Good, bad, or indifferent, food changes us in ways we sometimes cannot fathom. Because I am a vegetarian, you may not see the greasy, animal-laden products on this site.. but I guarantee I won't disappoint you.
This journey will be fun!
So I would like to begin this blog by introducing you to my first and second experience with a restaurant that will always be near and dear to my heart. It’s a steakhouse, if you can believe that, but I have had some of the best vegan meals there.
That place is Fogo de Chao.
My first trip to Fogo, was a gift from a few friends of mine, Charles and Amanda. It was the month of her birthday, and mine (January), and so Charles decided to take us out to celebrate. Being the big meat eater that he is, he chose Fogo as our destination. I guess it was somewhat of a joke to him because he knows I am a vegetarian, but in the end, I got the last laugh. :)
I called ahead and after speaking to the manager, found out that because of the type of steakhouse they were, focusing on fresh foods, they were easily able to accommodate my needs.
This is the sign we saw when we first walked up to the restaurant.
Upon entering, we were greeted warmly and seated at this lovely table.
You may notice that on the table there are little red discs. Here is another view of them that we saw outside after we left. This will give you an idea of what they look like, however.
The discs determine the pace of your meal. When you sit down they explain that gaucho chefs weave their way through the restaurant with 15 various cuts and types of meat. If you would like them to serve you a meat option, you have your disc turned to the green side, and they will come and offer their selections to you. When you have had enough, or need a small break from the meat portion of the program, you flip your disc to the red side and that signals for them not to offer you meat at the moment. Each person controls their own disc of destiny.
This is Charles being served by one of the gaucho chefs. He had his disc on green nearly the whole time we were there.
The wait staff is very attentive and friendly. I could barely take one sip of my water before they were there to fill my glass again.
When you are seated, they also bring to your table amazing side dishes. These are supposed to compliment the “salad” bar (more on that in a moment), and your meat, but can easily serve as a meal in itself. These are: warm cheese puffs, so hot and gooey (but also available without cheese if you prefer), fried polenta (with or without cheese), loaded (or non-loaded) mashed potatoes, and the most fantastic plantains I have ever had, fried to perfection and served in a nice sauce.
The plantains and polenta are pictured on this plate, along with hearts of palm, asparagus spears, green olives, and beets.
The bar that they offer, which is included in the meal, hosts a wide array of other items for your pure enjoyment.
Asparagus spears, hearts of palm, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli
fresh mozzarella, marinated artichoke,
sliced tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber and onions,
peppers, and green olives line one whole side of the bar. On another there are prepared salads
and an assortment of different kinds of lettuce.
There are also various other dishes offered on the bar, such as salmon. I didn’t get the pictures of the other side, so you will have to go and see for yourself.
The manager came over to speak with me for a few moments to acknowledge and address my dietary needs. Then he brought this beauty back from his kitchen chefs.
This is rice, lightly sauteed with onions, mushrooms, broccoli, and asparagus. It tasted out of this world, and smelled so good being sat in front of me that I nearly didn’t make the time to take the picture before I dug in. Since they used a light oil, instead of heavy butter, it woke the flavors of this dish up and elevated it to a higher plane. To this day, I can still smell the pleasing aroma of the food, and taste its delicate flavor on my tongue. Yes, food can bring back some wonderful sense memory.
I finished my meal with a perfectly aromatic and strong cup of coffee, and thanked my friends for an amazing day.
They were well pleased.
I knew that I could not keep this experience to myself, so I planned a return trip to Fogo, and this time I brought my greatest and dearest friend, George, along for the pleasure.
Needless to say, he was very happy with the meat selections, and kept his disc on green for most of the trip, also.
In fact, at the end of the meal, this was all that was left on plate.
This time, was a bit different. We sat at a nice round table, and since we were close to the kitchen, and the wine selection,
we were treated like royalty.
We feasted on Fogo’s offerings, along with crushed limeade, and a rather nice selection of teas,
which - of course - is also all you care to indulge.
This time, my chefs offering arrived to my table like this,
Rice, potatoes, peppers, and mushrooms: it was a plate that was just as flavorful as the first one, and offered a promise of many more wonderful dishes to come.
They tell you to save room for their finely crafted desserts: papaya cream, creme brule, turtle cheesecake, key lime pie, even a molten chocolate cake - but after a meal such as this, I didn’t have the room!
The meal can be a bit on pricey side (30.00 a person for lunch, 45.00 for dinner), but it is well worth it, if you can swing it.
I ate at the Indianapolis, Indiana location for both of my visits, but they have many other locations around the US and in Brazil to suit your needs. I even heard they opened a brand new location in Boston today.
ENJOY! I know I did.
(For more information about this restaurant, follow this link. http://www.fogodechao.com/home/ )