Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rio's Brazilian Cafe Blogger Tasting Night

My first experience with Brazilian cuisine was at Fogo de Chão in Houston long before they opened one in Austin.  I was torturously hooked: addictive meat and salad bar galore, but inconveniently expensive.  Being a poor college and now graduate student, I've only eaten once at Estancia Churrascaria and haven't had a chance to visit Fogo de Chão in Austin. 

I managed to satisfy my Brazilian cravings without the amazing meats by buying packets of Yoki brand pão de queijo mixes at Ana Brasil.

I wrongly assumed that churrascaria and pão de queijo sum up Brazilian cuisine.  Rio's Brazilian Cafe introduced me to a whole other side of Brazilian food, and I willingly devoured everyting they had to offer.

Rio's Brazilian Cafe

Chef Elias Martins and partner Ben Googins started Rio's Brazilian in 2006 making all-natural Brazilian packaged products from their cafe kitchen.  You can find Rio's Brazilian products at Whole Foods, Spec's, Ana Brasil, or on the internet at, but you can also visit their cafe in East Austin to experience a cozy, home-style breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

I went beverage crazy and sampled mango and passion fruit juices as well as Guarana, a Brazilian soda.  I recommend all of them, though that's not surprising since I love all kinds of tropical fruit juices.  The Guarana stands out because you won't find it at many restaurants (though I'm sure you can buy it at Ana Brasil).  It has a lightly sweetened taste without the slimey corn syrup after-taste of American sodas.

(starting from left) Mango Juice, Passion Fruit Juice, and Guarana

What truly sets Rio's Brazilian Cafe apart from other Brazilian venues is its specialization in Brazilian savory pastries.  I tried the Chicken Risoli, Beef & Corn Pastel, and the Brazilian Breakfast Pocket.  The fillings ingredients were fresh and well-seasoned and the pastry was flakey and not at all greasy.  Being able to see and recognize all the filling ingredients is a testament to the quality of food you're getting.  You can still decipher all the filling ingredients from the shaky photos I took!
Chicken Risoli, Beef & Corn Pastel, and the Brazilian Breakfast Pocket

Beef & Corn Pastel, and the Brazilian Breakfast Pocket

Chicken Risoli

I especially liked the beef and corn pastel and the breakfast pocket.  The breakfast pocket was very well balanced.  Usually breakfast tacos or sandwiches have disproportionate amounts of egg (because it's cheaper and more filling), which makes me sick in the stomach.  I was pleasantly surprised that the Brazilian breakfast pocket made the cheese and the bacon the standout ingredients.

If you crave pão de queijo, Rio's offers original as well as basil and roasted red pepper ones!!!!  When I saw this on the menu, I couldn't wait to stuff myself with the flavored pãos!  Rio's sells them frozen, and I bought basil and red peppers that very night.  They're pillowy chewy, cheesy, and savory.

pão de queijo

Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pãos de Queijo

Rio's offers 3 desserts.  I tried the Pudim de Leite, a Brazilian flan, and it was dense and creamy.  I'm defintely coming back to try the chocolate and passion fruit mousse and the sweet banana and cinnamon pastry! 

Pudim de Leite; Big Mug of Brazilian Coffee with Cream

I'm delighted that I can finally afford to eat Brazilian in Austin!

No comments:

Post a Comment