Best Feijoada in Somerville/E. Cambridge?
Any hints, hounds? I've heard that many of the Brazilian places do feijoada on Saturdays... who has it best? Anywhere that has a good rendition on the daily menu?
it's not in the area and i haven't had it in years but i used to like the feijoada at cafe brazil on cambridge street in allston
I haven't really searched for the perfect feijoada, certainly at least not recently. Its easy enough to make at home and you can make a much more interesting version than restaurants serve. Even though it usues primarily variety meats, here in the US the ingredients are specialty meats so command a minor premium and most restaurants use the minimum. Its nice to make a bang up version if you have 15 people to help put a dent in your feijoada and a restaurant is convenient because you don't end up making a 6 month supply.
For a 'feijoada completa' served the way it is in Brazil with each of the side dishes, Cafe Brazil in Allston does a good job and I believe they still offer it Friday and Saturday (with live music those nights). Muqueca in Cambridge also did an a la carte version, but I have only had that delivered, as does Oasis in Medford -- which used to be decent, although they have moved their focus from a la carte items. Both offer it on Saturdays as far as I know, but my preference would be to Cafe Brazil.
There are some decent buffet renditions and you can find the sides on the bufett for the most part, Gauchão in East Somerville does a good version. There if you want a fixed-price takeout "marmitex" you have to let the staff put it together but its less expensive. If you eat in or do per-lb takeout you can select the meats yourself. In either case you should pay _less_ if you aren't having churrasco with it as they have two price rates with grilled meats and w/o. If Oliveira's has opened on Cambridge Street near Cardinal Medeiros that might be worth checking out for another buffet option -- I have enjoyed the feijoada from the Everett Oliveira's, but the two have different owners from the same family. Zona Sul (Cafe Belo) in Somerville is under new management, but I can't say whether that means an improvement in the food.
The only place I can think which might offer feijoada during the week is Tropical Cafe in Marlborough/Framingham. They are one of a few snack bar/restaurants which specialize in soups, but the others ones I know don't offer it every day (eg Petiscos in Somerville). The reason why its hard is it has a lot of specialty ingredients and isn't something you make to order, but perhaps more important its a heavy meal and not an everyday plate you eat and then go hang drywall. (When served other days its probably frozen and reheated to order like many 'caldos' which is fine although since you can get feijoada freshly made....)
If you are going to make it on your own, its most convenient to go to a decent Brazilian butcher. I like Açougue Brasil on Middlesex in Medford, but Casa de Carnes Solução in Somerville also works (usually a bit more expensive and not as much selection). For a small amount you can get a pre-packaged "kit de feijoada" but I am not about making small amounts. None of the butchers have the range of salted meats that you can get in Brazil (and no smoked meats outside sausage), but should have something salted, the offal, plus paio (a lean cured and smoked portuguese sausage -- if you can't get it portugese salpicao although not as lean is a decent substitute), other sausages, carne de sol (get "de segunda" or the tougher meats), spare ribs cut flanken style, slab bacon, etc. Places like McKinnon's sell fresh pork hocks inexpensively, which I like to add too -- if possible have them split and/or cut in half. You can also salt your own pork tails, ears, feet -- make sure you use very coarse salt (brazilian churrasco salt is good), cover both sides very well, salt over night and then wash you will need to boil them still before using. And get some nice bay leaves.
If you wanted to order ahead and be able to influence the choice of meats Cake and CIA in Everett (the former owners of Bahia Grill in Somerville) do mostly catering and are flexible, but I don't know how much English they speak. For catered food, its sold by the size of the tray (1/4, 1/2) and Oasis also does a lot of catered options, although I have had very mixed luck with them for catering -- Brazil on Ferry in Everett might be a better second alternative for catering and in the past would deliver to Somerville (I think even for about $10 of feijoada). Acougue Brazil in Medford will also cater some items, although I would stick more to meats (roasted, 'pernil','stuffed pork loin, roasting/sucking pig -- might need more notice than this weekend). Midwest Grill will also roast meats to order and over charcoal (will do suckling pig, but it maybe pricey unless you arrange to buy one and pay them to cook).
1010 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
421 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134
751 Broadway, Everett, MA 02149