There are tons of unique, delicious restaurants in Sao Paulo, however Barteco, the newest edition in Pinheiro‘s stands apart from the rest. Set in a 3 story house with high ceilings, beautiful wood floors and artistic tiled walls. You can sit inside, at the bar or outside under the heat lamps (it’s winter in Brazil right now ok!). The food will blow you away but I recommend starting at the bar located on the second level first….. Read more »
Random fun fact about me: When I was growing up, my dad was the commissioner of Roger Williams Park Zoo in RI and was fortunate to have the opportunity to work and volunteer there over the years (I have always loved animals so it was a ton of fun). I have always loved going to the zoo especially when I visit different cities/ countries (it’s not just for kids!). You can read about Rio’s zoo HERE. This past weekend I went to the Parque Zoologico de Sao Paulo. As you can see from the map below, Sao Paulo’s Zoo is pretty huge!
Open since 1958 the zoo is located in an area of approximately 900,000 m² (see map above, it’s huge!) of Atlantic Forest and houses the headwaters of the historic stream of Ipiranga whose waters receive birds of several species as well as migratory birds (about a 20min drive from Itaim). What is incredible about this lake is that because it is sheltered by the forest, it allows native animals to roam freely, so for the animals if feels like they are actually in the wild and not caged up! Check out the picture below, different species of monkeys have their own ‘islands’ to play on. Seriously, it is amazing to watch, seeing them ‘out in the wild’ will melt your heart (I am such a sucker for monkeys).
The zoo has a population of about 3,000 animals, represented by numerous species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Among these animals are quite rare species and endangered species such as the gharial-of-Malaysia, three of the four species of lion tamarins (black lion tamarin, lion tamarin-faced golden lion tamarin golden), rhinos, among others.
Since the environment plays a huge part, the Zoo has developed its very own ‘Zoo Fazenda‘ (farm) that produces food for the animals (talk about eating fresh from the wild!). This farm is also responsible for the supply of raw – materials for construction, renovation, decoration and fodder enclosures, such as wood, thatches, bamboos, seedlings and burdens. An important aspect of the Environmental Management System of the farm is the preservation of forest areas. What a great way to help the environment, and the animals, I haven’t heard of any other zoos giving back in this way.
The Zoo is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9am to 7pm, tickets for adults and children over 12 years old are R$18, children 5-12 R$7 and children under 4 years old are free. There are special night tours (something I totally plan on doing) that cost R$75 for adults and R$55 for children. There is also a Zoo Safari experience..sounds cool right?! Check back soon for full details!
Av. Miguel Stefano 4241, Sao Paulo, State of Sao Paulo 04301-905, Brazil
There are tons of Padaria’s (bakeries) all over Brazil selling fresh breads, pastries etc I went to Bon Heur de Pain last week and it was so good I thought I would highlight it for you! Their specialties range from specialty breads (which are freshly made on site – see below!), viennoiseries, sweets, pastries, sandwiches, salads, quiches, omelettes, pizzas and drinks.
For lunch you can enjoy traditional French favorites like the croque-monsieur (below)/ madame or even the croque-caraibes (2 slices of bread grilled, bechamel sauce, chicken breast, green and red peppers and a slice of pineapple). Nor in the mood for something ‘that’ savory, try one of their many yummy sandwiches served of out of the oven on French baguettes or a light salad.
This is definitely a place you want to make sure you save room for dessert!! They are famous for their macaroons (below) and apple tartines. I apologize, the apple tartine was so delicious we devoured it before a pic could be taken oops:) Other fabulous dessert options include la madeleines, muffins, chocolate breads, muffins, chocolate cake, brownies, cookies, eclairs, fruit tarts, and of course creme brulee.
Bonheur de Pains, Alameda Santos, 551
If you the ‘adventure’ type that enjoys spending time outdoors, discovering waterfalls and hiking in the woods then you should definitely find a way to experience hiking in the Tijuca forest. Home to hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, found only in the Atlantic Rainforest, the Tijuca Forest is the world’s largest urban forest, covering some 3,200 hectares. Various trails invite hikers (ie regular people like you and me) and the serious hikers can climb up to the Pico da Tijuca which is 1012 meters high.
When you arrive you will see a beautiful waterfall at the entrance (above), FYI it is just for admiration, too shallow to swim in! After the waterfall you will see a map with different trails marked and the entrance. We started on the yellow trail because we wanted to see the waterfalls (see map at top)….. The trail is easy with stairs natural roots and most of the path is well-defined and open. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see that the trail was marked with colored arrows (based on your trail) so you can’t get lost (other places I have hiked in Brazil have not been so easily mapped out). There are certain points where the trail becomes steep, for your assistance there are chains attached to some of the rocks to help pull you up. The only real ‘obstacles’ ( if you can call it that) are created by the roots of a trees so get ready for some ‘climbing’. If you ever played on a jungle gym when you were a kid you will enjoy that part:) and then you will arrive at the famous Cachoeira das Almas (waterfall of the souls) below. At this waterfall you can take a refreshing shower, FYI it’s also a popular spot for couples, as you can see we were clearly interrupting, oops!
Since it started to pour we ended up doing both the Red and Yellow trails (we got a little turned around because of the rain and decided to just go for it). Along the way, we happily stumbled upon the Taunay Waterfall, Mayrink Playground and Chapel, Tijuca National Park Museum (Visitor Center), Sensorial trail (designed for blind and wheelchair) and The Manacás Garden. We were having such a nice time by the time we were finished 5 hours had gone by and we had managed to cover a lot of ground!
What to bring: Sneakers/ boots you don’t mind getting dirty/ muddy, water, snacks, bug spray, sun screen
If you like hiking. check out these trekks
If you don’t want to go at it alone there are lots of tour options
There are lots of French restaurants in Sao Paulo, but if you want the best ‘Steak Frites’ you must go to L’entrecote de Paris in Itaim. Given the name of the restaurant it is pretty clear that it is serving up French cuisine. If you had any doubts, once you step inside and see that the walls are covered with pictures and items from Paris you will know you are definitely in the right place. Start your night off with a nice bottle of red wine, they have a great selection of your French favorites. The starter salad is delicious and one bite will make you feel like you are actually in Paris (for those of you who have been to Paris and ever eaten at a bistro in Paris you know that yummy side salad I am talking about- same dressing!).
The real attraction: STEAK FRITES!!! The steak frites are so good that it is the only ‘main’ option on the menu! What makes these steak frites so special? Their secret mustard and herbs sauce which has been a family secret and passed down from generation to generation; it is amazing! Of course the meal isn’t complete without a crazy amount of crunchy french fries (for those of you who like to devour fries, they will come around and give you seconds).
For the dessert lovers, there is an extensive dessert list if you manage to save some room for dessert.
I’ve lived in Brazil for 2.5 years now (yikes) and I went to my first ‘football match’ yesterday at the famous Estádio do Maracanã (Maracanã Stadium) which was first opened in 1950 when Brazil hosted the FIFA World Cup. This open-air stadium, based in Rio de Janeiro is the largest stadium in South America currently seating 78,838 spectators. At one point in time, the stadium held 200,000 spectators (pretty insane right?!). The Maracanã was partially rebuilt in preparation for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup which will be the first one held in Brazil since 1950, and also the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the 2016 Summer Paralympics. I am sure most of you reading the news were a bit confused by all the back and forth regarding the ‘Friendly match’ between Brazil and England. It was called off, on, off , on, off again due to safety concerns related to the stadiums construction then put back on a day later when the game was actually hosted. Yes, we did consider the fact that attending the match might be our last, but thankfully everything worked out:) Brazil drew 2-2 v England and made for a very exciting match.
- You can still see lots of construction is going on and since the parking lot is also under construction your options of getting to the stadium are to subway, bus or cab.
- Seats are numbered incorrectly (or tickets are sold for seats that don’t exist) so don’t expect to actually sit in your seat. This happens in Brazil all the time….
- No alcohol in stadium, this rule has always been in place for people’s safety. This was new to me and I think the first sporting event where alcohol wasn’t part of the experience
- Food & drink: currently you can only buy soda and chips at the concession stands. FYI they will pour the soda out of the mini bottles and into a cup so you aren’t temped to throw your bottle at someone (but you can still throw your cup:))
- Brazilians chanting ‘hey ref go fuck yourself’ while England continued to yell “ENG-GA-LAND” over and over again in a chant
Whether you are walking down the beach, playing in the surf or just working on your tan you will hear and see all different types of vendors selling various snacks, blankets, drinks and clothes along the beach. There is one ‘snack’ that will definitely catch your eye if you see someone eating it…..To be blunt, at first glance you will most likely have to do a double take (it sort of like someone learning to give a blow job..Sorry to disappoint you, but I have yet to come across a beach ‘BJ class’). What they are doing, is eating a picolé sacolé. Picolé sacolé is an ice cream/popsicle that you eat/suck out of a bag (above). They come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, strawberry, banana, acai, passion fruit and coconut (which is my favorite because the ice cream has little coconut chunks mixed in). During Carnival you will see people selling them filled with alcohol creations which are also pretty delicious.
As the saying goes ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’… try not to judge what the picolé looks like while you are eating it. In fact I believe it is the most popular seller on the beach which means that if you see or hear the guy yelling ‘Picolé sacolé’, run over and grab yours (for R$5) fast as they will go quickly. How to eat a picolé: With your teeth bite off a corner or the top bite then enjoy. As you make your way down you may have to bite off more of the plastic or push the ice cream up from the bottom (even as I am writing this it sounds dirty, I swear it’s an innocent snack). Think of it as an ice cream push pop without the stick. If you haven’t tried a picolé, next time you go to the beach in Rio I highly recommend tracking down the man selling them!
For those of you who haven’t heard of Batman’s Alley, it is an ever changing open-air rotating art gallery and one of my favorite areas to wander around:) If this is your first time visiting my site or if you missed my previous posts on Batman’s Alley then I highly recommend reading post 1 and post 2 so you can really appreciate the updates and see the drastic changes to the space. Here are the newest additions to Sao Paulo’s Batman’s Alley:
It is located on Rua Gonçalo Afonso, starting on Rua Harmonia