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! 


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?. The lock-down cliches started to pile up as, in true ‘Quentin Quarantino’ fashion, I made a short series of cooking videos.

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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Helping Rio’s restaurant staff during the COVID-19 situation

Hello again readers. I hope you’re all well. I had been hoping to avoid a long delay after my last post, but I moved house at the beginning of July and so instead of blogging I’ve been sanding, sweeping, painting, scouting for second-hand furniture and so on.

Finally I’ve found a moment to shake the dust out of my hair and do a little writing. I have quite a backlog of topics I want to cover, but before anything else, I want to give you an update on the results of the fundraising campaign that I started back in May.

For those of you who missed the announcements at the time, the fundraising idea formed when all the bars and restaurants in Rio were forced to close at the beginning of the Covid outbreak. I thought about all the restaurant and bar staff who had become friends over the years and it occurred to me that they’re not exactly well-paid at the best of times. I wondered how they were coping during the lock-down. Similarly, most restaurants are on a financial knife-edge even when times are good – how many would survive a shutdown that would last months?

You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone

As time passed, it became clear that the answer to that last question was pretty dire. It’s been announced that around 1,000 establishments in Rio have closed permanently since the lock-down began – some of these are places I had grown to love over the years. Many restaurants with a rich history, such as Esquimó (almost 60 years old), sadly won’t be coming back. Other closures that pulled at my heartstrings were Puro in Jardim Botânico, Comuna in Botafogo, Hipódromo in Gávea – it’s a long, sad list, each place with a group of hardworking staff who are now looking for a job (14,500 have lost their jobs so far).

Esquimó no more. A classic of the Centro lunch scene gone forever.

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How are things going in Brazil?

I’m asked this question a lot at the moment, always with concern in the voice. Hardly surprising really when you look at the headlines (recent examples: “We are facing extermination”, “Brazil tops 50,000 deaths”). So the short answer is “Not great”.

Covid infections are growing at an alarming rate, graveyards are overflowing in the larger cities, and a lot of people have lost their jobs. Add to that all the other knock-on effects such as increases in domestic violence, depression, anxiety and loneliness brought on by social isolation, and you have a grim picture.

Zona Norte do Rio

A kite flying over the favelas of Rio’s Zona Norte.

But in a surreal way, life goes on. I don’t want to diminish the massive impact the virus has brought to many, especially to those less privileged than me (I’m not in an ‘at risk’ group and I have the luxury of being able to stay at home for the time being). But sometimes it seems that people are expecting horror stories about how half my friends have died or how there are bodies in the street.
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The blog is back!

June 2020, Rio de Janeiro: Troubling times.


Well, it’s with mixed feelings that I announce that Eat Rio is an active blog again. Mixed feelings because having time to blog means a big hole has just opened up in my schedule. But more on that a little later. First, for those of you who haven’t been following along from the start (where’ve you been for the last 9 years?), here’s an Eat Rio recap:

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Eat Rio Food Tours enters the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame

Although Eat Rio, the blog, started life back in 2011, Eat Rio Food Tours didn’t get going until late 2013. Since those early days a lot has changed – a few guides have moved on to new pastures (shout out to Diana in Vermont, Angela in Melbourne and Felippe in Bristol!) and a few guides have joined (high fives to Vinicius and Marie-Lou!). We’ve also expanded our repertoire from a single walking food tour to a range of delicious activities (see the full list here).

We started out as a fairly informal operation (I was still working a proper day job at the beginning), but pretty soon it became clear that we would need to do everything officially. After a lot of hassle and paperwork Eat Rio became a proper tax-paying Brazilian company, registered with the tourism board and doing things by the book.

Eat Rio and TripAdvisor

As the months turned into years, Eat Rio’s reputation spread and we found ourselves busier and busier – to date we have received a total of 5,465 guests and run almost 800 tours! A huge contributor to our success has been the travel review site TripAdvisor. Now I know that many people have their doubts about TripAdvisor but like it or not, it’s a massive player in the travel and tourism industry and although trends (and the site) have changed over the years, it’s still many people’s go-to resource when considering booking a hotel, restaurant or travel activity.

The reviews that we’ve received (548 at the time of writing) have been overwhelmingly positive and every year since 2015 we’ve been awarded TripAdvisor’s ‘Certificate of Excellence’, a sign of consistently positive reviews throughout the year. This year we received our fifth consecutive CofE which means we’ve been inducted into the TripAdvisor ‘Hall of Fame’:

Say what you will about TripAdvisor, it’s lovely to have all our hard work recognised so I hope you’ll forgive a little self-satisfied trumpet tooting.

Google Business Listings

Of course TripAdvisor isn’t the only review site in town, so if you’ll allow me to indulge in one last piece of review-bragging, I’d like to present our latest review from Google listings:

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