Ipanema

I know you've heard of Little Italy, but did you know there's a Little Brazil, too? In the heart of midtown, it's Brazilian/Portuguese food galore. What's Brazilian food you ask? It's basically a dream. Fried things. Cheese everywhere. Fried cheese. Coconuts. Meats on meats on meats. Need I say more? 

One standout place I visited in Little Brazil with authentic Brazilian cuisine was Ipanema. Like every lunch I go to, I started off with a nice cocktail. When in Little Brazil, order the Caipirinha. 

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When in Little Brazil (or literally anywhere else in the world) also order anything and everything fried or cheesy. In this case, we did croquettes and their pao de queijo (basically Portuguese for cheesy bread). This cheesy bread is the reason I now am a huge Portuguese cuisine fan. They were on this trend since day 1 and they should be recognized for that. I have no pics because it look just like bread and let's be real, that would probably bore you, but I can assure you that it's delicious and worth getting at least 2 baskets.

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Moving onto heavier things...let me introduce you to the Bitoque. This is a Portuguese culinary staple and another reason that I now am a huge Portuguese food fan. Bitoque is aged NY strip in a beer and garlic sauce topped with a fried egg and served with potatoes. If someone ever questions the theory that beer makes everything better, point them in the direction of the nearest Portuguese restaurant and give them Bitoque.

Moving on from the turf and taking you to the surf. Here's another super cool and delicious Portuguese dish: camurão no coco. This is sautéed shrimp in a creamy coconut sauce, served inside of a fresh water coconut. I don't know about you, but I always feel like my best self when I am eating or drinking something out of a coconut. It's just so tropical chic, right? 

On the other side of things, the grilled octopus may not be served in a fancy coconut but it stands out for it's tenderness and purity. You can tell this octopus was not only alive, probably yesterday, but that the ingredients used to cook it are of the utmost quality.  

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So next time Little Italy is over crowded with cannoli eaters, do something different and venture off to Little Brazil for an exciting date full of cheese, fried food, meat and fresh seafood.