So two Saturdays ago we headed to the restaurant Fogo de Chao in downtown big city with some family. Yum. It’s a Brazilian steakhouse where, in essence, for one
low price you can eat as much meat on a spit as you can possibly force down your gullet.
It’s amazing. This was Shaun’s and my Valentine’s dinner since we will stay home with the girls for a family v-day meal on the 14th. Saturday, tho, it was sans kiddos. Fogo isn’t a kiddo kind of place. We were celebrating Rich and Mel moving into their first home in south big city metro.
|Rich paused to Tebow in their new kitchen|
|Nope, that's not wedding cake, it's Fogo's cheesy biscuits|
Fogo has a salad bar (also part of dinner) the likes of which you have never seen before, with asparagas spears, fresh marinated tomatoes (kinda like Joyce Tomatoes), unique cheeses, beet slices, salads (Mel’s and my fave is the apple-raisin salad, which we are going to try to re-create) and pickled veggies.
The key is you should only have a couple of bites off the salad bar so you can save room for the 16 different types of meat the roving gauchos will carve right onto your plate. We’re talking filet mignon served several ways (including bacon wrapped and garlic-pepper crusted), prime rib, chicken and sausages. You have to be prepared to tell the gauchos what how you like your beef: Shaun and I are ‘medium rare’ fans and Mel likes ‘as rare as you’ve got’.
Here’s where it gets fun. The service is amazing. All of the gauchos are native-speaking Brazilians (ie, they speak heavily accented English), wearing the poufed and pleated gaucho pants, boots, button-down shirts and red ascot scarves. When you are finished eating your salad, they will take your plate away and bring you a fresh plate, fork and steak knife. When your meat plates need to be changed out for fresh, they bring those too.
When you are ready, you turn your Fogo red-faced coaster over to green. And the gauchos will swarm you with their meat spits. You can pick whatever you want, however you want it done, and eat however much. When you need a break, you turn the coaster back to red. And you stop and go until you’re done. I was scared the first time I flipped my coaster to green since I knew the gauchos would swarm (even though it’s in a friendly, we’re-here-to-serve kinda way).
Of course since we were all meat eaters, there was a joviality at the table, and even competition among the men. Dad was kind of out of his league in the meat eating, though he clogged his arteries enough to be proud of. My step-brother, Dave, was a Fogo first-timer, so there was some competition among Rich, Shaun and him on who would eat the most meat. Being a proud wife, I’d say Shaun won. At any rate, Mel and I weren’t competing quite as much (though we did stuff our faces), so we focused on goading the men on.
We knew this dinner would be a blog post, so we documented the whole event. What would we do without camera phones? And we debated many ways to name the post. My fave won the actual title contest, which we laughed about a whole bunch since I was wearing my Bombshell Bra. We debated calling it ‘Bombshell #3: Meat’. We thought it would be a complete insult to ask for steak sauce with the brilliant Brazilian grill, so another contender was ‘Can I Have Some A-1 With That?’ And since Mom Connie only had the salad bar, not being up for meat fest, we considered calling the post ‘The Lone Wolf’ which is what Mel called her for not having meat at Fogo.
By the end of the evening, Shaun looked as though he was with child. Only he was ‘with meat’. It was kinda disgusting. I pretended to wipe meat sweats off of Shaun’s brow (which annoyed him but made Mel and me laugh) and Shaun balanced my caiparina cocktail on his belly like I did with bowls of cereal when I was preggers with the twins. It was gross, but I was wiping away tears of laughter at his expense anyway.
A note on the caiparina (pronounced kai-pa-reen-ya): it is a cocktail of rum, sugar and a load of mashed lime slices. And it’s amazing. And it cost ten clams. Good thing I’m a lightweight.
I fell into a meat coma and slept all night and most of Sunday. Shaun had a meat hangover and had less sleep owing to numerous trips to the bathroom as his body tried to process his carnivorous gluttony.
So Friends, I had date night with Shaun D and fam and it was great. I had to talk about it –and I have to say having our Valentine’s dinner with other people is totally fun. Whether it’s Fogo, White Castle or in-house Valentine’s dining, I hope yours are great.