Sunday, June 15, 2008

Food, mostly

I did go for that fondue dinner I mentioned and it was divine! The restaurant, Pub Olaria, was a great retreat on a late autumn day, with high ceilings, dark wood trim and exposed brick walls. I ordered the standard seqüência: the cheese course, the meat course, then the chocolate course. In general it was similar to the stateside arrangement, with a few exceptions that I really enjoyed.
First, along with the anticipated bread, the cheese fondue was served with boiled new potatoes. I’ve never seen such a thing, but what a delightful idea! Also, Alexandre set a small antipasti plate beside me with this garlic sauce that deserves mention. I had just observed how season and spice are frequently missing in these parts, so this almost-tzatziki concoction initiated a welcome evening of halitosis. Second, I opted for the healthier method to cook the meat course (of chicken and beef—I sent the lamb away knowing I was too full already) na pedra, or, on the stone. I chose this in order to go nuts with the chocolate fondue, but that might go without saying. I came to the educated conclusion that of the seven dip-able items, the banana and apple were my favorite.

I didn’t take any pictures of my dining experience, but the reporters did. That’s right, some local television news crew walked in mid-meal and started filming patrons, presumably for a “Great Spots for Lovers” piece for the rapidly approaching Dia dos Namorados (Brazil’s answer to Valentine’s Day). They filmed the poor couple that appeared to be on a stage-one date and definitely seemed a bit awkward. Then they filmed the gaggle of ladies out celebrating—before, reluctantly, approaching the last occupied table. I don’t think I fit well into their expose, so they avoided eye contact while I made funny faces at the camera to ensure that I’d later have to be edited out. Overall it was a delicious meal with wonderful ambiance. I think I’ll take myself back there for my birthday next month! I’m so good to me.

I did go out with the camera this week though. I took a few photos of the palace down the street—oh, I think I forgot to mention the palace. I get carried away with the Cathedral because it has a dome, I guess. Well, adjacent to the Catedral Metropolitana is Palácio Piratini, the seat of the state’s executive branch and site for banquets and balls for dignitaries and such. It’s a lovely building, and glimpses I’ve stolen at night into the well-lit halls make me want to go on a tour.

Frequently, the street in front of the palace is the stage for political protests and this past week was no different, since the governor’s cabinet is embroiled in another corruption scandal. But yesterday I stumbled on a movie crew, rather than representatives of the Worker’s Party. Neat.

"Winter" in the park...

…look! It’s green!
I went walking in the park with Victoria and her awesome dog, Veia, this week. I say that to lay the groundwork for my statement that I love dogs. I do. In fact I wish I was reliable enough to have my own. Good, glad you believe me. So I will be forgiven for wishing death upon the sindica’s hideous poodle with its ear-splitting bark and no redemptive personality traits that I can see.

Droga! Look what I found yesterday near my apartment.

I love that I’m still finding stuff, but this kind of stuff is sometimes better left unfound. And to make matters of self-restraint even worse, I spotted another Cenoura Pasteís inconveniently located in Centro today.

I have some futebol woes. Internacional has had an upsetting early June with the surprise departure of the coach and three star players (so far), Sidnei, Iarley, and my darling Fernandão. I’ll write more about this later because the situation brings to light an interesting cultural difference about uncertainty. But for now I have to get to my local lancheria, Alto Astral, for the Brasil x Paraguay game.


(Can anybody tell me why I have a dickens of a time with fonts and spacing in Blogger? ruff. [See? Love dogs. Even imitate them.])