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Eat and Drink

Brazilian food NYC: Caipirinha, feijoada, more

All eyes turn to Brazil this week, with the Summer Olympics kicking off in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

Though sports is the main affair, we at amNewYork can’t help but turn our attention to food. And if you’re looking to celebrate the Games’ 2016 host with some traditional eats, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a guide to Brazilian fare — and where to find it in New York City.

Pao de queijo

Two words: cheese bread. This popular Brazilian pastry
Photo Credit: Padoca

Two words: cheese bread. This popular Brazilian pastry (which essentially translates to cheese bread in Portuguese) is a popular pastry with breakfast, dinner or as a snack. It's typically made with yucca or tapioca flour -- making it naturally gluten-free -- and, for the cheese, Parmesan or minas. It's easily the bestseller at the year-old Padoca Bakery (359 E. 68th St., 212-247-4080), a Brazilian spot that serves pao de queijo -- or PDQ, as it's abbreviated there -- on its own and also in sandwich form, with fillings such as tomato and cream cheese. The newly revamped brunch menu offers more options, too, such as PDQ egg sandwiches.

Brigadeiro

Brazilian cuisine isn't without its sweets, especially desserts
Photo Credit: My Sweet Brigadeiro

Brazilian cuisine isn't without its sweets, especially desserts that incorporate papaya and passion fruit. One of its most popular confections is brigadeiro, a truffle- or bonbon-like treat made with chocolate, condensed milk and butter that's covered in ingredients like pistachios, almonds, coconut and sprinkles. There are several bakeries that specialize in the little balls, too, including Brigadeiro Bakery (156 Sullivan St., 917-740-5772), My Sweet Brigadeiro (57 Porter Ave., Bushwick, 347-689-4402) and Little Treats (retailers listed at littletreats.nyc).

Feijoada

Brazilian cuisine varies regionally, with influences from such
Photo Credit: iStock

Brazilian cuisine varies regionally, with influences from such areas as Africa, Germany and, of course, Portugal. Though there are a few staples -- one being feijoada. The black bean stew is typically made with beef or pork and has been called the national dish of Brazil. Find it in NYC at Favela Grill (33-18 28th Ave., Astoria, 718-545-8250) in Queens' Little Brazil neighborhood; Ipanema Restaurant (43 W. 46th St., 212-730-5848) in Manhattan's Little Brazil; and Esperanto (145 Ave. C, 212-505-6559).

Caipirinha

Considered the national drink of Brazil, the caipirinha
Photo Credit: Fogo de Chao

Considered the national drink of Brazil, the caipirinha is a sweet concoction made with the Brazilian spirit cachaça, sugar and lime. "If drinking a caipirinha for the first time, never drink it on an empty stomach or sitting down -- when sitting down, you don't realize you're getting drunk," advises native Brazilian-turned-New Yorker Tiba Vieira. "And be careful if you have a Brazilian preparing your caipirinha because Brazilians love to get people drunk." Order the concoction with care at Miss Favela (57 S. Fifth St., Williamsburg, 718-230-4040), a "Brazilian boteqium"; pan-Latin restaurant Yuca Bar (111 Ave. A, 212-982-9533); and Brazilian chain Fogo de Chao (40 W. 53rd St., 212-969-9980), where one whole lime goes into each caipirinha.

Meat feasts

The Brazilian steakhouse, or churrascaria, is famous for
Photo Credit: Fogo de Chao

The Brazilian steakhouse, or churrascaria, is famous for its indulgences. Vegetarians will find something to order from the salad bar, but it's really about the endless supply of meat -- picanha, filet mignon, beef ancho, chicken, lamb, pork and so on -- sliced onto your plate. Come hungry (and don't pull a rookie move and fill up too much at the salad bar) for all-you-can-eat prix fixes at Churrascaria Plataforma (316 W. 49th St., 212-245-0505) and Fogo de Chao (40 W. 53rd St., 212-969-9980).

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