Thursday, December 12, 2013

Checked In: Oke Ka Baiana Tem

There's a beautiful neighborhood near us called Lagoa or the lake. It's massive and you can run or bike around the thing, SUP night or day, and catch live events during the week. Our first week in Rio we went to see Branford Marsalis play a free concert at the outdoor amphitheater.

Our friend Charlie recommended we go check out this Baian restaurant called Oke Ka Baiana Tem in Lagoa and so we went on a date. It was such a nice evening, the weather had cooled down and there was a beautiful thunderstorm happening in the clouds.

Lagao and Christ

The restaurant is open air, with dirt grounds and white fabric draping all around. They had great wooden tables out front perfect for snacks and cocktails underneath the stars, but we decided to sit inside. We started off with pastel de camarao, fried savory pastries stuffed with shrimp and a yummy sauce. Pastels are everywhere and every place does them differently. These were fantastic because they had a lovely spice to them that is typical of Northern Brazilian food. In general the food in Rio is not heavily spiced, they don't use a lot of herbs or fiery chillies in their food.

We heard great things about the moqueca, a fish stew made with coconut milk and palm oil, but for some crazy reason that night I was really craving pasta. Massas are very popular in Rio and you'll find it on almost every menu. Our waiter recommended the special pesto pasta with it's own Baian twist. It was delicious and very different, they used cashew nuts in the sauce and it really came through.

We had a wonderful evening and I would love to go back and try some of the other dishes. That night we finally got to see the Rio Christmas tree, which floats around on the lagoa and changes colors as it moves around. The only strange thing is even with all the decorations on the streets and in every building, it just doesn't feel like the holidays. Hub says you can't have Christmas in a hot country and we are heading to the states on Monday, so we'll be feeling the cold very very soon. I'm actually looking forward to some crisp cold weather, but maybe I'll change my mind once I feel the bite.

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