The Batataria, a.k.a Not an Atkins-friendly restaurant.

9 08 2006

Since I have been here, I have heard Josh talk about potatoes. Aparently there are some pretty good potatoes here. So last night, Kendra, Josh, Mandy, and I went to eat them. We walked from Cambuí almost all the way to Saõ Paulo, or so it felt, and when we arrived, we got a menu of potatoes.

The potatoes at the batataria are served hash-brown style and then stuffed or mixed with anything and everything. So it´s not like I was just showing up for a plate of Yukon Golds or anything. There were probably forty different things these potatoes could be stuffed with.

My friends got chicken curry potatoes, stroganoff potatoes, and some other meat and potatoes. I got pizza and potatoes. It was mixed with mozzarella, oregano, ham, and tomatoes. I love those flavors, except the ham part, but I thought I would give it a try.

It just tasted like a gigantic breakfast, except it was a breakfast with only hashbrowns. My friends´potatoes tasted SO much better. I should have gotten a different flavor. After my long day yesterday I wanted more than the equivalent of nine McDonald´s hashbrowns smushed together.

While looking over the menu, I noticed the side dishes. Would you believe that at a batataria, a place where their entrees are made entirely out of potatoes, they actually have side orders of more potatoes? And they´re called batata frita. Fried potatoes. I could imagine what it would sound like ordering a starter and an entree:

´´Yes, please. I´ll start with the fried potatoes, and then for my entree, I will have the exact same thing, only this time with meat.´´

Regardless of the fact that I had breakfast for dinner–but only the starch part of breakfast–it was a good time. We laughed and laughed all night, made fun of Josh (which is inevitable when there are three girls and one guy) and had a long walk back through Cambuí. I found a mother cat with three small kittens crossing my street, but they rushed back through the gate when we walked by. I miss my cats so much and thought of kidnapping one of the kittens, but couldn´t bring myself to do it because the mom was right there and that´s cruel. And maybe they belonged to someone already, so I would be stealing. I was worried they wouldn´t be safe crossing the road, so I waited and watched them to make sure they would be okay. Later, Josh said the kittens had probably been run over by a crazy driver and he would find one of their heads and throw it up onto my porch with the blood and brain oozing out. I don´t appreciate his sense of humor.

 We did talk a lot about being in Brazil, though. Josh was telling me about all these beautiful places around the country and I kept repeating, “I am in Brazil!“ Josh speaks with such passion and reverence for this place and it is infectious. So on the way back from caipirinhas after potatoes, his energy and love for this country got me thinking about all the places I want to see and explore. Next month, we have a four-day weekend. He is going to help me find a place to stay in Rio. Rio! I can just pick up and go to Rio! I am in Brazil!!

This morning, in the span of three seconds, I saw and heard: a parrot or some other talking beautiful bird, techno music outside of the bread store I go to for coffee and paõ de queijo, and saw a man in a horse-drawn wagon riding up the street toward school. I swear I could have been in the Andes with Juan Valdez himself had it not been for the Fiats and BMWs driving by. And for all of the other 21st century things too. It was an anachronism personified in the tropics.  I am in Brazil.

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One response

10 08 2006
Candy

Gina,
I am savoring your introduction to a new country, new friends, new life. Your embrace of everything new and eagerness to jump in is a great jolt for those of us who follow the same path every day. Was I ever young enough to take the chance to speak a new language, badly, to native speakers? To be undaunted by distance? To acquire a dozen new friends in the space of two weeks?
Whatever you do, don’t stop writing.

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