By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – People from all around the world have been mourning the death of chef, writer and self-described ‘enthusiast’ Anthony Bourdain. He left his mark on innumerable places and Rio is no different. To celebrate his memory, here is how to experience the Cidade Maravilhosa as Anthony Bourdain did.
Barraca do Uruguai (Ipanema)
The first stop on any Anthony Bourdain tour of Rio is the ‘Barraca do Uruguai’ (Uruguayan Hut) in Ipanema. One of the oldest and most traditional of all the ‘Barracas’ or huts on Ipanema beach, they have built their reputation on serving pork sandwiches that are, in the words of Anthony Bourdain, “so good, they are burned into my brain.”
Dona Glória, the owner, commented on the passing of Bourdain, “It’s very sad, we heard the news. He came here two times. Once, just as a regular guy exploring the beach. He tried our sandwich and liked it so much that he returned with his crew. We’re all very sad.”
Bar Urca (Urca)
Another essential stop is in the sleepy residential neighborhood of Urca, where customers of Bar Urca sit on its famous wall to watch the sunset, eat snacks and have that all important cold beer. While sitting on this wall, he mentioned, “one cannot possibly overemphasize the importance of cold beer.”
Barraca Nordestina (Rocinha)
The largest favela community in Rio is also home to culinary treasures, such as the ‘Barraca Nordestina,’ which Anthony visited with Paulo Amendoim, a local tour guide who still operates in the area.
When asked about Anthony Bourdain, Mr. Amendoim said, “Anthony Bourdain was a wonderful guy. He did a very important job. We kept in touch and remained friends.”
He added, “I always had a dream of doing a documentary about Rocinha. I took it to the government but they weren’t interested in it. So Anthony Bourdain brought my vision to life and showed Rocinha to the world.”
Adega Cesari (Benefica)
In the spirit of down-to-earth good food, Anthony Bourdain wasn’t afraid to venture into Rio’s underrated Zona Norte (North Zone) to one of the country’s best food markets, CADEG.
He took his wife to Adega Cesari, a restaurant within the market, to sample some of the city’s finest churrasco (Brazilian barbecue).
Galeto SAT’S (Copacabana)
While visiting Rio, Anthony also stopped by Galeto SAT’S in Copacabana to dine on its legendary barbecued galeto (baby chicken).
The place is still much the same, with its high turnover serving customers round the clock. As Danni Camilo, local chef, told him, “if you walk in here at like, four in the morning, everyone is eating chicken.”
They now have a signed picture hanging near the spot where Anthony Bourdain enjoyed their galeto, brocolli rice, potato chips and farofa as well as a few of their wide variety of cachaças.
Armazém São Thiago/Bar do Gomes (Santa Teresa)
For the last stop, it has to be Santa Teresa, which Anthony Bourdain called, “the most magical neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.”
Local chef Danni took him to her favorite bar, Armazém São Thiago, or ‘Bar do Gomes’ as it’s more commonly known, where they enjoyed the ice-cold chopp beer that is the boteco’s staple along with some of its bar food, such as carne seca (dried meat), bolinho do bacalhau (small fried balls of potato and cod), and, of course, a mortadella sandwich.
As his guide, Danni, commented, “the thing is with the botecos, that Rio has a lot of them, and the city really should be known by that, and it’s a pity we’re not.”
But as Anthony helpfully pointed out, “there are over 12,000 of them in Rio. So finding a good one should not present a problem.”
“The heart and soul of Rio is places like this.” Anthony Bourdain commented, and, much more so than any of the usual travel guides and TV shows, he really did seem to get to the heart and soul of what makes Rio such an enchanting city.