Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sau Paulo's Restaurant - Austin, Texas

Ad for a local market

 This past weekend found us in Austin again. No BBQ stops this time but we did stop in for dinner at a favorite of ours. 

While we were there we got talking with our waiter and the conversation turned to authenticity and Brazilian food in general. Our server, I can't believe I didn't get his name, had just come back from a trip home to Brazil visiting family. I noted that we wished Fogo served feijoada (fesh-wah-duh) and he promptly told us about a Brazilian restaurant in town that did serve it and also something called coxinha (co-shee-nya) and did we know about coxinha? Umm no. He said that they would be hard to explain and what we needed to do was give them a try. 

Which is how we wound up at Sao Paulo's the next day.

Sao Paulo's is a Brazilian restaurant but not a churrascaria. That is to say it is nothing like Fogo or any of it's kin. The menu at Sao Paulo's gives a nod to the local Tex-Mex cuisine and also has a burger and a few sandwiches listed. We were there for two things: the feijoada and the coxinha. We looked over the menu for one other entree to add and we ordered the Galinhada which is a Brazilian take on paella. 

First up were the coxinha. These are pear shaped fritters made of cornmeal that are stuffed with different things.We had some that were stuffed with spicy chicken and a type of cream cheese. Very flavorful. We really liked this dish and could honestly eat these by the dozen.


Sorry about the photo but this was the best shot of the stuffing in the coxinha
 Next up that delicious stew. Feijoada is a black bean stew made with various meats. It's served with rice, greens and farofa as accompaniments. 

The first time I had this dish was at a small churrascaria in Sioux Falls, SD of all places. It was love at first bite. While most of the Brazilian steakhouses we've been to have black beans on the menu very few of them have this lovely stew. Because it's so hard to find on any menu I learned how to make it myself. Definitely worth doing. The feijoada at Sau Paulo is perfection. Hearty, full of deep rich flavor, pure comfort in a bowl. The perfect antidote for a cold winters day.

Next up was the galinhada, a one pot rice dish similar to paella. The rice and shrimp were perfectly cooked and the saffron struck just the right note.  This was a lovely plate of food but with so many choices we'll try one of the other entrees if we get back here.

Galinhada - Jasmine rice seasoned with saffron, onion, cilantro, tomatoes and mushrooms with shrimp
But I'll definitely get the feijoada and the coxinhas. Everything else will have to fight for a place on the table. 

The Austin area may be well known for barbeque but don't be fooled. Hidden gems like Sao Paulo's are out there waiting to be discovered. If you're at all interested in Brazilian food outside of their steakhouses give this place a try. You'll find a lot to love.

On another note we came across this while we were out walking the dog...

 A free public solar powered charging  station. You can charge up a cellphone, tablet or what have you. How cool is that? And what a great idea.
So that was the weekend. We had a great time walking around the city and eating some good food. If you're looking for a unique experience give Austin a try. It's a great city served with a big dollop of fun and a side of weird. Just perfect if you ask us. 

Happy travels!


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