By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Foreigners will quickly realize that Brazil traditionally does breakfast a little different, with a standard and somewhat basic “café da manhã.” Now, recent creations found on the breakfast menus at the Gringo Café and Azteka are offering some of the tastes and variety of home in Ipanema.
Known for all-American cuisine, Sam Flowers, American expatriate and owner of Gringo Café, has built up a solid reputation and a loyal clientele who enjoy breakfasts; pancakes, waffles, eggs and fixings on a regular basis.
Now, Flowers has added a new American breakfast staple to his menu with freshly baked bagels, toasted and served with cream cheese or lox (thinly- sliced salmon).
He explains, “The bagel is to Americans what the croissant is to the French, but the process of making them is very specific in order to achieve a real American bagel.”
With a complicated baking method it often takes almost a whole day to prepare the bagels, yet, according to Flowers, the effort is definitely worth it. He says, “The reception has been very positive. When we first tried them out we announced the bagels on our facebook page. They had sold out within two days.”
New York native Scott Feiner, a musician who has lived in Rio for ten years, tried the Gringo Café bagel on Sunday and told The Rio Times his reaction: “totally surprised [to find it on the menu] and happy to see it. Would definitely go back for another.”
Luckily the Gringo Café serves breakfast all day every day, so one doesn’t have to be an early riser to enjoy the great food. Combinations like the ‘Farmhouse’ (eggs, hash browns, bacon or sausage and biscuit or toast – or add the bagel separately), can be enjoyed along with a Bloody Mary or Mimosa.
Elsewhere a breakfast of a different kind has been drawing customers to Azteka for its imaginative Mexican brunch. The weekend brunch menu runs from 12PM until 4PM and has already proved a big hit with diners.
Expatriate owner Aglika Angelova describes, “Brunch seems to be a fairly new concept here but it works really well because Brazilians like to eat late and it attracts a nice mixed crowd on the weekends.”
The mouthwatering menu consists of a wide selection including a breakfast burrito, and eggs with homemade guacamole and feijão. Furthermore, not only is the food delicious, it is also healthy. Angelova sources only natural and organic ingredients such as organic eggs bought at local markets.
Pleased with the response, Angelova explains the process of creating the breakfast menu, adding, “It took about a month to form the menu and we spent a lot of time testing out dishes and making changes here and there.”
She continues, “So much consideration is required because you need to make sure ingredients are available and think about whether people will respond well to the dishes.”
American expatriate Mike Smith, who has lived in Rio for over four years described; “Azteka’s food is first class authentic Mexican, and the Huevos Rancheros was so full of flavor, I didn’t want to eat anything else for hours and lose the taste in my mouth.”
So as winter draws in and the mornings seem cooler why not head out and enjoy a delicious authentic American or Mexican breakfast to kick start the day.