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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eating piranhas and things like that

(crab meat sautéed with herbs, served with white corn meal and garlic farofa)
Bolinho de bacalhau
(traditional Portuguese cod fish fritters served with hot sauce)
(herbed shrimp pastels served with hot pepper sauce)
Trouxinhas de Axé
(steamed collard green leaves with Bahian shrimp stuffing)
Mujica de piranha
(Piranha stew made from piranhas, thickened with manioc)
Tilápia no pacotinho 
(tilapia filet stuffed with palm hearts and wrapped in steamed collard leaves
served with fried banana and a cream of banana and Amazonian ginger)...
...and cut open
Moqueca de banana
(vegetarian version of the classic Brazilian stew made with semi-sweet bananas
cooked in sauce of coconut and herbs)
Pará de Minas 
(green salad with crunchy Brazil nuts, macadamias and a passion fruit vinaigrette)
LOCATION: Espírito Santa, Rua Almirante Alexandrino, 264 - casa - Largo dos Guimarães - Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
CATEGORY: Amazonian, Brazilian
DRINK: Lots of tropical caipirinhas. In addition to the classic lime-based caipirinha, we tasted the following variations: pineapple, strawberry and jambu root, cupuaçu fruit, graviola fruit and taperebá fruit.
WE THINK: Easily the tastiest and most interesting meal we've had in Rio. Espírito Santa sits pretty in the hills of Santa Teresa and is accessible by the cute little 'bondinho' trolley which stop right outside the restaurant (or you can just take a car). The food is Brazilian and the ingredients exotic and exciting. Get a table outside on the lovely patio, order a healthy amount of Amazonian fruit caipirinhas and you're all set for an awesome dining experience. To be honest, we could've just eaten the delicious bolinho de bacalhau all night, but were happy to have also ordered many other dishes from the extensive menu (we were so overwhelmed by delicious-sounding choices on the first few pages of the menu that we never made it to the meat dishes. Or the desserts). The piranha stew and the tilapia parcel were particularly exciting.
OUR TIP: If you ever wonder what to do with lettuce, go buy some macadamia and brazil nuts, make a passion fruit vinaigrette and toss together a Pará de Minas salad - simple, refreshing and insanely delicious. 

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