Brazilian Bakery, House of Bread, Medford, Today 10/19/06
Pao de Quieso were horrendous,with strong off-putting taste of powdered milk. fortunately, I tried a few other things and found some to be very tasty.
Recommended( and all about $2 @):
Chicken Calzone- chicken, corn, cream cheese,bit of Tomato type Sauce in a 5" wide Calzone, cut into 5" slices.
Ham and Cheese Calzone- similar to above.
Chicken in Puff Pastry type dough- in small loaf shape.Seems to be same filling as the Chicken Calzone I first described.Shrimp version of same in muffin shape.
In the Heated Glass case on top of the far right of the bakery case:
Yellow cornmeal colored conical thing filled with chicken: 'dough' is very tasty, chicken is dry but pretty good. Beef Crescent shaped version of same type of pastry is the best thing in that heated case. The 'sausage' version- is actually that yellow dough wrapped around a hot dog uggh.
Coconut Cake with flan underneath- in wedge shape- good cake but flan tastes of powdered milk again . Square of Coconut Cake with filling layer of Sweetened Condensed Milk/Dulce de Leche type.Moist, sweet, coconut.
Roughly what time of day did you pass by House of Bread? I wonder if they use the Yoki mix to make their pao de queijo, which would be pretty weird for a bakery, but might explain the taste. A good sign is if its a bit tangy as that might indicate the use of semi-cured brazilian cheese (sometimes a mix of queijo fresco and parmesan is used, but often just (hard) mozzarella.
If the calzone was a bready-baked good, it was probably an esfirra or simply an enroladinho. Usually they are kept in the warming oven, although that could cause them to dry.
The chicken pastry would be empada and the shrimp an empadinha. For the former most common is a whole sheet pan called an empadao, of which slices are cut. Usually the shrimp are really small and rubbery.
The conical thing is a coxinha (comes from thigh) and the beef pastry a risole. Often bakeries have a risole with a corn filling that I enjoy. Brazilians love hot dots (salsischa) and have their own special ways of serving them (cachorro quente) and burgers/chicken (x-burger, x-tudo, x-frango, etc) with peas, corn, sauce, potato sticks. What you had was probably just a salsischa empanada (fried hot dog).
With the cake you are saying the sponge had the taste of powdered milk? The rest sounds pretty normal for coconut cake and the most popular brazilian combination. From what I recall they have a pretty decent bolo de aipim (dense yucca-based cake). I did enjoy the chicken empadao that had a bit of catipury (cream cheese) and even tried the torta de frango (a chicken pie with a flavorless potatoe puree on top that I universally dislike) which wasn't so bad, despite my dislike.
Sounds like they are doing ok, but not running on all cylinders. For a counterpoint you might want to check out Bread & Co (a large bakery which is now open 24 hrs on weekends) and Cafe da Fazenda (a smaller operation I believe run by two women) both in Everett. I recently went back to pastelaria vitoria in Somerville and thought their oversized coxinha have improved and the quibe (kibbe) was decent, but not as good. It was at night, so I didn't hazard pao de queijo. They will also fry a "pastel" to order for you which is the best way to eat those, plus have the above-mentioned "lanches" (x-tudo, etc) and feijoada on the weekends.
Wow -- what an excellent explanation, again. I try to stay away from these pastries because they are sooooo fattening (and so addictive) but this post makes me want to go sample a whole bunch of Brazilian food.
Someone else mentioned the places in Everett as doing Brazilian food well and inexpensively. I want to check them out -- I live close to the Modelo (?) pastry shop on Medford St and that's where I got addicted to cheese bread. Really, if I could stand to exercise, I'd be there every day.
Have you been to Modelo (Panificadora Modelo) recently? I tried them twice after they moved across the street and the quality seemed to have dropped but hopefully it has improved since.
In Everett the Brazilian options include "Bread & Co," Sal e Brasa and Picanha's, Oliveira's, Cafe da Fazenda, and Chrisillas Pizza (I think Kipo's also does brazilian pizza). Just over the line in Malden is Brasil on Ferry.
You could do pretty well in your own neighborhood. Petisco's has excellent salgadinhos, plus soups and Churrasco Grill is one of the better per-lb churrasco places. There is not a lot of reason to leave Somerville.
Oliveira's I think is a bit less expensive than Churrasco, but I prefer Churrasco. Brasil on Ferry is mostly delivery, but has good food (not even certain if there are any tables).
If you want an inexpensive rodizio ($14.95) or churrasco or small plates with live music, then Sal E Brasa and Picanha's are worth a visit. They can get a bit boisterous, but its part of the fun. In Somerville Cafe Belo's Sugar bar is pretty similar but the food can be a bit variable.
Bread & Co is definately worth a visit sometime. Cafe da Fazenda was just getting started last time I visited and the selection was pretty limited -- it needs to be hounded a bit more.
My Brazilian husband refuses to return to Sal e Brasa. The Saturday we went there, I swear the feijoada was made with corned beef or pot roast. It was quite odd. I have gotten used to the traditional pork (including the pork parts of feet and ears) and Sal e Brasa's was disappointing. My husband (who is from Minas) made a sarcastic comment that these people must have used a recipe from Bahia. Oh well.
I think Moqueca in Cambridge was pretty good, but it's not a bakery.
We still go to Modelo, though I wished they had stayed on the other side of the street. We pick up pao de sal (?) white bread rolls. Great for sandwiches or toasting with slices of cheese with coffee. Oh my.
Where does your husband like to get Feijoada? I tend to get it from Branca's on Broadway -- inexpensive and a lot of meat. Brasil on Ferry is also good. Picanha's seems to be a step up from Sal e Brasa and I think they give a bit more attention to the buffet, but I have not been enough to see how it fares over time.
In addition to pork (also the tail is used), plus some salted meats, smoked sausage, carne de sol/seca which is beef is traditionally used. Also calling someone a baiano can be a mild slur so someone could interpret your comment above that way if you are not careful.