Sunday, October 4, 2009

Brazil Day LA 2009

Across the United States there are Brazil Days each year to celebrate Brazil's independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822, and highlight Brazilian culture in the US. Los Angeles had its Brazil Day LA on September 12, at the La Brea Tar Pits, in charming Hancock Park.

Beautiful Los Angeles weather made for a great turn out from the local Brazilian community, and Angelino lovers of Brazilian culture. The event was put on by the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles.

There was Brazilian music, capoeira, shopping,and most importantly, FOOD!

Here is Bianca, Marisa Montoya(samba dancer), Sonaria, and little Cody at the festival showing off Brazil's greatest asset, its warm and beautiful people.

The crowd waited anxiously for Pepeu Gomes, the Brazilian guitarist from Salvador da Bahia. His backing band featured many of the best local Brazilian musicians living here in LA. They danced and soaked up the innovative sounds of Bahia under the Los Angeles sun.

What Brazil Day wouldn't be complete without some churrasco? Silvio's BBQ provided their backyard style Brazilian BBQ to all protein lovers in attendance.

But what really made me cock my head around 180 degrees was that familiar scent......of....... deep frying dende oil(palm oil).Across the throng of attendees I spotted the Sabor da Bahia booth.

Renni and Ilma were busy cooking and running two booths, the Sabor da Bahia stand and a clothing and jewelry booth, that was Ilma's job. The baianas took a moment to smile for the camera.Sabor da Bahia has the best acaraje in Los Angeles that they make out of their apartment in Culver City. Give them a call get a little taste of Bahia.

The scent of dende and the familiar acaraje frying at their booth made many Brazilian's feel at home that day. Sabor da Bahia also made a savory chicken with okra, and for dessert.....

Cocada Baiana, a coconut based dessert with condensed milk and sugar.

Fresh from her article in the LA Times, Lucience Peck was busy grilling, frying, and running all over the place at the Rio Brazil Cafe stall, formerly known as Brazil Exotic Foods.

I opted for a go at her frango em passarinho, a ubiquitous bar food item found in Brazil. Many Brazilian restaurants around do a version of this treat. The trick is in the deep frying. Rio Brazil's were tender, the right touch of garlic,and paired with a cool vinagrete. Luciene's soulful malagueta pepper sauce liberally applied took me back to that loud and delightful Brazilian pub at 2AM I went to in Rio one night not so long ago.

Pastel is a Brazilian street food as popular as hot dogs at a baseball game. Pasteis are stuffed with all kinds of meat, seafood, vegetables, combinations of foods, and cheeses. Brazilians dump ketchup, mustard, olive oil, or hot sauce on these rectangular wonton-skin like turnovers. This was a rare street food sighting here in LA. I'm still waiting for the pastel truck. Anybody?

A local organization was busy frying pasteis of cheese and beef for a horde of hungry and nostalgic clients. This booth was slammed. I suggest more fillings and a bigger fryer next year.How about doing a pastel of bacalhau(cod)?

By the time I got my order only beef was left. The pastel was fried expertly, and although not as generously filled as the ones you find in Brazil, were better than anything I've seen in LA.

My pastel contained well-seasoned, delicate meat with vegetables, nicely integrated with light,crunchy pastry.

After the food started to run out and the vendors began to pack up, the band played on and the party continued to the last note.

I missed the capoeira show, but caught these two practicing the forbidden martial art dance from the state of Bahia.

Brazil Explore magazine and the Supermercado Brazil, located in the Brazilian Mall in Culver City, were busy promoting Brazilian culture and selling traditional foods and goods.

Brazil Day in LA is a great opportunity to taste regional Brazilian foods, experience the infectious spirit of the local Brazilians, listen to music that your shaking hips can't deny, and learn about Brazilian culture.

I hope to see even more food booths next year, and someone please get a Brahma tent going or a caipirinha bar.

See you next year at Brazil Day in LA!!


mattatouille said...

i need to take my parents here! next year!

streetgourmetla said...

OK, Matt. Hopefully caipirinhas will be available!

mattatouille said...

oh man, i love pastel! i wish they had a pastel truck.

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Street Gourmet LA,

Excellent report. :) Looks like a fun time (bummed I missed it). Any event with Sabor there is worth going to. :)

Eddie Lin said...

Congratulations on Brazil getting the Olympics!

Anonymous said...

BRAZILIAN DAY IN L.A. 2010 On September 12, from 12 to 6 pm, at the La Brea Tarpits!!/event.php?eid=121471871237346&ref=ts