OK, now I'm in a race against time to finish blogging about Brazil, then the Yucatán peninsula, then Seoul! before this year ends! The good news is the only thing left to blog about Rio de Janeiro is Ipanema. The bad thing is that I have so much to say about it! So you're in for a whole week of Ipanema posts, starting with... the food!
Let's start with sherbets. An almost obvious choice given the warm weather. This place, Vero, was supposed to have some of the best in the city. With a nice, citrusy lemon sherbet and a chocolate one (yes, a sherbet, no milk, vegan!), I couldn't ask for more.
Then there was the drinking. Not too far from where we were there was a Delirium Café! The original one opened in Brussels, and now there are a few in France, Japan, Italy... and Rio! Of course, the beer selection was massive, and we enjoyed a few delicious drafts there.
Remember I mentioned in a previous post having Amazonian food? We found a place in Ipanema too! Now, the other one, Tacacá do Norte, is probably the best in all of Rio. But this one, Amazônia Soul, was pretty good too. Of course, I had to have yet another bowl of that amazing tacacá soup. Tangy, spicy, lip numbing... too good! But then the habib had something (I can't remember what it was called) in the richest, thickest, darkest sauce you can imagine. It was amazing! I almost wished I had ordered that (but I still love tacacá more, lol). And to finish, a bowl of smoothie-like açaí. Yep, Amazonian food rocks!
Also, remember the song The Girl from Ipanema? Well, the café where it was first sung was right around the corner! And is also renowned for its picanha (a kind of cut very appreciated by Brazilians). I don't think I had ever eaten so much meat. It wasn't bad at all, although my lack of experience with meat probably makes my opinion pretty worthless. Anyhow, I bet quite a few of you will be drooling over this pic...
Another must in Rio are its fruit shakes! I only had one during our whole stay, but it was the best, with a mix of a number of exotic fruits I barely recognized turning into a dense, thick, dark smoothie. Yum!
We also tried moqueca. Well, I had had some in Santa teresa, but that was the vegan one. This one here was the seafood moqueca. Mind you, this is not a Carioca dish, it is from Bahia. Now, the photo looks horrible, completely unappetizing, right? But just think of a seafood stew with coconut milk, coriander, tomato... Now it looks different, right?
Now, though I was open to trying all these new non-vegan things, at some point we were like dying for something completely vegan! So we got ourselves to this small restaurant in Leblon (right next to Ipanema) with a whole vegan buffet: the Vegetariano Social Clube. We were so happy gobbling on all these dishes made from pulses, veggies, mushrooms, tofu! Vegan Brazilian fare? Thumbs up!
And who could forget about coffee? We went to a small café called Aquim. Super pretty, somewhat fancy. Awesome espresso. But even better than the espresso were the chocolates they sold! Especially a specific kind they had, called deditos. Probably some of the best chocolate I've ever had. The cost reflected the quality, I'll admit. But such quality!!!
Finally, the very last night, we went for one last taste of Brazil - Boteco Belmonte, a Carica institution. We had some chope (the local draft beer). And some petiscos (traditional appetizers). I think this was the best way to finish our culinary exploring. So relaxed, so simple, so Rio!
So, I've got to give the Ipanema food scene an A+. So good. So good.