By Marilyn Diggs
July 21, 2015

The joke in Rio is that restaurants replace beaches for entertainment in São Paulo. Its true. Brazils gastronomical capital keeps restaurateurs competitive, resulting in culinary experiences to be savored.

The variety of restaurants in São Paulo is mind-boggling! Here are a few of my favorites.

Brasil a Gosto.

Take a gastronomic journey throughout Brazil without leaving the table. Dine in this two-story home-turned-restaurant, surrounded by Brazilian folk art and nave paintings. Chef and owner/chef Ana Luiza Trajano taps into the soul of Brazil through reinvented regional dishes that she personally researches. Brazil has very distinctive regional cooking, which makes for a not-soon-to-be-forgotten tasting menu featuring different localities. Exotic tropical fruit juices compliment the delectable degustation menu that changes monthly. Rua Professor Azevedo do Amaral, 70. Jardim Paulista. Tel: 3086-3565. www.brasilagosto.com.br


Don Curro is the best Spanish restaurant in town. Treat yourself to its award-winning paella, made from secret recipes brought from the Spanish Royal Palace where the first cook once worked. Enjoy a variety of savory seafood options, sangria, Spanish appetizers and desserts. The owner, a former bullfighter, moved here in 1958 and opened this popular restaurant with a toreador theme. Edilson Melo, on the premises 31 years, supervises the impeccable service. Rua Alves Guimares 230. Jardim Paulista. Tel: 3062-4712. www.restaurantedoncurro.com.br

P.F. Chang’s is a dining experience you won’t soon forget. Although one of the biggest Asian restaurant chains in the world, the focus is on excellence. Its cuisine is innovative with fresh ingredients and first-rate quality. Traditional wok cooking seals in flavor and keeps veggies crunchy. Mostly Chinese, the menu also sports its neighboring countries’ delicacies. Save room for the banana spring rolls dessert. Chinese paintings and Xi’an statues combine with contemporary dcor. Av. Pres. Juscelino Kubitschek, 627. Vila Nova Conceio. Tel: 3044-0571.www.pfchangs.com

NB Steak. Brazil is famous for its steakhouses, or churrascarias where waiters continually circulate and slice skewered meat directly onto your plate. NB takes that experience to the next level. In this gourmet steakhouse, waiters still circulate but only offer a top quality bill of fare. The salad choices and garnishes are limited, but top-notch. Here the gaucho barbeques experience has been refined and redefined inside a contemporary, clean decr. There are three locations in São Paulo, all maintaining the high quality of food, coupled with superb service which has earned this restaurant countless awards.www.nbsteak.com.br

Charles Edward Bar shows how delicious dishes can be found where you least expect them! This bar combines the names of famed Englishmen Charles Miller and his partner Edward Goddard. Miller is accredited with bringing soccer to Brazil! Partake of brew and spirits in a charming pub, specializing in imported beer and whiskey. Traditional appetizers combine with sophisticated dishes. Live entertainment performs nightly. Dance the night away. Loud, crowded and fun. Rua Mariti (corner of Av. Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek, 1400 T – 1) . Tel: 3078-5022/ 3079-2804. www.barcharles.com.br

Marilyn Diggs is an American living in Brazil for over twenty-five years. She is a freelance writer, artist, lecturer and author of nine books – two about Brazilian art history. As an art reporter and travel writer she has two monthly columns in Sunday News, Brazil’s English language newspaper that circulates in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. She has written for the Miami Herald, UNESCO’s Museum International and several in-flight magazines. Marilyn has a degree in Latin American Studies and is often contracted by intercultural training services to give talks on expat challenges. www.mdiggs.com

Previous articles by Marilyn:

Brazil: Nature and Culture Combine in One Delightful Spot
Beautiful Meets Bizarre in Brazilian Swamps
Brazil: Head for the Hills for an Authentic Festa Junina
Fazenda Capoava: Tourism – Brazilian Style
Dune Walk in Northeastern Brazil
Everythings Coming Up Roses in Holambra, the City of Flowers
Around Brazil: Embu Das Artes – History, Headdresses and Handicrafts
Full Steam Ahead! Chilean Vineyards by Train
A Trip to Easter Island: Beyond the Obvious
Atacama Desert, Chile – I Came, I Saw, I Explored
Journey through the Fjords of Patagonia
Around Brazil: Jap Mountains, When Nature Calls
Around Brazil: Living the Amazon
Brazil: A Spa that Takes Care of Body and Soul
Around South America: Puyuhuapi – Chiles Patagonian Secret
Around South America: Looking for Adventure in Chiles Patagonia
Around South America: Road Trip through a Forgotten Land – Aisn, Chile
Conquering Cape Horn
Around Brazil: Hang-Gliding Over Rio
Around Brazil: Sailing in Paraty
Santiago: Gateway to the Chilean Experience
The Enchanting Easter Island
Nature and Nurturing in Chile’s Lake Region
Chilean Patagonia: Going to the Ends of the Earth
Around Brazil: Adventure in the Pantanal and Bonito Part 2
Around Brazil: Adventure in the Pantanal and Bonito Part 1
Spending the Night in the Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu
Brazil: Happy Moonlit Trails To You
Brazil: Paradise Found – Fernando de Noronha

By Marilyn Diggs
July 21, 2015

View works of art, listen to classical music concerts, attend cultural lectures and drink tea in one lush and peaceful setting. Sounds too good to be true? It all happens at the Maria Luisa and Oscar Americano Foundation, in São Paulo.

In Honor of his Wife
The spacious home built in the 1950s was the country residence of Oscar Americano de Caldas Filho and his family. As a civil engineer he made his fortune by founding and directing a company that constructed many public works and buildings. When his wife Maria died, Oscar left his home as a museum in her memory. It was his way of thanking São Paulo for his prosperity. Thus, the 75,000-square-meters of woods and 2,500-square-meter house became a park and museum displaying paintings, rugs, furniture, objets d’art and commemorative memorabilia from Brazilian history. After the museum opened in 1974, new donations, mostly from the couple’s children, were added.

Seeing Eye to Eye – the Portrait Gallery
Visitors can’t help but be impressed as they enter the house and see two giant tapestries woven in 1768 by Globelins in France. Their former owner was British poet and writer, Lord Byron. Their theme is the New World, an appropriate introduction to the Brazilian artwork and furniture showcased in the museum’s collection.

Continue walking to see paintings and objects from the colonial time, Imperial Period (1823-1889) and the Old Republican Era (1898-1930). Explanations are in English as well as Portuguese. An important collection of paintings by the Dutch painter Frans Post (1612-1680) hangs in the dining room. The 24-year-old artist was enchanted by Brazil and remained 30 years. His somber colonial landscapes were painted in the dark European colors instead of tropical ones, and maintain the popular composition of his time – sky and land. Since Post was not a prolific painter, this museum’s collection has a significant sampling.

Portraits of Brazilian royalty are extensive. Princess Leopoldina as a child caresses a parrot, and baby Prince Dom Alfonso nestles in from a carriage window with a view of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian modern art is scarce but well represented by Portinari, Di Cavalcanti and Lasar Segall. These three were instrumental in changing the direction of Brazilian art during the early part of this century.

Toothpicks and Tea
The collection of porcelain and china includes lovely pieces from the Dutch East India Company and Delft China. Empress Maria Leopoldina’s 98 plates are each painted with a different flower motif. Dancing animals, cupids, birds and much more decorate the curious collection of elaborate sterling silver toothpick holders.

After your visit, relax in the charming tea room where you will be served a traditional high tea, Brazilian style. Light meals are available too.

Be sure to ask for the concert schedule for the season.

Here is an excellent opportunity to learn about Brazilian heritage through a wide range of objects and cultural experiences.

Fundao Maria Luisa e Oscar Americano. Av. Morumbi 3700. Tel: 3742-0077.

Marilyn Diggs is an American living in Brazil for over twenty-five years. She is a freelance writer, artist, lecturer and author of nine books – two about Brazilian art history. As an art reporter and travel writer she has two monthly columns in Sunday News, Brazil’s English language newspaper that circulates in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. She has written for the Miami Herald, UNESCO’s Museum International and several in-flight magazines. Marilyn has a degree in Latin American Studies and is often contracted by intercultural training services to give talks on expat challenges. www.mdiggs.com

Previous articles by Marilyn:

Beautiful Meets Bizarre in Brazilian Swamps
Brazil: Head for the Hills for an Authentic Festa Junina
Fazenda Capoava: Tourism – Brazilian Style
Dune Walk in Northeastern Brazil
Everythings Coming Up Roses in Holambra, the City of Flowers
Around Brazil: Embu Das Artes – History, Headdresses and Handicrafts
Full Steam Ahead! Chilean Vineyards by Train
A Trip to Easter Island: Beyond the Obvious
Atacama Desert, Chile – I Came, I Saw, I Explored
Journey through the Fjords of Patagonia
Around Brazil: Jap Mountains, When Nature Calls
Around Brazil: Living the Amazon
Brazil: A Spa that Takes Care of Body and Soul
Around South America: Puyuhuapi – Chiles Patagonian Secret
Around South America: Looking for Adventure in Chiles Patagonia
Around South America: Road Trip through a Forgotten Land – Aisn, Chile
Conquering Cape Horn
Around Brazil: Hang-Gliding Over Rio
Around Brazil: Sailing in Paraty
Santiago: Gateway to the Chilean Experience
The Enchanting Easter Island
Nature and Nurturing in Chile’s Lake Region
Chilean Patagonia: Going to the Ends of the Earth
Around Brazil: Adventure in the Pantanal and Bonito Part 2
Around Brazil: Adventure in the Pantanal and Bonito Part 1
Spending the Night in the Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu
Brazil: Happy Moonlit Trails To You
Brazil: Paradise Found – Fernando de Noronha

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
July 21, 2015

Brazilian Portuguese is a curious language, being a mix of traditional Portuguese and the indigenous languages of Brazil. In the hands of Brazilians, it can take some creative turns, as expressions emerge from the daily use of language. Below, we have compiled 16 of those expressions, some unique to Brazil.

1. Abotoar o palet (To button up the blazer):Despite what it sounds like, this expression has nothing to do with clothing. It is a euphemism for dying.
2. Jogar verde para colher maduro (Throwing the green fruit to pick it ripe): This is another expression you won’t hear anywhere else. It means hinting that you know something which you suspect is true in an attempt to make another person admit it.
3. Encher a linguia (To fill the sausage): You know when you have to write an essay, and after you said everything you had to say you start writing anything just to get to the minimum number of words required? In Brazil this is known as filling the sausage.
4. De cavalo dado no se olha os dentes (You don’t look at the teeth of a horse someone gave you): If you haven’t guessed what this expressions refers to, it is about gratitude. Brazilians say that when others complain about a received gift, or they will say it when they have received a bad gift, implying that it wouldn’t be proper to complain.
5. Baixa a bola (Lower the ball): If someone is acting too cocky or arrogant, he might be told to lower the ball. In English, the equivalent expression might be "slow your roll".
6. Viajar na maionese (To travel in the mayonnaise): This is probably one of the funniest expressions Brazilians use. To say someone is travelling in the mayonnaise means that the person referred to is talking nonsense.
7. Puxar o saco (To pull the sack): Brazilians are not bootlickers or ass kissers, but they can be sack pullers.
8. Catar coquinho (To pick "coquinhos"): Coquinhos are small orange fruits that resemble cononuts. But when someone tells you to go pick coquinhos, that person is basically telling you to get lost.
9. Tempestade em copo d’agua (A storm inside a glass of water): When someone is blowing an issue out of proportion, you tell that person to stop making a storm inside a glass of water.
10. Cara de pau (Stick face): People in Brazil are not shameless. They simply have stick faces.
11. Que brisa (What a breeze): Because in Brazil things are not "trippy", they are a breeze.
12. Pisar na bola (To step on the ball): When someone messes up something, Brazilians call it "stepping on the ball"
13. Onde o Judas perdeu as botas (Where Judas lost his boots): This curious expression is used to refer to a remote place.
14. Engolir sapo (Swallowing the frog): Sometimes in life, you have to swallow your pride and and hear some things that you don’t want to hear. In Brazil, this is called swallowing the frog.
15. Fogo no rabo (Fire in the tail): When a Brazilian is really restless, he has fire in his tail.
16. Mais perdido que cego em tiroteio (More lost than a blind man in a gunfight): When someone is really lost and clueless, Brazilians will say he is more lost than a blind man in a gunfight.

You can contact Pedro via pedro@gringoes.com

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
July 21, 2015

When people think about partying in Brazil, scenes from carnival are the first thing that come to mind. But what many dont know, is that Brazil has one of the strongest EDM scenes in the world, with plenty of clubs and festivals for enthusiasts to enjoy. Below, we have compiled some of the best EDM festivals in Brazil for you to enjoy.

Tomorrowland Brasil
The largest EDM festival in the world has finally arrived at Brazil. Founded in 2005 in the Town of Boom, located in Belgium, the yearly festival started expanding to other continents when it launched its North American version called Tomorroworld in 2013. On July 2014, the festival announced it would launch its Brazilian version named Tomorrowland Brasil, which had its first edition take place the 1st to the 3rd of May of 2015 in the city of Itu, located in the state of São Paulo.

The festival was a huge success, with 180,000 people gathering to see a whos who list of EDM powerhouse DJs such as Alok, David Guetta, Jamie Jones and Kolombo. The attractions of the festival go way beyond the music. During the days it takes place, a fantasy world is created for festivalgoers to immerse themselves in, with amazing sceneries complete with actors dressed as mythical creatures and artistic performances and pyrotechnics taking place during the concerts. There is also a camping area called DreamVille where people can lodge in comfy tents, with its own party known as “The Gathering”, that takes place the day before the festival starts. As if this wasnt enough, the festivals offers a wide variety of foods from all over the world, made by internationally acclaimed chefs.

Tickets cost from R$199.50 to R$1,899.00. Despite the high prices tickets sell out in a few hours, so potential visitors should enter the waiting line for tickets at the official website (www.tomorrowlandbrasil.com) if they want to have a good chance at getting tickets. Yet, this once in a lifetime experience is worth every penny, and should be experienced at least once by EDM enthusiasts.

Universo Paralelo
At the end of every second year, the Paringui Beach in the state of Bahia is graced with Universo Paralello, a cultural festival that reunites people from all over the world to celebrate culture, arts and music. The Patingui beach has more than 30km of coast, displaying a dazzling beauty that makes it a perfect place for such an event. The area offers a camping site, bathrooms, a pharmacy, bins for dry and organic trash, showers, a food shop, a community kitchen and an open fair that sells a variety of goods such as clothes and decoration items. 28km away from the beach is the city of Ituber, where one can find gas stations, supermarkets, banks and hospitals among other services which are not be be found in the festival site.

During 9 days, around 20,000 people gather there to appreciate the festival, which displays some of the best names in the national and international EDM scene. DJs such as Rica Amaral, Neelix, Avalon and Captain Hook have already graced the festival, which is divided into 5 different stages. Although many fans go there for its array of EDM concerts, the festival also offers concerts of a wide variety of musical styles such as rap, reggae, funk and jazz music.

Apart from the music, there are many activities that take place during the festival. There are talks, workshops, shamanic ceremonies and many others, most of which take place in the “Arena Circulou” and the “Tenda de Cura” (healing tent). These activities offer a great opportunity for cultural exchange, and greatly enhance the overall festival experience. Tickets for the festival range between R$460 to R$590, and can be bought at the festivals website at the following address: www.universoparalello.org.

You can contact Pedro via pedro@gringoes.com.

Previous articles by Pedro:

6 Common Mistakes Foreigners Make Trying to Speak Portuguese in Brazil
Brazil: 10 Hiking Trails for Nature Lovers in the State of São Paulo – Part 1