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May 29, 2010 11:14 AM

Brazilian / Portuguese "quesadilla"?

A Brazilian student brought something to a potluck that he called a "quesadilla." It was a round cake, less than a half inch thick, brown, crisp around the edges, and topped with sesame seeds. Tasted like slightly sweet, cheesy cornbread. Reportedly the main ingredient was pancake mix. Anybody know what this is and where to get it around here?

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  1. If anyone would have it it would be Smart Coffee In Richmond

    Frankly I'm annoyed at the whole lot of you for not rushing over there ... and you call yourself Chowhounds.

    It does sounds exactly like a Guatemalan quesadilla

    Frankly I'm surprised about the rice flour in the recipe in the comments. The two Ihad in the Bay Area are corn based. C & W Market on MacDonald has the best I've tried. The Guatemalan bakery on 23rd in Richmond is good too, but not as good.

    Haven't tried it that I remember at the Guatemalan bakery on International in Oakland or the Guatemalan bakery on 24th in SF.

    The US follows Mexican Spanish naming conventions for the most part. When you get into other Latino countries, the same name might give you a totally different item.

    7 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      I'd never heard of this before I read about it years ago in Jonathan Gold's LA tome Counter Intelligence - sounds interesting:

      1. re: Spatlese

        It really is tasty. I'm not finding any references to Brazilian or Portuguese though and I haven't seen it in any Bay Area Brazilian Portuguese joints. That is why I suggested Smart Coffee because they do more than the Brazilian snacks most plaaces have. Samba Rooms in North Beach in SF would be the only other Brazilian bakery I could think of to ask. I haven't seen it any any of the South Bay Portuguese bakeries. There is a Portugese festa this weekend in Sausalito with bakeries from the North Bay participating . I am guessing that means 9 Islands. So you could ask there. I think though it is a Central American thing, mainly Salvadoran.

        I didn't have time to Google last night because my pc battery was low and the power was out due to the local volanco erupting, earthquakes and mainly Hurricane Agatha (three strikes in three days and the power is out ... death by volacano ... never contemplated that).

        Anyway Agatha has moved on and Pacaya is behaving so the power is on so I did some goggling ... "sesame seeds" and quesadilla worked

        Here's one recipe with a photo of Salvadorean quesadillas

        There's a nice photo here which sounds exactly like what Robert described, but it is a bit of a cutesy site ... be prepared for magic and fairy dust ... scroll down

        Here's a Hondura recipe

        Locally, SFfoodie has a write-up and photo about Rico Pan bakery having it

        Rico Pan sounds pretty fabulous in general. Here's what they have to say about the quesadilla ... mouth-watering photo as well

        "zero in the corner where the two cases meet for a tray of gold cakes, sprinkled with seeds ... When they're still warm from the oven (say, late morning), Rico Pan's quesadillas are buttery enough to crisp around the edges, and larded with pockets of soft, barely tangy cheese. There's no convincing yourself a quesadilla is a dainty snack, but the sweetness doesn't overpower, tempered as it is by the toasted sesame seeds on top. One last tip: If the quesadilla has been sitting around for a few hours, resist devouring the cake in the shop ― take it home to rewarm in the microwave for a few seconds. If the quesadilla is fresh, the odds of it making it 20 yards past Rico Pan's door are 50 to 1."

        See ... I knew Jonathan Kauffman could make it here in Central America if he wanted to come on down.

      2. re: rworange

        One other thing, a friend who had a taste of one of the leftover cakes said when she was a kid (late 70s?) her family would get them somewhere around Palo Alto, which makes me think they might be originally Portuguese, though these were Brazilian.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Well, if you go the Brazilian / Portuguese route, probably pronounce it kay - SHA -dee-ya ... or write the word down.

          Adding Portuguese and Brazilian to the Google search turned up nothing like what you describe.

          Yelp notes a place in Santa Clara that has them but it is Sabor Salvadoreno

          Seems like there is even the convenience store version

          The best looking recipe I found was in, of all places, the SF Chronicle

          Maybe the person who made this was Brazilian but somewhere along the line there was someone Central American in the family and it just got passed along as a family recipe.

          That is, of course, if all the photos and recipes seems to be what you ate. If not ... no sé.

            1. re: rworange

              I wonder if it's regional in brazil? I didn't see anything like this myself in Brazil or Portugal, but Brazil's a big, big place and I've seen only a small corner - Manaus.

          1. re: rworange

            i went, RW, to Smart Coffee, maybe right after you first posted. late afternoon, and there was not a lot already made, and i didn't want to make the guy fry up a bunch for me (i was taking it to go) and what there was was kind of dry and all tasted the same - speaking of the empanadas, mostly. i would go again, however . . .

            I've had the Guatemalan quesadilla from Evergreen market in the Mission, a couple of places there sell it. I didn't like it much - not very flavorful, and again, a bit dry. I fully agree it's probably nowhere near what it would be in Guatemala.

          2. You may be referring to a queijadinha.

            1 Reply
            1. Just an authenticity note about quesadillas. Nothing I've had in the Bay Area comes. close.

              I'm not sure how cheesy the quesadilla you tried was, but the real deal has the sharp bite of a Parmesan-like dry cheese from Zacapata. Also there's a special butter used called mantequilla de costal (sack butter)

              I had a quesadilla last week with Zacapata cheese. It was made by a cheese vendor who sold nothing but huge wheels of queso de Zacapata, queso de Jalapa, mantequilla de costal and the quesadillas. Even the Guatemalans who tried it were impressed and said it was one of the best they've ever tried.

              Anyway, the main point being, my recs for places in the Bay Area that sell it, probably wouldn't be a great match. If you are interested in making it yourself, this recipe in the comments of Antigua Daily Photo might be the best option. Too bad there's no local Zacapata cheese. Maybe I'll try to talk Cheeseboard or Cowgirl into buying some when I get home.