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Weekend Tips! Impressionism Exhibit in São Paulo!

17 Aug

If the names Degas, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh ring a bell and maybe even bring a smile to your face, do not miss out on a great opportunity to see some of their finest work here in São Paulo!

One of Degas’ beautiful ballerinas!

Several iconic paintings from the Impressionist movement are housed at Paris’ Museum D’Orsay and the museum was kind enough to lend part of their collection to the Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil. The exhibition will go until October 7, so there is still plenty of time to visit!

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil–beautiful buiding housing exhibit

Word of advice: be prepared for possibly having to endure some lines. Impressionism is a very popular movement and a lot of people’s favorite! The exhibition opened its doors on August 4 and in two days about 10,000 people came by.

Lines in the opening weekend

Name of exhibit: Impressionismo: Paris e a Modernidade – Obras-Primas do Museu d’Orsay
Where: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil
Address: Rua Álvares Penteado, 112, Centro
When: August 4 to October 7
Hours: From Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm
Fee: Free (!!)
Contact: (11) 3113-3651 or 3113-3652

Local Buzz: Epice Restaurant in São Paulo

13 Aug

Epice. Photograph by Tadeu Brunelli

If you are anything like me, you start making plans for the weekend on Monday, and if you are even more like me, one of them involves dinner plans! lol..So for all of you out there that happen to be in São Paulo or will be coming here soon, today’s post has the best tip on where to dine!

Epice Restaurant inaugurated in the beginning of 2010 and soon after was already receiving several awards, including Best Up-and-Coming Chef  by Veja’s Comer&Beber 2011/2012, best new restaurant and best pork belly by Época’s O melhor de São Paulo 2011/2012, and best dessert by Prêmio Paladar.

The chef, Alberto Landgraf, started his career in London, where he went to culinary school at Westminster College and worked alongside chefs like Neville Campbell, Tom Aikens, Gordon Ramsay (yep from Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares if you are a fan of cooking shows!), Anthony Demetre and Pierre Gagnaire.

After some time back in Brazil he teamed up with Lara Abou Ezzeddine and Pedro Keese de Castro and they opened Epice.

Located on Rua Haddock Lobo in the neighborhood of Jardins, Epice is small and cozy, but with great taste as you’ll notice the elegant bar right at the entrance and the unique lamp fixtures which create a beautiful effect on the wall.

Bar; high ceiling at entrance.

The menu is unique, presenting the dishes with the main ingredient as the title. Since I’ve been there a couple of times with the family I’ve been able to try mostly everything on the menu, and I must say I have a hard time picking my favorites!

Iwill let the pictures speak for themselves!

Some of the starters:

Special mini breads

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Entrecôte carpaccio

Smoked Salmon

Scallops

Main courses:

Octopus

Bass

Veal

Pork belly

Lamb

And the cherry to my sundae, desserts:

Strawberries

Pineapple

My favorite: The best TarteTatin in the world!! Yumyy

Pear

I know, your mouth is probably watering right now! So if you want to go be sure to make a reservation ahead of time, as it is usually full!

Enjoy!

-Randa

EPICE

Rua Haddock Lobo 1002

Jardins – São Paulo

(11)3062-0866

São Paulo: All set to samba

30 Jul

Rede Globo in São Paulo hosts many carioca employees since the official HQ and largest production center is located in Rio de Janeiro.  When in São Paulo, these employees often look for places that remind them of their usual hangout spots back home. My boss is one of them who, missing the samba bars in Rio, found her home away from home at her friend’s bar Traço de União .

I hadn’t been to a genuine samba bar in a loonggg time, let alone in São Paulo, so I was excited when my co-workers decided to go one Friday night. My boss told us it was good to get there around 9:30/10pm to avoid lines at the door, so we got a couple of drinks close to work before heading there (going home, Friday, during rush hour, no way!).

Traço de União is proud to have as its padrinhos (bar patrons) Beth Carvalho, famous Brazilian samba singer and Luiz Carlos da Vila, former samba composer/singer. Located near Largo da Batata in Pinheiros, the bar is inspired by practice spaces of samba schools with bleachers on one side, a stage on the other, and packs of beer piled behind the bar counters.

Traço de União Bar

Traço de União

When we got there, I was positively surprised to find all types of people: locals and tourists, young and old, samba experienced and not-so-much! You can make reservations for tables ahead of time if you like and if you get there early enough you can grap a bite (delicious  pastéis!)–but most people will just stand because soon they’ll be dancing anways! A DJ starts the night off, remixing traditional samba songs with pop music (I was impressed with the unique remixes!). At about 12/1am the house band comes in making even those who never attempted a samba step shake it on the dancefloor! If you are lucky enough you might see talented dancers, sometimes professionals, showing off their moves.

DJ Tadeu: unique samba remixes!

genuine samba

Presence of samba professionals. Image courtesy of Traço de União.

Be it a beer, caipirinha, or cachaça, drinks are reasonably priced! If you decide to go, put your name on the discount list, this way women pay entrance fee of R$15 and men R$30.

Since that Friday night, I’ve been back to celebrate my boss’s birthday (she wouldn’t have chosen any other place!) and took fellow Daisy Chain-er Flávia and college friend Andréia who, like me, found it extremely fun and a good alternative to the usual electro/house music clubs!

– Randa

Traço de União

Rua Cláudio Soares, 73 – Pinheiros  Sao Paulo, 05422-030, Brazil
(0xx)11 3031-8065

Opens Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays

Com va això?

23 Jul

When a friend asked me if I wanted to come to a bar called Gràcia in São Paulo this past weekend, I immediately said “Yes!” While at college in the U.S., I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain. It was an amazing experience, but more on that later…

Image courtesy of graciabar.com.br

Gràcia is decorated with mosaic tiles à la Gaudi, a big subway map of Barcelona, and several flags and posters of Catalunya. The atmosphere is fun, with yellowish dim lights on the inside and plenty of seating outside–a great bar for warmer days.

Image courtesy of graciabar.com.br

We went upstairs and got ourselves a table, as I browsed through the menu my mouth watered with the thought of all the amazing foods I experienced in Spain. We ordered some “patata bravas”, the famous diced fried potatoes with spicy creamy sauce as an appetizer and a couple of not-so-spanish ‘caipirinhas’ and ‘mojitos’. To me, the sauce is what makes a good “patata brava” and I like it when it’s more on the spicy side, which–although still very good–was not the case at this bar.

Enjoying our tapas!

After eating and chatting upstairs, we headed to the downstairs bar for a refill of our drinks and notice how packed the place was now that it was later into the night. With our drinks in hand, we relaxed in the outside area and enjoyed the warm weather. Most of the people in the bar were in their 20s and 30s, some still wearing suits from long workdays, some celebrating birthdays and there was even a table with girls having a bachelorette party!

Whatever reason takes you there, you will definitely have a good time! I was happy with all the memories being there conjured, so stay tuned for a post on Barcelona soon!

-Flávia

Gràcia Bar

Rua Corpes 87, Pinheiros

São Paulo, SP

The delicious wonders of São Paulo’s Mercadão

20 Jul

Yummy in my tummy is all I can say about this post…

As we approach the weekend again, I thought it would be appropriate to write Part 2 of my long weekend (if you haven’t done so yet, check out part 1)! So if anyone happens to be in São Paulo and is looking for a good, I mean DELICIOUS bite, read on!

When it comes to my friends and I, a great portion of our plans are devoted to food. While we were having dinner on Sunday, we were already thinking about where to have lunch the next day! We came to a consensus pretty fast when someone blurted out the word “Mercadão.” If you are not familiar with São Paulo, the “Mercadão,” or Mercado Municipal, is the city’s traditional market, selling specialty foods and groceries, dating back to 1933.

Façade of the São Paulo Market from Rua da Cantareira

I had been there many times before with friends and family or even on school trips, and so, going to the Mercadão had become something ordinary. I only realized my passion for these local markets after I spent a year abroad in Spain. I fell in love with La Boqueria in Barcelona, Valencia’s Central Market, and the gourmet San Miguel in Madrid. While I relished the local produce overseas, it took me back to the days of mortadella sandwiches at the Mercadão.

La Boqueria in Barcelona

Valencia’s Central Market

Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid

What I love about these markets goes beyond the delicious food you eat; the whole environment  including its architecture is fascinating!  The fresh produce coming in, chefs buying products for their restaurants, regular people grocery shopping, and family’s looking for a good lunch!

Fresh fruit at Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid

These markets, through their architecture, tell part of a city’s history. In the case of the Mercadão, the ecletic style of Brazilian architect Ramos de Azevedo shine’s a light on São Paulo in the 1930s. The façades were designed by Felisberto Ranzini and the magnificent stained glass windows (picturing different aspects of food production) by Conrado Sorgenicht Filho. The building underwent renovations in 2004, when the façades and windows were restored, and a mezzanine was added to allow for different food and beverages quiosques.

One of the stained glass windows. Image courtesy of ARTExplorer

Mezzanine. Image courtesy of http://saopauloparainiciantes.com.br

Since then the Mercadão has become a meeting point for locals and tourists, and our destination that Monday. We went straight to a corner where you’ll find the Hocca Bar, famous for its pastel de bacalhau, and the Bar do Mané, known for the traditional sanduiche de mortadela. If you haven’t eaten these yet, it’s something you definitely want to add to your list! The sanduiche de mortadela from Bar do Mané is about 250g of mortadella meat layered on what we call French bread, served cold. However, there are variations with cheese, served warm (my favorite!). We also had the delicious sanduiche de pernil and pastel de camarão! Alongside some cold beer, it was a perfect lunch!

Pastel de Bacalhau: seasoned codfish with olives and portuguese olive oil

Mortadella Sandwich: 250g of mortadella meat

Pernil Sandwich

There is much more to be explored and tasted at the Mercadão! The fruits are a must, especially if you are not from Brazil and really want to get a taste of our amazing flavors!

The place is usually packed so be sure to go in a good mood and get there early if you are looking to get any of the few tables! If you are looking to extend the visit around the area, the Pinacoteca and the Museu da Língua Portuguesa are a few steps away!

To get to the Mercadão, get down at São Bento metro station, cross 25 de Março and voilá!

Happy eating!

– Randa

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