Tag Archives: São Paulo

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

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Local Buzz: São Paulo’s JK Iguatemi

5 Jul

São Paulo was buzzing last week with news of the inauguration of the $154.8 million JK Iguatemi mall, Iguatemi Group’s  third mall in São Paulo and 13th in Brazil. Two months after the original inauguration date — construction was suspended by the Justice department due to infrastructure requirements —  and about $1.5 million in lawyer fees later, the mall finally opened its doors on June 22nd, 2012.

So, what are São Paulo’s upper and middle classes excited about? The new mall will house many new-to-South-America brands like Van Cleef & Arpels, Lanvin and Topshop. Thirty of the international stores are new to Brazil, and sixty are international brands like Coach, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Sephora, Nicole Miller,DVF and Burberry.

We couldn’t miss the opportunity to share it with you guys, so The Daisy Chain was there to check everything out!

As fellow Daisy Chain-er Flávia and I arrived at the mall, the first thing I noticed was how much more accessible JK Iguatemi is as compared to another luxury mall in São Paulo: Cidade Jardim, inaugurated in 2008 by the JHSF group. It was built like a fortress — walls all around it for safety, but also practically impossible to access unless you’re in a car. JK Iguatemi, on the other hand, is open to the city and includes sidewalk access for pedestrians.

A lot of white and light!

As I walked in, I didn’t feel that heavy sensation you sometimes get when you walk into a closed and darkened space. As a matter of fact, the effect of the glass ceiling over the central atrium, which rips through all the stories and lets the light reflect on the white polished floors, was quite the opposite.

Light coming in from the glass ceiling

Our first stop was the anxiously awaited Topshop (Hello, London!). I’d been hearing a lot of buzz from the female public about the arrival of Topshop to Brazil. Despite only owning maybe one Topshop item in my closet, I was curious about the new styles that would be introduced to the Brazilian public. What I discovered was a lot of neon, tribal prints, and sparkles. Most of their stuff was a little too much for me, as I consider myself pretty basic when it comes to fashion. However, my interest in fashion goes beyond what I am comfortable wearing, so I decided to ask around what other girls were thinking of the store. Their opinions were pretty much in sync — everyone seemed really excited about pursuing options that are completely different from what we have in stores right now. Most girls compared Topshop’s prices to Zara’s, although a few believed the Topshop quality sometimes ranked below the other department store. We were all a little disappointed by the very small selection of accessories, which for me would have been a sure score. Flávia and I were both interested in some faux-leather leggings, but those had unfortunately already run out. We left the store empty handed, even though there were a couple of things I considered taking home.

Topshop Store in JK Iguatemi

As we strolled along, we realized that several of the luxury brand stores were still not open, like Chanel, Louboutin, Miu Miu, and also Sephora, a cosmetic store that Brazilian girls are all pining for. Too bad for now, but maybe that just gives us a good excuse to come back…

Lunchtime was long overdue as we made our way to the top floor, where the food court and restaurants are located. Right as we stepped out of the escalator we noticed an open terrace. We first thought it was slated for private use, but were happily surprised to discover it was a public space. Once we were outdoors, it was great to chill out in a relaxed sitting area, complete with music and a city view! (For those who aren’t familiar with São Paulo, the city boasts an impressive skyline from many vantage points, mostly due to the sheer size and scope of the urban sprawl!)

Open Terrace: view of São Paulo’s Skyline

The food court was definitely a downside for me — it felt cramped and a little to dark in comparison with the rest of the mall. Beyond the food court, shoppers also have the option of dining in one of the restaurants, which include Ráscal, Almanara, Prime Burger, and Varanda.

JK Iguatemi Food Court: A little too small

I practically swallowed all of my food at once as I looked forward to our next stop. In my head, I pictured the mint green façade of the Ladurée store. I had been dreaming about these macarons ever since my trip to Paris in June of last year. The store is small, but it’s so cute you would eat it too if it was made out of sugar. We were lucky enough to avoid a line when we got there. The price of R$9.00 for one macaron made it a bittersweet experience, but it was worth it. I went straight to the vanilla for myself, and took home a caramel and a chocolate for Mom and Dad.

Ladurée: 2nd time around had us waiting in a long line!

After checking out the Longchamp store, which surprisingly maintained the same prices you’d find overseas, we met up with Flávia’s parents and returned to the Ladurée store. This time we were not so lucky, and found ourselves at the end of a very long line. Everyone seemed to think it was worth it to wait, and even though the whole “new” factor was playing in, after eating the rose and citron flavored macaron, I knew that it was definitely worth it!

Rose, Pistache, Chocolate, and Citron! All delicious!!

Overall, I left pretty happy about the visit and eager to come back — next time I want to check out the 4d cinema and the stores that are still waiting to open!

So, have any of you checked it out yet? What did you think?

-Randa

QUICK FACTS
500,000 bags of cement used for the construction
4,800 plaques of Crystalato, imported from Japan for the façade
8,400 m2 of ecological glass from Belgium
1,000 tons of steel
211 stores
116,000 m2 of constructed area
21 dining options
And 30,000 people expected everyday

JK Iguatemi – AV. PRESIDENTE JUSCELINO KUBITSCHEK, 2041 – Vila Olímpia SÃO PAULO . SP

Hours Food and Leisure Stores
Mon. to Fri.: 11H to 23H 10:30H to 22H
Saturdays: 11H to 23H 10H to 22H
Sundays: 11H to 22H 14H to 20H
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