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Aug 11, 2009 04:22 PM

San Rafael: Brazil Marin – Enjoying a caipirinha, feijoada, knockout cheese bread and live music on a sunny plaza … and when she eats there, each time she eats there, she goes "a-a-ah!”

…. How can she tell you she loves it …

On my first visit, the baseball-sized cheese bread was just out of the oven. They said in Brazil cheese bread is larger and meant to be enjoyed as a morning snack with coffee. They also have a ham and cheese version.

The thin, crackly, yeasty crust held an oozy cheesy center. With a cafezino, Brazilian coffee and a shot of steamed milk on the side, it was the perfect start to the day. For a nice finish … two bon bon sized sweets.

Vanilla cake was covered in very sweet coconut which, given the small size, is a nice accompaniment to coffee. The soft chocolate and vanilla sweet was like eating tasty cookie dough. This is an idea of what they look like

I’ve only seen these sweets at local Brazilian festivals where they are sold at booths manned, so to speak, by the housewives who make them.

A large screen TV played the excellent DVD “Grande Encontro” a concert performance by Elba Ramalho, Ze Ramalho, Alceu Valenca, and Geralod Azevedo which according to this link are four of the best artists of Northeastern Brazilian music

With Brazilians stopping by to pick up baked goods and chatting in Portuguese, it was easy to lose a sense of place and feel like this was a small neighborhood café in Brazil.

I ordered a frothy, refreshing cacao Brazilian fruit drink to go. Frozen Brazilian fruit is blended with milk and it reminded me a bit of the texture of an Orange Julius. These drinks are one of my favorite Brazilian beverages. The cacao is not the part of the plant that provides chocolate. It is subtle with a similarity to real white chocolate.

When I learned there was live music and feijoada on Saturday from 11:30 – 7 pm I knew I’d be back

… Continued in the first reply.

Brazil Marin
1435 4th St, Suite E San Rafael, CA 94901

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  1. Visit 2

    Comida a quilo is a steam table buffet where food is served by the pound ($6.99)

    It was easy to get lost in the smoky, purple-black beans of the feijoada studded with coins of linguica, tender cubes of beef and small ribs with the meat falling off the bone.

    Although there are no piggy parts such as ears, snouts or tails, it was still excellent and a strong second to 25 West which has those pig pieces. For the squeamish wanting to try fear-free feijoada, Brazil Marin is highly recommended. Here are the three other restaurants where I have tried feijoada so far.

    The buffet is a nice idea because feijoada is a rich dish and it is nice to have a taste without making a major commitment.

    All the feijoada fixings are in the buffet … rice, garlicky collard greens, crisp romaine, shredded carrots, sliced tomatoes, farofa (manioc flour). There was nice vinaigrette for the salad with chopped onions, tomato and pepper. There were about a dozen bottles of hot sauces and peppers on another counter.

    Other items in the buffet were eggplant lasagna, ground beef with cubed potatoes, chicken with corn, yucca and crunchy flat potato strips.

    They do a nice job of those dishes. The yucca pieces looked dry, but turned out to be creamy and tasty. The lasagna with a cream sauce was pleasant though the eggplant could have been softer. The white meat chicken cubes were a bit dry but the corn sauce balanced that.

    The caipirinha was refreshing and excellent though it is made with Ku soju because of liquor license limitations. It was actually better than some I’ve had with cachaca.

    Outside there was a man playing guitar and a woman singing songs in English and Portuguese. It was lovely, mellow and relaxing … a great way to kick back on a sunny afternoon.

    Music outdoor is offered on Friday from 4:30 – 7 and Saturday from 12:30 – 7

    More about the café in the next reply …

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange

      Brazil Marin was previously just a grocery store located in the Kerner loop. With the move it is primarily a café with a smaller but better chosen selection of Brazilian groceries.

      Throughout the day, they are baking fresh trays of Brazilian snacks which are kept warm in a case next to the register. Some snacks include kibe, risole de milo, coxinha de frango, empanada de camaron or beef, enroladinho (hot dogs wrapped in dough). I haven’t seen shrimp empanadas before.

      Other desserts in addition to the tray of bon bon sweets include pudin (like flan), quindim (a custard with coconut) and chocolate cake.

      They offer an acai bowl with guarana syrup, milk and granola. There is a strawberry version.

      There are a half dozen Paninis served with a small salad and a choice of jack cheese, cheddar, or Brazilian queijo minas.

      They include bauru (ham, cheese, tomatoes, and oregano), ham & cheese, veggie, turkey or chicken breast and tuna. More on a the bauru

      There are lots of juices many of them made with frozen Brazilian fruit such as acai, acerola, caja, cupaucu, graviola, siriguela, umbu.

      Other juices include banana, coconut, guava, mango, melon, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry, orange and tamarind

      There are some specialty blended drinks named after places in Brazil such as the Corcovada – acerola, mango, orange and carrots. There is a choice of blending with milk, yogurt or soy milk.

      There are four wooden café tables and a two-seat marble bar. Out side in an area shared by a few other businesses there are a half dozen patio tables.

      In addition to shelves of groceries on the back walls, there is a freezer with frozen meats, Toscana linguica veggies and other items. Next to it is a cooler with beer, beverages, salt cod, cheese. They have at least three types of catupiry cheese.

      Beverages include Skol Brazilian beer and Guarana soda

      They have a few dozen Brazilian DVDs for rental and some CDs. You can also buy a bikini and sandals.

    2. I loved reading this and also your other info re Brazilian food and feijoada in particular. We have an apt in Rio and I really miss occasional feijoado (about every three weeks was often as I could eat it.) When next in the Bay Area, we'll check some of these out.

      I want to mention - and ask others - that the pao de queijo I've had in Brazil is more golf-ball sized not baseball sized. You get several of them in an order. But, thanks as usual, rworange. You never disappoint. We're getting ready to book another trip to Rio and you have certainly gotten us in the mood :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: c oliver

        Yes, all of the other cheese bread I've had here is a little smaller than a golf ball. Maybe baseball is overstating things ... medium peach size? .. but it was at least twice as large as most.

        I imagine the Bay Area Brazilian restaurants wouldn't be as good as what you are used to in Brazil, given the limited availability of some ingredients. So you might be disappointed. There are two places right near the SF airport. I haven't had much from either, but Brazil Marin seems so much better.

        I forgot to post the hours for Brazil Marin ... music at 4:30 today (Friday).

        Closed Sunday
        Mon-Fri 10 – 7
        Sat 10 – 8

      2. Two of us went there today for a business lunch. We both had the buffet and didn't discuss the food very much except to say how much we enjoyed all the flavors. I can't add much to rw's postings except to say that the chicken was drumsticks (very flavorful and juicy) and the salsa fresca (my words, don't remember what they called it) had a very un-Mexican and wonderful flavor. It's obviously family run and all the people there were very friendly and gracious. I call this a great find and I'll definitely stop in some time for the live music on Friday (I think it starts at 4:30pm) and Saturday (see rw's first post).

        1. Monday I had a chance to dash into Brazil Marin on my way back to the City. On this scorcher of a day, the fresh-squeezed papaya and orange slushee was just the ticket. They're called smoothies on the menu, but don't include any dairy.

          Pao de queijo was indeed all that though considerably smaller than rworange's baseball size description. I had one while I was waiting for my beverage, and immediately bought more. These have a bit more cheese flavor and a moist and chewy, dense core surrounded by delicately crispy and light crust. They're imported frozen from Brazil and baked fresh several times a day.

          A long list of salgados here. Most are $4, rather than the $3 charged at other spots, but the coxinha was quite a bit larger too. And the most delicious to date, packed with tender white meat chicken in a chili-spiked creamy sauce with green olives, hearts of palm and cream cheese. The risoli filled with hearts of palm and cheese sauce was a new one for me and I'll be coming back here just to get that.

          Shaker bottles of the housemade hot sauce are on each table, and I filled a small container to take with me. This made the really great salgados even better. Very garlicky and a well-rounded chile base blended with olive oil, the owner puffed up with pride when I told him how much I liked it. I'll get more next time to slather on everything.

          Soccer coverage was up on the TV screen. This little piece of Brazil would be a great place to catch the next World Cup match.

          1. Brasil...if you really wanted to feel the local Brasilian cafe experience.Especialmente pra Copa di Mundo!