rio in Mexico City

Hola from Mexico everyone! Just a quick update because if I spend too long on the computer, Mrs Eat Rio will kill me! Still, I think I’ve just got time to show you the ridiculously delicious dish we tried yesterday lunchtime. This is Cochinita Pibil:

Cochinita-pibil

Pork that has been marinated in bitter orange juice and then slow roasted. Served on a banana leaf.

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Jul 18

The way things are right now

Image source

Chilaquiles Image source

 

Well it’s Friday, and in days gone past that would have meant a guaranteed post here at Eat Rio. Then along came the World Cup and a deluge of food tours and my whole writing/posting routine got messed up.

So now that the World Cup is over, things should be getting back to normal, right?

Well, not quite yet. Mrs Eat Rio and I have been working 7 days/week for the last 3 months, so we are both completely exhausted. A few weeks ago we decided to book ourselves a holiday to Mexico so we can get away from everything and fully unwind.

I visited Mexico back in 2010 and absolutely loved it. For Mrs Eat Rio it will be her first time in the land of tequila, mole and chilaquiles (we plan to indulge in all 3 of those items, plus much, much more).

Of course I’ll be indulging in some serious relaxation, but I will also be taking my camera with a view to record my experiences and perhaps draw some parallels and contrasts between Mexico and Brazil. And when I get back, things will get back to normal (promise!).

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