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Today in My History

2000:  Hair Today, Gone Forever
2001:  No entry--in England
2002:  Mom Has a Great Day!
2003:  The Other Shoe
2004:  Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here
2005:  Never Say Never
2006Flame Wars

2007: The Wake
2008:  The Clone Machine

2009:  Lester, Meet Your New Dad
2010:  Children's Book Week
The Happy Room

Bitter Hack
Updated: 4/30
"Little Shop of Horrors"

Books Read in 2012
 Updated: 5/9
"Divine Justice"

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Santa Barbara, April 2012


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13 May 2012

I was checking out the Davis Wiki today to see what new restaurants had come to town that we had never visited. The Davis Enterprise has a yearly contest for the bests in Davis, everything from restaurants to veterinarians and just about every category in between.

The top 3 were listed, one of which was a restaurant I had not heard of before.  It's called Tucos and it is a tiny little place near the railroad station.

I checked the web site to see what kind of a restaurant it was and it seemed to be quite versatile.  The web site itself is not much to look at.  No attempt at showing quaint seating arrangements or the small, but rich looking wine shelves.  And the list of food (which is quite lengthy for such a small place) has the usual assortment of starters, salads, burgers and sandwiches, pastas, entrees and desserts.  But sandwiched in there was a special category.

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) plain, bacon, garlic, mushroom, or black truffle $4 (allow 20 min)
Chile Relleno mozzarella-jack cheese, beef, avocado, choice of veggies or rice & black beans $17
Black Truffle and Cheese Tamales with Sage and Brown Butter, choice of veggies or rice & black beans $17
Braised Lentil & Beef Burrito with Sweet Potato, choice of veggies or rice & black beans $15
Fried Fish Tacos, wild cod, cabbage, sweet-spicy sauce, choice of veggies or rice & black beans $14
Artichoke Heart & Cheese Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce with choice of veggies or rice & black beans $17
Chilaquiles (Tortilla Casserole), poached eggs, refried black beans, shredded beef (vegetarian available) $14
Sweet Potato Nachos black beans, cheese, tomato, onion, sour cream, avocado, jalapeno $12
Free-Range Chicken Tacos corn tortillas, bacon, collard greens (vegetarian available) $12
Feijoada (brazilian stewed beef, pork, black beans) rice, collard greens, farofa (toasted yucca meal) $17
Grass-Fed Beef Empanadas or Spinach & Egg Empanadas $9
Butternut Squash Cachapas (venezuelan griddle cakes with melted mozzarella cheese) $9
Arepas (shredded beef or avocado & fresh mozzarella) $9

Right away two items popped out at me.  Feijoada and Pao de Queijo.   Both are unusual to find in a non-Brasilian restaurant.  Back in the 80s, when we had all those Brasilians living here, I learned to make a mean feijoada, a black bean stew that is the national dish of Brasil. At one time I made it so often I didn't need a recipe, though I would need one now. 

A feijoada completa is the black bean stew served with rice, farofa (toasted yucca meal, though I always used breadcrumbs, as I was taught by my Brasilian brother Nelson, when we had no yucca meal), collard greens (though since I don't like collard greens, I always served spinach instead) and a slice of orange for decoration.   I was pleased to discover that the Tuco feijoada was very similar to what I made...and tasted good too.

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It was not only a feijoada completa, but a feijoada perfecta as well!

But the dish I most wanted to try was the pao de queijo, the little cheese breads you can see in the bowl off to the left in the above picture. I can't find my recipe any more and a check on the internet yields many variations, none of which sound familiar, but mainly you have liquid and tapioca flour and cheese and other ingredients.   You mix it all up in a pan, form into a dough, refrigerate, then pinch off tiny balls of it and bake them.

But the thing about it is that the tapioca flour mixed with liquid has the consistency of silly putty.  I always reached a point somewhere before the refrigeration stage where I was certain that I had done something horribly wrong.  I had a hard, grey (yes, it was grey) mass that I was putting in the refrigerator.  I got used to it looking so horrible because when I baked the little balls the first time and they were so delicious that they were devoured instantly, that I never worried about it again, but I can still remember that really weird feeing in my fingers as I kneaded it. 

The Brasilians told me that it tasted just like the cheese breads they remembered from home.  But until today I had never tasted any cheese breads but my own.  It was so gratifying to discover that they tasted just like I remember making.  The only problem, of course, was that they cost $1 each and mine were considerably cheaper.

I wonder where I put that recipe.....


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Today is National Train Day


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