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Robb Report Vices

Taking a Bite Out of Brazil

Troy Johnson

We could hold out for a stunning U.S. win in Brazil. We could also hold out for our angel-funded startup to blossom, making Google look like a penny stock. A U.S. victory in the World Cup could happen—anything’s possible—though a first-round grouping with Germany and Portugal won’t make it easy. That startup enterprise, on the other hand? We’re not holding our breath.

Regardless of the outcome of the World Cup, the least we can do is break regionally specific bread with the World Cup’s hosts, who eat beef and deep-fried delicacies as if their arteries were made of regenerative Kevlar. Maybe all those rain-forest super-fruits balance out the vagaries of culinary indulgence. But never mind the nattering of your nutritionist. We invite you to sip a little cachaça (click here for five noteworthy examples) and try a few of these Brazilian delicacies stateside.

Churrasco: When it comes to barbecue, just think of Brazil as Texas on steroids. Brazilians are masters of smoking meat, and churrasco is simply a fancy name for carne (pork, sausage, chicken, or beef) on a skewer above an open flame. The international chain Fogo de Chao is the big name in the skewered-meat arts (churrascaria), but in Chicago there’s Zed 451, where a chef’s selection yields so much grilled meat you’ll assume Noah’s ark was found—and torched.

Coxinhas: These are basically croquettes filled with meats and cheeses. Nothing fancy, but mighty tasty. In San Francisco, the best spot for them is Sunstream Coffee, which packs the golden-brown nuggets with chicken, cream cheese, and olives.

Feijoada: This is Brazil’s hamburger—the national dish. With black beans, a load of smoky stew meat, and rice, it’ll keep you satiated through the first few rounds of the Cup. Beco in New York serves it with couve (collard greens) and farofa (the Brazilian version of stuffing, which is made with toasted manioc root).

Pão de Queijo: Apparently many cultures are hip to the umami charms of cheese bread. At Miami’s Texas de Brazil (a national chain of steak houses similar to Fogo de Chao), it’s best served hot.

Moqueca: This is basically the seafood version of feijoada, a clay-pot stew made with sweetened coconut milk that reflects its West African roots. At Muqueca in Cambridge, Mass., try a version complete with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.

 

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