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Sep 19, 2006 02:25 AM

late to the party, but I just "discovered" pao de queijo...

I had heard of it, and had been looking for it, but tonight I was just wandering around Union Square and went into Pao de Acucar, the Brazilian market/buffet place right near Barristers Hall. The woman working there does not speak much English, and there was no sign on the case in which they were sitting. But they looked intriguing, like little choux pastries almost, so I pointed to them and she gave me four for one dollar and put them in a small paper bag. I also bought some Mingau de Milho Verde, which I had never heard of, and some rice pudding, just to sample a few things (and I was craving something pudding-like). Outside on the street, I popped one of the (then anonymous) pao de queijo puffs in my mouth, and it was amazement at first bite. Warm, slightly crusty on the outside, moist (but fully cooked) on the inside, nice balance of cheese and dough. I figured it had to be the famed item. I had a second on the way home. Once at home, tried the Mingau and loved it. Never had a custard/pudding with cornmeal in it before; it adds complexity to something that is otherwise just sweet and rather bland. The rice pudding was not special, would not buy again.

So, I'm now addicted to these items. Next time I want to try the buffet; the black beans looked good. Any other recs for this place? I never hear about it on this board.

Give my naivete I'm sure someone is going to say there are much better pao de queijo somewhere else. If so I want to know! Somerville preferred.

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  1. Not that anyone asked, but I wanted to add that I determined the mingau de milho verde has the juice of raw corn kernels in it, not cornmeal.

    1. I like the ones at Magic Oven in Framingham.

      1. The honest truth is that a lot of Brazilian vendors in Someville bake from frozen packs of pao de queijo and sell those, sometimes keeping them in the warming oven forever. They should be eaten very fresh or they are not that good.

        The good news from this is that you could by the packets, put them in the freezer, and then bake them yourself at home anytime you have the desire (making them from scratch isn't that hard either). The packets are available at International Market on somerville ave, I think the Casa de Carnes solucao on bow street, Gol Supermarket on Somerville, and also used be available at Mt Sinai travel on Main St in Medford.

        In the Boston area I have been most impressed with the Pao de Queijo from Bread in Company in Everett, which is now going to be open 24-hours a day from Thursday-Sunday. In East Somerville both the Pastelaria Vitoria and Sweet Brasil can be pretty good if you go early respectively on Broadway and McGrath. I think Panificadora Modelo on Medford St has gone downhill since it moved, but Petiscos on the other side of the street has fresh pao de queijo every morning. I also have had very mixed experiences with Padaria Brasil on Bow St (most of their baked goods are brought in), but I have had some decent salgadinhos so they might be an option. International market is related to the Pastelaria, but I would suggest it more for other salgadinhos with a better shelf life than pao de queijo.

        4 Replies
        1. re: itaunas

          What do you think of the pao de queijo at House of Bread on Salem St (Rte 60) in Medford? I just checked that place out the other day.

          1. re: Chris VR

            I like the House of Bread, but have never had their Pao de Queijo. Their bread is generally fresh w/o a lot of additives and they have well seasoned fillings on the savory dishes I have tried.

            One other hint in that area, is if you are driving by Cafe da Fazenda on Main in Everett check it out (near Belmont and not too far from Medford st) they seemed quite interesting when they opened, but I haven't been back in probably 8 months and I don't know if their business has picked up.

            1. re: Chris VR

              after reading your post ,i went to house of bread today. the Pao were absolutely horrendous. as an afterthought, i got a chicken calzone, went to my car to try it and it was v. good. so i walked back in and ordered a number of things. see my separate post above.

            2. re: itaunas

              fwiw, i think that padaria brasil on bow st in union sq. is no longer an option as it's been dark the last couple weeks as i walked by heading to the saturday farmer's market. there's no sign saying they're gone or anything, but it looks pretty much closed near as i can tell.