Tag Archives: Pão de Queijo

Brazilian food and culture in Astoria, Queens

Today is Brazilian Independence Day, so I think some Brazilian food adventures are called for. Whenever we visit a a city in the US we always check to see if there is a Brazilian food or cultural outpost. You’d be surprised at how many places have a hidden Brazilian gem. However, one of the best places for Brazilian food in the US – that is no secret – is the Astoria neighborhood in the NYC borough of Queens. Astoria is perhaps most famously known for its sizable Greek population, though in recent years it has become an amazingly diverse place. Along with an influx of other Latin American and Middle Eastern cuisines, Astoria has become more Brazilian in the past decades and there are the food establishments to prove it.

Our first stop in Brazilian Astoria is always Rio Market (32-15 36th Ave, Astoria, NY 11106), which is definitely the biggest Brazilian grocery store we have seen in the US. They have pretty much every Brazilian dry good you could hope for: coffee, cookies, Guarana soda, sauces, tea, rice, beans, soap, shampoo, and even Brazilian soccer paraphernalia and Havaianas. What sets them apart is their wide selection, and the fact that they also have rarer fresh foods like queijo coalho – the cheese on a stick you can buy on Brazilian beaches – and picanha steaks. There is also a small cafe in the front of the store that serves simple dishes, feijoada, pão de queijo and coffee. A new feature is that you can order products from Rio Market online!

However, for Pão de Queijo, you must stop at New York Pão de Queijo (31-90 30th St.) aka Astoria Pão de Queijo or just Pão de Queijo. This hole in the wall restaurant reminded us pleasantly of a typical urban corner restaurant in Brazil. You of course have to get the Pão de Queijo, but there are also salads, acaí bowls and X-Burgers (Brazilian Portuguese for Cheeseburger – the X is pronounced “Sheese” – get it?).  Within Astoria there are also a plethora of restaurants tapping into a variety of Brazilian food traditions beyond just the churrascuria that is the most known in the US. Point Brazil, Copacabana, Minas Grill, Villa Brazil and Kilo Astoria are kilo restaurants in the Brazilian style (a buffet where you pay by weight). Kilo restaurants are on every corner in Brazil, so it is  only appropriate they have made their way to Astoria, too. Favela Grill and Beija Flor are more, modern, slightly upscale restaurants with live music. And at Casa Theodoro you can get Brazilian-style pizza, which is a genre unto itself. If you want to get a taste of Brazil while in NYC, definitely wander around Astoria!

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Eating Cheap and Well in Jardim América, São Paulo

brazilThe area southwest of Avenida Paulista in São Paulo, bordered on the west by Avenida Rebouças and on the east by Avenida Nove de Julho, encompassing the neighborhoods of Jardim América and Cerqueira César, is one of the swankiest and most upscale neighborhoods in the Americas. It is home to São Paulo’s finest restaurants – i.e., some of the finest restaurants in the hemisphere – and thus is a must for any foodie. Yet this high concentration of culinary awesomeness comes with an annoying tradeoff: eating there can be exorbitantly expensive. But, determined eaters as we are, we did some exploring and came up with a tasty, cheap snack itinerary for those of you wanting to explore the area without breaking your wallet.


Street art in Jardim America

Start out at Casa Bauducco (Alameda Lorena, 1682), a well-known Italian bakery famous for their Panettone. Sample the wide variety of cookies and pastries available, but do yourself a favor and get a fresh slice of chocottone (chocolate panettone, R$5.80), heated with cinnamon and sugar on top. The recipe supposedly takes over 40 hours to make, and you can taste every bit of effort in that chocottone.


Casa Bauducco

A few blocks away, continue with the Italian trend and cool off your mouth with a few scoops of the finest gelato in Brazil at  Bacio di Latte (Rua Bela Cintra, 1829). Get a grande size for R$12, and up to three flavors. We recommend the maracujá (passionfruit) and negrissimo (super dark chocolate) flavors, especially in combination. Be sure to sit on one of the converted milk jugs as seats.

If you need a little relaxation time, take a load off in the excellent book selection and beanbag chairs at the famous Livraria da Vila (Alameda Lorena, 1731), where you can admire the famous bookshelf-doors while sipping a coffee or cappuccino at their cafe and wondering why anyone would pay R$ 10 to valet a car at a bookstore.

Still hungry? Walk south to the unassuming Pão de Queijo Haddock Lobo (Rua Haddock Lobo, 1408), serving up the best cheese bread in the city, if not the country. If you have time, wait for a fresh batch to come out: you will get the most for your R$4.50, which is worth it [full review here].

Having had your fill of cheese bread,finish up your explorations by deciding what other flavors could entice you at Folie (Cristiano Viana, 295), purveyor of excellent French macarons. Choose from Brazilian-inspired flavors, including brigadeiro and beijinho; or go with something even more inventive, such as drink-themed macarons with flavors like Gin & Tonic and Green Tea.

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Our go-to Pão de Queijo

When we first wrote about Pão de queijo in 2007, we had no idea we would be undergoing so many Brazilian food adventures, and enjoy making Brazilian dishes so much. One of our friends recently asked us what our favorite Pão de queijo recipe was – and we are happy to share it with them and here – our go-to recipe is Simply Recipes’ version. Since Brazilian cheeses are hard to come by in the US we substitute Cotija cheese, readily found in Mexican grocery stores.


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The Best Pão de Queijo in São Paulo: Pão de Queijo Haddock Lobo

Pão de Queijo Haddock Lobo
Rua Haddock Lobo, 1408
São Paulo, 01414-002, Brazil

If, like us, you are cheese-and-carb lover, then pão de queijo may be one of the world’s most perfect foods. We’re getting pretty good at making it in the ETW Kitchen, despite some poor trial runs at the beginning. But now in Brazil, we were looking forward to sampling the many varieties of the Brazilian snack. Sadly, we’ve found Bahia quite lacking in pães, originally a speciality from the state of Minas Gerais. We encountered pães a few times in Salvador, at little snack counters mostly, and sampled a particularly foul version at a chain dedicated to Pao de Queijo (which we shall not name). Feeling a little disheartened by our pão de queijo experience in Salavdor, we were looing forward to getting to São Paulo to see if the pickings were any better.

What little flavor explosions lie undiscovered inside that basket?

And there, like a shining beacon a few blocks down from Avenida Paulista, Pão de Queijo Haddock Lobo came to our rescue. Admittedly, our encounter was not accidental: PQHL was recommended to us very highly as some of the best pães in São Paulo, a city already famous for its vast and varied food. The storefront – like any good pão de queijo shop worth its weight in cheesy bread – is just a small walk-up counter, with freshly-made pães kept in a covered wicker basket. Fun for us, as this lent an air of mystery to the proceedings. Right there in front of us, but what did they look like? At R$4 each – a little pricey – how big were they? How many should we order? Of course, we could have saved ourself the trouble but just asking the friendly cashier, but boy if that does take all the fun out of it. Finally, 4 pães, 2 apiece. Decision made. And a brigadeiro – a truffle-like chocolate and caramel dessert covered in chocolate sprinkles – for dessert.

Conclusion? Absolutely worth the special trip. Since the lone bench at Haddock Lobo was occupied, we enjoyed our pães al fresco. They were astoundingly large, much bigger than the typical mini specimens were have encoutnered in the USA and Brazil. And despite our after-lunch arrival, they were still piping hot and fresh. Overall, easily some of the best pães we had ever had – if not the best – they were completely crispy on the outside and cheesy on the inside, with a great cheese flavor that managed to complement, as opposed to fight with or overpower, the bread. All in all, ETW heartily recommends Pão de Queijo Haddock Lobo for great pão de queijo in Sampa!

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South American Cheesy Bread

We love cheesy bread products, and in Brazil, the Pão de Queijo is practically a national treasure. However, other countries in South America have their own delicious cousins of Pão de Queijo, including Paraguay’s Chipa and Colombia’s Pan de Bono, as featured on Our Eyes Eat First.

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What is…Pão de queijo?

While the eaters have never been to Brazil, we know two things – we like bread and we like cheese. A lot! We also like cooking new foods. We have a long queue of dishes we are excited to make eventually, and Pão de queijo (Cheese bread in Portuguese) has jumped right to the top. A typical snack food in Brazil and Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina (where they are known as is known as chipás or cuñapés), these little pods of butter and cassava flour contain nothing but gooey cheese. We found a chipá recipe from fellow WordPresser Pip in the city that we are dying to try out. We will let you know how it goes.

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