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From Brazil to Armenia

Midwest Grill

Yesterday I went back to Inman, to try out the Midwest "Brazilian" Grill. Short reaction: ok, but I'll be going back to Cafe Portugal more.

Going for lunch rather than dinner is a very good idea: $14 vs. $22, more on weekends. I don't think they have a regular menu, just the salad and hot bar, plus the circulating meat carts. Unless you go for a seafood dish, which also comes with the salad and hot bar.

Buffet quality: salad part seemed standard. 'hot' part had some interesting bits. "French fries", actually mixed with pineapple and thick bacon (yum). Fried chicken breast bits, which were surprisingly juicy and subtly flavored. Plantains. Very tasty garlic yellow rice. Meh pork bean stew (with bone in). Other stuff I didn't try -- oh right, something labeled "chicken with okra" but which seemed to be meatballs with green peppers. Fairly good.

As for the star attraction? Ancient memories suggest that the first churrasco or rodizia, Brazilian BBQ, I went to (taken by friends in LA) was very good. But they are ancient. This one and Amsterdam, not so much. Nothing was *bad*, but I had a tastier steak at Cafe Portugal the previous night, and as far as all you can eat meat orgies go, Fire and Ice would be cheaper and maybe better.

rib: good
kielbasa: too greasy for me
beef loin: well done, meh -- though you can tell them how you want your meat, so I could have probably gotten something better
pork loin: okay, crunchy outer bit was best
lamb: nice, subtle
brazilian sausage: very salty, with a subtle flavor I couldn't pin down but wasn't fond of. The worst bit of it all for me.
chicken lumps wrapped in bacon: good
chicken hearts: had to ask for them, and I fear they cooked up a bowl just for me. I was cautious and by this time very very stuffed so I just had one. They might be good, there was a something to it; I'd try again.
And that's pretty much all the meats they offer! Garlic bread was also on the menu but didn't come out.

Big difference compared to the Amsterdam one: apart from the sausages, *not* salty, in particular the surfaces weren't showing the signs of massive salt rub. Yay! I like salt, but, not too much?

I realized partway through that 2pm might not be the best time for freshness and all. I keep forgetting this.

Odd drinks: I tried a can of guarana, "Brazilian cola". It was okay; I'm no connoisseur of sodas. The can itself was most interesting to me: ingredients in English, French, and Portuguese, and what looked like a line of Arabic running down the can elsewhere.

Bom Cafe

Popped my head in, verified that it is indeed a cafe with some Brazilian items, chatted and learned the proprietor is Brazilian, asked and learned that ç is pronounced as /s/. If I heard him right, single 's' is /z/, so casa becomes /caza/, and s-sound is double 's' as in cassava, or else ç. Why, I dunno.


Biked along river toward Waltham, didn't make it, turned back at Watertown, won't bore you. But I came back up Mount Auburn, and saw in order:

* Billboard advertising Armenian Street Fair around July 20th
* St. James Armenian church, with a memorial to the genocide of 1915, and which showed me Armenian has its own alphabet, which looks like someone abused the letters u and w a lot.
* An Armenian market, where I bought baklava, and saw frog legs, and alleged saffron in huge quantities (like 2 oz). $6 for 2 oz, or $60/pound in another packaging... Blake and I paid $40/ounce years ago, so I'm pretty suspicious. Probably 10% saffron if you're lucky, 90% colored gelatin...
* Another Armenian market
* A butcher with "exotic meats", next to a sign pointing toward the Armenian cultural center. Butcher had "tavern ham" as well as stuff like mortadella.

I didn't notice any exotic restaurants, though I passed a Mt. Auburn Grill advertising rare-cooked burgers if you want them. Only $8 for half a pound! Only compared to Harvard; even grass fed beef is only $6.50/lb in the store...

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Damien Sullivan

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October 2018


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