I recently had a successful brunch date at Café Do Brasil, 440 N.W. 11th—successful in that, when she excused herself to use the restroom, she didn’t make a run for it through the kitchen’s backdoor—and, even though I am, for the most part, against the aging hipster ritual of weekend brunch, it was a beautiful afternoon for it, even if the reservations I made (to impress her, natch) were mostly not necessary.
As we were led to our seats, I was strangely taken aback by how much space there is in the main dining room; for most of my visits to Café Do Brasil over the years, many of them had been upstairs, in their swank bar that overlooks Midtown which, at dusk, is something truly romantic to gaze at and even more so when you actually have someone to gaze at it with.
Or so I’ve been told.
With poppy Portuguese-language tunes playing on the sound-system overhead, we made the most awkward of small talk in-between looking over Café Do Brasil’s precise menu; I settled on the cuisine exotica of Brazil’s national dish, the Feijoada Brasileira ($12.00), which I embarrassingly mangled the pronunciation of. She ordered a choice Brazilian breakfast, the easily-pronounceable Favorito ($13.00).
Many people might think that dating a food critic would make for an exciting excursion and, typically, it is until, of course, I take out my camera and start snapping amateurishly composed pictures of the restaurant. Even worse, before they can even place a well-polished fork into their well-chosen meal, a few badly-lit pics of their ordered food must be taken, usually without their culinary permission.
No one really wants to see how the sausage is made and eaten.
Speaking of which, Calabreza sausage was one of the many components of the Feijoada Brasileira, a thick and hearty mélange of numerous roasted pork products, including ribs, belly, shoulder, paio (a pork loin sausage) and, of course, pig feet; it’s practically an entire list of what not to order on a date.
Sprinkling the intriguing pork belly farofa across the large bowl of this midnight stew, I gave her a plaintive look that said “I’m sorry…this is who I am and what I do,” taking a regulatory spoonful of the black beans and various pig parts into my gullet, holding back my true emotive love of the dish.
That being said, the Feijoada Brasileira is one of Oklahoma City’s esculent treasures; with the flavorful pork and the fervent beans, it slightly hurt a bit when I half-heartedly pushed my bowl away and boxed up the leftovers, secretly wanting to devour every last bite. Instead, I took a few nibbles of the appropriate orange that was cut up on my plate, a delightful cleanser.
A soft egg-scramble mixed with their spectacular in-house chorizo—as well as corn chips, roma tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos and green onions—the Favorito lived up to its name as well. I leaned over to try a significant taste—for the review, of course—of her reasonably priced and subversively styled eggs, surprised when she didn’t swat me away somewhat angrily as I took a second forkful.
After having a bold final sip of my remaining ice water, I cavalierly paid the check and we walked out to the car to say our goodbyes. The date went about as well as one with me could ever go, and I think a big part of that goes to Café Do Brasil, the dining equivalent of a steadfast tropicália rhythm, one that beautifully mingles delicious pig feet with mysterious human emotions. Compre agora!