Brazilian Bakeries and fast food Somerville/Everett/Medford
There was some recent discussion about Brazilian Bakeries in Framingham. I have my own opinions about those, but spend more time in places around Boston and can provide better reviews of those. I speak portuguese, so apologize that I can only guess to how well English is spoken, but pointing always works.
Note that many of them offer fresh squeezed oj as a relative bargain compared to American cafes, but you will want specify that you do not want ice and/or sugar. Almost all of these have frozen brazilian fruits to make juices (in this case you do want sugar) and there usually is a card with an english translation. Some you can make with milk so make sure you try them, they are good!
Brazilian bread is good and fresh... and what they value is a french bread served as a roll, with a very thin crust. In most places you can get a "misto quente" which is a pressed ham and cheese, or usually bread with mortadello. Bread from Hi-Rise or Iggys would be considered stale because of the thick crust. Their sweet breads are less eggy than portuguese, but are denser than the french bread. They also offer a "broa" which is more cake-like than the portuguese equivalent.
The most well known Brazilian fast food or "salgadinho" is the "coxinha" which has a dough made with yucca and chicken broth, and is filled with a chicken. They come either plain or with "catupiry" which here is usually plain old cream cheese. Next is probably pão de queijo which comes from Minas Gerais along with many of the brazilians here and is wonderful, but most places here do not do it justice (and do not buy it day-old, it has to be hot). Quibe (Kibe) is the same thing middle-eastern ground meat and bulger wheat delicacy you would find at the Middle East Restaurant, but its always shaped into a single-serving and fried. "Camarão" is anything with shrimp and a risole is the most common (a thick fried half-moon) or "bolinho" (ball).
Brazilian empanadas are always baked and either come as pieces of "empadão" (a large pie) or "empadinha" which is baked in a small muffin tin. A fried one will be a "pastel" and its usually retangular and the dough is like an empanada, but has some influences from Chinese dumpling dough. These you should always ask them to fry to order. Another common baked pastry is an Esfirra which is usually triangle-shaped and has a bready-dough. These can be very good or very plain, so are suggested when you already know you like the chicken or meat filling.
Some of these places have Espresso machines, but it doesn't mean it will be well made (eg not tamped) and the beans used will be more along the lines of a portugese espresso than an italian one (good, but a different taste). The brewed coffee also varies grately.
Bread & Co, Norwood St, Everett
This is the most elaborate of all these bakeries and is more welcoming to English speakers. They have good yucca and coconut cakes if you like sweet things. Ask them to fry a pastel for you. I would also try the empadas here. If they have fresh baked pão de queijo, make sure you leave with a bag-full! They also have croissants and italian style pastries. Some things may have american-size prices.
Casal Bakery, Cambridge St, Cambridge
This is a portugese bakery and cafe, but most of the help is Brazilian so they offer some brazilian things. I would stay away from the Brazilian snacks here and have a portugese espresso with a pastel de nata or the coconut cake with brazilian dulce de leche. Their bread is first rate and just about anything you get in the bakery is good. Very welcoming to English speakers. If you want a salgadinho, check out Moqueca which is next door and has a limited, but tasty variety.
Padaria Brazil Bakery, Pearl St, Somerville.
This is the place to try Brazilian "Broa." They make a nice "misto" to order and I think they have filled churros. This should be a good bet for pão de quiejo, if its hot. It can be really crazy first thing in the morning during the week. Not certain about English, but you should try here!
Petiscos, Medford St, Somerville
This is a fairly new "snack shop" that opened in a Chinese fast food location near Magoon Sq. You can buy a 100 bite-sized "salgadinhos" for $40 or less. They also offer true brazilian style fast food hot dogs, Brazilian-style chicken sandwiches and hamburgers (x-burger, x-tudo, x-chicken).
I am serious about "buger, dog..." but what you should really try is a quibe and coxinha, along with a fruit drink. They offer fresh-made "caldos" (soups) which are recommended and while the "caldo de mocoto" is made with a hoof, it is an aphrodisiac... Canjiquinha is a broth with grits and pork (its good). If you want something simpler "caldo de feijão" is bean soup. The owner's daughter is usually at the counter and speaks english.
Pastelaria Brasil, Broadway, Somerville
This is on Broadway near the Taco Bell and before Vinny's. They have an amazing selection of snacks "salgadinhos" and its usually fresh. Most things are in the case, but if you want a "pastel' you should ask them to make it. The salgadinhos here tend to be "super-sized" and the filling can occasionally be plain, but their specialty is fresh. This is another place to get the pão de queijo. It can be intimidating first thing in the morning as this is a meeting place for people to pick up day workers, but if you go at noontime on Saturday or Sunday its much more relaxed. If its too crowded, try International Market on Somerville ave which has the same owners and they refill the snacks as needed. Minimal English service.
"Brazilian Bakery," medford St, Somerville
This was called "Casal" and something else, so I am not sure the name of it. It is nearby Petiscos.
If you want snacks, go to petiscos, but this is a great place for fresh bread, cake, and has all sorts of cookies that other places do not have. It can also be hectic first thing in the morning and they try with English speakers.
Roque Bakery and Cafe
This is new and was mentioned on the board already. They have another location which I have seen, but can't tell you exactly where it is I caution you against buying bread here as its baked at the other location and often not sold fresh.
The OJ is inexpensive and they make all the salgadinhos freshly here. Its bright and not at all crowded. I think the cakes are also brought in, but its a good place to try a yucca cake (mandioca). They have a nice torta de frango, but it has a *lot* of crust.
This opened as "Supermercado Brasileiro" which already had a location in Florida. They have since been renamed (acquired) by "Gol" which is also in Framingham and I think based in Florida. They had lots of variety when the $$ was strong, but their stock has gone more Goya as the $$ got weaker. When they opened they had all sorts of Empadas and Torta de frango freshly baked, but this has mostly gone by the wayside and their snack counter is pretty bleak. Their coxinhas (large, thick and soft) are among the best when they are good, but aren't its pretty plain.
If you like pão de queijo, you should be able to pick up a frozen packet or the mix and make it equal to most places on the list. Or pick up a recipe on the internet and povilho doce to make your own. Look for the grated "da roça" cheese to use or if necessary, use parmesan and mozzarella to aproximate the right taste/texture.
These are well established brazilian markets and convenience stores, which bring in "salgadinhos." They generally have passion, guava, and cashew juices. The owners will tend to speak English, but workers may or may not. They see a lot of traffic and the food stays fresh. All are in somerville and you can find their address via google.
Name Unknown, Rt 60 Medford
This is a new bakery that is next to Joe's Pizza's second location and just after the rotary with 93 heading towards Malden. It is a second location of something else and looks like both Bread & Co and Roque inside. It has a good selection of bakery goods and what I tried was good, but I don't know about snacks (salgadinhos).
Wow. And thank-you. And wow. I've lived in the Broadway neighborhood of Somerville for several years and am embarrassed to say that I've tried only one Brazilian place around here - so thank-you so much for all this - I'm going to expand my horizons this weekend!
The one place I have tried is Gaucho (sp?) at the corner of Broadway and Cutter. It is a buffet style restaurant with freshly grilled meets (steak, chicken, and sausage). The food is incredibly good (and authentic according to my Brazilian neighbor). And, at $5/lb to eat-in it is an incredible bargain.
The restaurant you are talking about is called Gauchão on Broadway. The food is fresh and inexpensive, the interior is a little bit spartan. Both Gauchão and Churrasco Grill on Medford street use real charcoal, which is something to check at a Brazilian restaurant as many use electric or gas grills (usually here the heat will be on top). With churrasco it is better to go when things are busy -- usually there will be more selection and the meat has been sitting less time. Brazilians are insistent, so make sure you get the cut of meat you want and cooked the way you want. If its dry and leathery, shake your head and say no.
Most Brazilian Buffets offer a fixed-price "Marmitex" where someone from the restaurant will make up a to-go serving for you with whatever you want as far as rice, beans, and sides, and two or three types of meat. This comes with a salad and will usually be $7-8. You can either eat two meals with this or reasonably feed two people. Sometimes they have a larger one for $15 which can easily serve four people. Gauchao offers this and you can get churrasco with it. Churrasco grill started offering a marmitex recently, but it was limited and since they have a lot of different options, this is probably a place to make your own.
Some places to check out in Somerville are Gauchão, Churrasco Buffet and Grill, and Bahia Grill. I think Gauchão suffers a bit on their "comida molhada." Churrasco is strong with both churrasco, roasted meats, and sauced dishes. Bahia Grill suffers on churrasco and selection when its not busy, but is really good on weekends for sauced dishes and roasted meats/fish and its very comfortable. If you are eating churrasco make sure you get some vinagrette (salsa) and a bit of farofa (mandioca flour with various flavorings) to go with your rice or meat.
If someone wants an adventure, you might stick your head in "Açogue Brasil" at 217 Middlesex in Medford (near BJs). They are a butcher, but offer a "marmitex" with grilled meats. Last time I was there it seemed like they were working on the kitchen and they only had some sad looking snacks, so I can't guarantee a good experience, but I have had good basic food from them. But I think if you go at lunch time or just after work on a weekday.
Sampled a bunch of things at Gaucho sometime last year with a buddy who noticed that the folks there were from Mineira, beacuse of the tropeiro-ized farofa, with beans, eggs and onion. We thought it was decent, but I was happier with the food I had at Bahia Grill.
My memory's a little hazy, but I think the bakery across the street from gaucho is Salvadorean; can't remember what I had, but I had a vague good feeling about it.
to quote the immortal words of Keith Partridge: I think I love you!
Thank you so much for taking the time to share all of this. Out of curiousity, have you tried the Sweet Brasil Bakery in Somerville, and if so, what do you think? Also, what do you think Pao de Queijo should cost? We've found the pricing highly variable, and have been unsure if sometimes, perhaps, we weren't paying an English tax.....
"what did you think of Sweet Brasil Bakery in Somerville?"
This is one of my favorites and you alerted me that I swapped the names of two bakeries.
This is the one I mentioned that had a delicious broa which I once got as it came out of the oven and I believe they offer churros (which they offer at various festivals). Its also a great place to get a sandwich made to order and they have some good sweets. The selection here is probably a little less than some of the others, but its a good one.
A large pao de queijo shouldn't be much more than about $1.50 and I would think that 10 small ones would sell for around $2, so if you are charged more than $3 I would check the price.
The corrections. Sweet Brazil Bakery is on the corner of McGrath and Pearl St. I think Padaria Brazil Bakery is the one on Medford St by McGoun Sq. One caution, if you are very sensitive to MSG, the fillings and some of the pastry doughs may use bullion cubes, especially the coxinha. If this is the case start with the pao de queijo and try things with a corn or shrimp filling.
I actually stopped by Sweet Brasil bakery the other day, in the midst of a late lunch hunger attack. i have to say, everything else may be good, but the pao de quejo are the worst I've had in the Boston area. Dry on the outside, they seemed almost coated with cruched cheezits, and had a really powdery, dry texture on the outside. They were still vaguely warm, so they couldn't have been stale, but they were sad. If it were my first pao de quejo experience, i wouldn't bother trying them again...Luckily, I knew better! ;)
I have a batch of Yoki in the oven right now, we'll see how I do!