Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mixing: Friends, Cocktails, Meat

The first matter of business is sending a big smooch to Thiera. She sent a birthday/care package that I had so much fun unwrapping. Among its contents were Jiffy pancake mix and Aunt Jemima syrup, which I will play with one of the coming Sundays, while mixing Bloody Marys with my Lea & Perrins worchestershire sauce. Mmm. Thanks for taking care of me, girl.I have been busy for days. In addition to the Sunday feeding frenzy (above), I attended not one but two parties on Saturday. First was a small family affair to celebrate Carlos’ birthday. It was another “first” for me—having a homemade churrasco with Carlos’ mother, brother, and cousin. Now, Carlos emigrated to Holland when he was just 18, so he’s having a bit of a renaissance now, learning the techniques of a good gaúcho.

After lighting the coals in the
churrasqueira on the balcony, you skewer the meat. Leonardo speared the chicken…

…and Carlos arranged the coração de frango (chicken hearts, which were, incidentally, the best I’ve ever had).

While Carlos and Leonardo tended to the churrasco, I felt proud to, under the supervision of his mother, prepare the

THIS is the real thing, people, and I hope someday I have a balcony with my very own churrasqueira.

It’s such a nice part of the gaúcho culture—having close friends and family over on a Sunday to enjoy a leisurely afternoon, some drinks, great conversation, and a fantastic spread. I got by with my broken Portuguese, learned how to make fresh mayonnaise (not that I ever will), and learned the best brand of
farofa to dip the meat in. It was really nice of Carlos and Clair to invite me and I had a great time.

I had to run out, though, just after dinner to get to Stephanie’s apartment for Jennifer’s birthday party. It’s a good thing Stephanie’s place is huge because there were forty or fifty people there—not bad for a couple of “new girls!” It's no wonder, Jennifer has personality to spare...

area de serviço (the laundry room) made an excellent bar, where Aussie Lisa and I made ourselves quite...comfortable.

Our gracious hostess Stephanie (left), a name I forgot, Adriane, and Adam (right—a North Carolina native who is, interestingly, working here as a soccer talent scout. He’s like Jerry Maguire, but way more likable than Tom Cruise.)

Stephanie’s super cool pooch, Jackie, on vacuum duty.

I left my apartment at 8:15 Saturday morning (after getting home late from Friday Happy Hour, mind you) and didn’t get back until 3:30am Sunday. Add to that the Sunday protein festival and you can see why I was wrecked last night. But I had a lot of fun.

Lots of stuff on the calendar this week – stay tuned…