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An Aesthetically Tactile Evening in Search of Brazil

Around the corner from Hard Rock, grand wood doors open into a Brazilian French funk world. Request the corner Zebra booth, as we did, or you might end up in the more warm and embracing calm back end of the restaurant by the tranquil aquarium. Regardless, your server might likely be sporting a dash of leopard around the waist, and the menus will be metal. Appropriate to the chef’s cultural combinations, menu images of Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Rio’s Christ the Redeemer convey the blend of culinary influences.

Tonight’s raison d’etre – to enjoy Brazilian cuisine – made our dish selection fairly simple. Kalt, who hails from Rio, navigated the menu for authentic Brazilian food and found one dish that fit the Brazilian bill 100 percent. Thus, we ordered feijoada. Of course, this was after the requisite caipirinha drink.

A caipirinha is a traditional Brazilian drink made out of cachaca, an alcoholic beverage made with sugar cane. The traveler in Brazil can know that a caipiroska is a similar drink made with Vodka instead. Such a traveler would also be wise to understand that the sugar cane influence in a caipirinha masks the alcohol content, which is more than decent. Many a traveler has had a few too many.

Good bread comes in a chic metal basket, and olive oil or butter comes on request. Otherwise, the white bean puree arrives as a delicious spread of garlic, white beans, and olive oil.

As for the most marvelous aspect of tonight’s feijoada, one rarely sees such huge white beans. Honestly, each bean approximates one inch! It arrives in a black iron pot that rests on a red and yellow moon-fire rimmed plate. Bomboa describes the dish as Brazil’s cassoulet: smoked pork, chicken, and sausage with black and white beans, braised kale, and orange.

Experientially, feijoada rivals Aaron Hood’s Christmas Stew, which fed many a hungry and grateful soul at the Ski Shaq this winter. Historically, feijoada reminisces of the French bouillabase, which was a fisherman’s stew of daily leftovers and has since evolved to become a ritzy, succulent dish. On a less appetizing note, feijoada was also a heavy and hearty slave’s meal wherein landlords provided less noble animal parts mixed with bean filler to their servants. Lucky for us, what started out as food for the poor got fancier and lighter over the centuries such that Bomboa’s feijoada arrives gourmet to the hilt.
About Bomboa, Elizabeth Bastiaanse exclaims that this “is somewhat of a hipster scene,” where you “have to get a mojito or caipirinha.” Anne quite agrees. Bomboa’s website, which is Mike Pierce worthy in its caliber, certainly impresses one with its Third World Production’s clip for an introduction and its navigable flair: “Sassy, sexy, and sinful,” Bomboa lauds “a new culture” and does indeed deliver “an enticing look into the Latin Explosion.”

Kalt reflects that the Bomboa excursion revels in the sophisticated. If you would like something a bit more authentically Brazilian, he knows an excellent down-home place and would be glad to lead you to that cuisine. Just drop him a note.

April 17, 2001
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