Saturday, February 20, 2010

Toursity 2: Fogo De Chao

Whew! I'm a champion slacker, all this not blogging is hard work! It's been almost TWO weeks!

I've been busy though! In those two weeks I've gotten play practice underway at my school, been informed that my position is being cut for next year, gotten a year older, juuuuust about finished up that pesky kitchen redeco and started classes for my additional teaching license. So I haven't really been just sitting around.

As a part of my getting a year older, I started counting down in my classroom about three weeks before hand. I love my birthday, and anyone who comes into contact with me as it nears is well aware of this fact. I decided early on that I wanted to party, and posted on my Facebook that I'd be going to Chatterbox, and would love for people to join me. Well, no one said they were coming! So Hubs made reservations at Fogo De Chao in Minneapolis, and I fasted all day in preparation.

On our way to our destination, my phone rang and it turns out two of my friends were at Chatterbox waiting. Crap. I felt terrible. No one let me know they were coming, so I made other plans, I forgot to ask people to tell me they were coming though, which is where the confusion occured. Rach, T, I'm really, really sorry! They assured me they were cool with hanging out and wished me a happy birthday despite my mistake.

Fogo De Chao is a Brasillian Churrascaria. These types of restaurants are popping up all over the country, under the name Fogo, as well as several other brands, such as Rodizio in Colorado. The niche is that they cook the beef like Brasillian cowboys on the plains would. Grilled over flames over a rotisserie. They are then served tableside by Brasillian Gauchos (cowboys) dressed in authentic garb.

I've been to Fogo on several occasions, due to the fact that I spent a summer in Brasil as a freshman in college, and it makes me happy just to be able to say "Obrigada" (thank you) to someone without being looked at funny. Oh, and the food. On my first visit, the manager of the night took some time to explain to us that each gaucho is actually trained in cooking only one kind of meat offered, and they are the ones who run around delivering that succulent bit of cow straight to your table. (There are also pork, chicken and lamb selections)

But it all starts with the salad. First, we were seated and our drink orders taken. Be aware that the sodas come in little mini bottles, not the standard all-you-can drink fountain sodas. But I recommend ordering a caipirinha (many different spellings) or a Guarana soda (for the DD in the bunch).


A basket of Pao De Quiejo (not the cheesebread you're imagining) is set down at your table while the waiter explains how things roll. First up is the salad bar.
The salad bar is overflowing with atypical vegetable choices. When I'm there, I'm there to eat my weight in moo-makers, so I usually make myself a small caprese salad and head back to my table. After munching on my mozzerella and tomatoes, I flip my indicator card to green and away we go.

My favorite is either the Picanha or the garlic beef. My mouth is kind of drooly just remembering how great they tasted last night. I may need a moment.

While the gauchos are bustling by, you also have three sides at your table, mashed potatoes, carmelized bananas and polenta. We barely touch this and save all our stomach real estate for the pao de quiejo and the meat. I have fond memories of being in Fortaleza and watching the World Cup games in Ester's living room eating her mother's homemade pao de quiejo. Brings a tear to my eye thinking of it.

After filling ourselves up on meats and bread, our waiter brought over the dessert menu and asked if we were celebrating. After hearing it was indeed my birthday, he offered to buy me dessert. Having been to Fogo before, I knew what I wanted. Key Lime Pie. Not Brasillian in anyway, but man, that key lime pie is easily the best key lime pie I've ever had. Quite possibly my favorite dessert ever from anywhere, even beating Cafe Latté.

We finished up and headed home after paying our hefty tab (this place ain't cheap, but oh-so-worth it) and we're still full the next day.

I highly recommend Fogo. It may be an "evil chain" but as far as I'm concerned, if it's good food, I don't care.

all photos from www.FogoDeChao.com

6 comments:

  1. I love their pao de quiejo! I could eat just those for a meal! They have so much good FOOD! I was thinking of going there for my birthday too before you even changed your chatterbox plans. Mmmmmmm.

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  2. I'm in for your birthday. I'll just stop eating now.

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  3. oh no! what an unfortunate mix-up! :( i was tempted to make an appearance at the chatterbox myself, but the weather has been far too unpredictable. turns out my brother was home for spring break anyway, so it all worked out for the best.

    hope you had a great b-day and have a great year!!!

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  4. Hi--Just found your blog. I am also an English teacher and I blog too much about my dogs. Love Fago...my first time I didn't plan well and I couldn't even make it past the salad bar.

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  5. Glad you enjoyed your birthday dinner. And there is nothing wrong with enjoying food at "evil" restaurant chains.

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  6. Brazilian steakhouses intimidate me a little. I have never been, but they always seem like a hustling, bustling place where it's tough to keep up with what's on your plate!

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