#EatRioLoves: The playful street art of Odylo Falcão

I arrived in Rio in 2010, and instantly fell in love with the city’s street art. Before long, I could recognise pieces by favourite artists such as Lelo and Pia Transborda on the streets around Santa Teresa and Botafogo where I used to work. In 2013, when Eat Rio morphed from a simple blog into Eat Rio Food Tours, I started spending more time in Laranjeiras, and that’s when I first noticed the artwork of Odylo Falcão.

Odylo-falcão-mural

Although there are many styles and subject matters used in Rio’s street art scene, Odylo Falcão’s simple, cheery illustrations seem quite apart from any other artist working here. The colourful animals and objects seem like they’ve come straight out of a children’s picture book. I haven’t seen him make reference to either, but some of his characters remind me of Richard Scarry and also Where the Wild Things Are.

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a huge avocado

#EatRioLoves: Massive Avocados

Not everything in the #EatRioLoves series will be something exclusive to Rio, or even Brazil for that matter. If it’s something that I’ve grown to love since my arrival, and it’s available for newcomers to discover and appreciate while here in Rio, then that’s good enough for me. Today I want to talk about massive avocados.

a huge avocado

This massive avocado was even bigger than my massive head!

 

Avocados seem to inspire passionate opinions and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get some major pushback here, so I’ll start with a pre-emptive clarification: Yes, I agree, those gorgeous little Hass avocados are absolutely delicious; they’re perfect for guacamole and smashed avocado on toast, and their high fat content and beautiful, creamy texture is pure savoury indulgence. If I had to choose just one type of avocado to eat for the rest of my life, it would be the Hass.

With that out of the way I’d like to remind you that it’s possible to like more than one thing in this world. Just because you deem one thing to be ‘better’, that doesn’t mean that everything else sucks. And happily you don’t have to choose just one type of avocado to eat for the rest of your life. Turns out that, once you know what you’re doing with them, the massive avocados you find in Rio’s feiras and supermarkets are delightful.

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#EatRioLoves: Beer

Not everything in Rio is 100% intuitive; it can take time to appreciate or understand some of the finer aspects of Carioca life. For this reason, I created the #EatRioLoves series. Whether you are here for a short visit, or you’re planning to stay for longer, I hope this series will help you connect with some of the things I’ve grown to love during my 11+ years in the Cidade Maravilhosa. Today I have few things to say about the beautiful barley beverage: beer.

Temperature

Beer here is served cold. You knew that already, right? Wrong! It has to be ice cold. It is not uncommon to hear someone ask the waiter which beer is coldest before deciding which to order. Temperature trumps brand preference. Similarly, helpful waiters will often inform you that the brand you’ve just asked for is not sufficiently chilled – you’ll be expected to choose an alternative.

When beer is really cold, there’s a danger that it will turn to slush as it fills your glass – there are various ways people try to avoid this, including caressing the base of the bottle in a sensual, circular motion and avoiding any sudden movements (even a little bump can be enough to set off the freezing process).

Estupidamente gelada!

 

Acceptable beer temperatures include: bem gelada (well chilled), estupidamente gelada (stupidly cold), geladíssima (really really cold) and cu de foca (as cold as a seal’s arsehole). Anything failing to conform to these exacting standards is considered quente (hot) and will be tossed into the street in disgust.

 

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Eat Rio Food Tours – we’re up and running again!

Good news has been in short supply this year hasn’t it? Well I’ve got some here for you now: Eat Rio Food Tours are back up and running! 2020 has been a long slog for so many small businesses and here at Eat Rio it’s been no different. But I’m delighted to report that our walking food tours are back, better than ever and respecting all the necessary Covid-related precautions.

Our first ever Eat Rio food tours went out on the backstreets of Rio in 2013. In the following seven years, my little team of guides and I took more than 6,500 guests out on small group walking tours, eating and drinking our way across the city. We made countless friends and received hundreds of massively positive reviews, in TV spots and newspaper articles to guidebook recommendations and, most importantly, our guests recommending us to other travellers through word of mouth and on review sites. We won TripAdvisor’s “Certificate of Excellence” every year from 2015 onwards, leading to induction into their “Hall of Fame” in 2019.

Good times and happy guests in the early years of our Rio food tours.

 

The end?

In short, things were going really well, and we were on the verge of launching an exciting new venture, Eat São Paulo. Then the pandemic came to Brazil and we realised that everything had to stop. In late March, Vinicius took a group of 5 guests out on what was our 929th tour – at the time, we had no idea if we’d ever run the 930th.

After so many years of hard work — developing delicious new culinary and cultural experiences; providing magical moments to guests from around the world; forging friendships with waiters and market traders — it was heartbreaking to think it had all come to an end. Against that dark background, we kept our heads down, stayed indoors, worked on side projects, and hoped that one day we could return to doing what we love.

 

The return of our food tour in Rio

Well, that day has finally arrived! Although the Covid situation is far from being resolved globally, here in Rio many small businesses such as ours have adapted and reopened for business. Hygiene was always of utmost importance to us — long before the pandemic, my guides and I had huge stashes of alcohol gel and latex gloves as part of our tour gear. And the majority of time spent on our tours has always been out in the open air, getting to know the city at ground level (we were never interested in those tours where guests sit in air-conditioned coaches while a guide reads out scripted information using a microphone).

Long lines to gain entry to severely overcrowded tourist attractions are a thing of the past.

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Jeremy Bearimy, the Punisher kite and Black Lives Matter

Our perception of the passing of time is odd isn’t it? There have been periods during this most strange of years when things seemed to be dragging on interminably – would April ever come to an end? But then again, I now notice that we’re already two thirds of the way through 2020 and before you know it they’ll be putting up Christmas decorations and John Lennon will be reminding us that another year’s over and asking what have you done? My answer: “Erm, not much” (at least some days it feels that way).

Fans of “The Good Place” will instantly remember the concept of ‘Jeremy Bearimy‘ – when the concept of time becomes a complete mess! From LizAndMollie

 

My memories of April and May are pretty dark – lock-down isolation was in full effect and I found myself constantly ‘doomscrolling‘ through news articles and social media posts which were an awful mix of shocking, worrying, depressing, infuriating and sometimes just plain sad. At times it seemed like the best way to preserve mental health was to consciously disconnect from the outside world.

I found solace in a variety of areas. After a hiatus of 6 months, I started running regularly again – not especially original, but at least it wasn’t sourdough right? (oops!). The lock-down cliches started to pile up as, in true ‘Quentin Quarantino’ fashion, I made a short series of cooking videos (#eatriocooking).

During this period, I also spent quite a lot of time snapping the beautiful views from my apartment and nearby streets of Santa Teresa.

The squiggles, lines and marks dotted around the photo are in fact kites flying over the favela of Morro da Mineira.

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