Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reader Mailbag: Why don't you write more about food?

Why don't I write more about the food? That is a great question. Since landing in Sao Paulo 10 days ago, its been quite the whirlwind to get acquainted to my new home in Sao Paulo, Brazil. One of the easiest things to get adjusted to, the food. The food here is absolutely phenomenal and I cannot speak enough praise about the variety and the overall quality from top to bottom of each restaurant we have eaten at.  
My most important accessories in Sao Paulo

Lunches and Dinners are social focal points of each day that make the day seem like one long celebration. Now I know that most of you back home think that I never work and that I'm on some sort of vacation down here, but the truth is that I am actually maintaining a high level of productivity despite sitting in traffic more than an hour each day and sitting at meals for about 3 hours per day. The loser is more often than not, sleep.

So back to the food. I think that I have highlighted a few great food experiences thus far, so its not like I have completely ignore the food. Remember my posts about the astonishing restaurants of Bar de Arts, Brasil do Gosto, or even the trips to the Mercado Municipal with the fresh produce and the local favorite Pastels? From the Famous Caipirinha Cocktail made with the local sugar cane liquor to the homemade desserts, each meal has had a special touch. Today's lunch was an Arabic restaurant, Jaber near Morumbi, which was another great choice by the office workers at my company. The only issues were that I hardly know how to order Arabic food in English and given that I don't speak (or read) Portuguese, it made the ordering process rather difficult. Thankfully, I was aided by my cohorts, and out came a fascinating plate of beef, rice, tomatoes, and lettuce. But as usual, the best part of the lunch hour was getting to know the staff at the company and learning new things about the culture. That is the parts that I enjoy the most each day. (And also joking with them that I like Argentina soccer, as that is like saying you are a Michigan fan in Columbus!)

Dinner was a celebration of sorts, as tomorrow is a National Holiday here in Brazil. We have the day "off" despite having a few other things to tend to such as figuring out how to get my clothes washed, a few minor work related things, and taking a trip to the Sao Paulo zoo. I know, I know, you don't think I actually work, but I can show you my timesheets from the few weeks before I came here that show weeks of 80, 80, 100, and 60 hours. Therefore, I think you will let me celebrate "Nossa Senhora Aparecida" which translates to Our Lady of Aparecida. Back to the good stuff, the food. TimeIrado headed down into the heart of the upscale Jardins neighborhood that we live in to find the perfect place for the occasion. We stumbled (literally because the sidewalks are unlevel and the crosswalks are the most dangerous part of the city) across a place that looked like a small Italian restaurant that would be perfect for a happy hour setting some night.

The ouside decor of Serafina Sao Paulo
We took a quick look at the menu and decided to be seated and see what this place, Serafina,  was about.
According to the website the restaurant can be described as:
Serafina São Paulo is located at the heart of the upscale Jardins neighborhood and housed in a mansion built in 1908. The entrance features three Renascence-style arches to separate the veranda from the main building. Offering a piece of Italy in every detail, the walls are covered with paintings, drawings and phrases from the typical Napolitano trattorias. A wood-burning stove in the rear of the salon enables delicious aromas to drift through the restaurant while in the back, a small open-air Italian villa welcomes the warm nights and days. The restaurant is divided in two main areas: a dining room that seats 120 people and an open-air patio furnished like a Tuscan villa, complete with a Sicilian lemon tree in the middle and bright yellow Serafina umbrellas to provide shade from the sun.
The lighting and interior decor were just the start of the meal that was actually very good Italian food. We ordered Caipirinhas and waited for our main dishes.

The dining room at Serafina Sao Paulo
I ordered a Rigatoni Bolognese which was a large portion topped off with fresh Parmesan cheese. After polishing that off in an orderly fashion I moved on to the Torta di mele della nonna, which is Italian for "Grandma's Apple Pie" which was also presented to me with a scoop of Cinnamon ice cream. (I found it online. It's actually a chain from New York City!) Somehow I managed to conquer it and the Caipirinha and away we went back to our living quarters at the Mercure hotel at the corner of Itu and Augusta, where we call home for the next six weeks.

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