F The Brazilian flame rekindled - jeepneyjinggoy

The Brazilian flame rekindled

The first encounter was in San Antonio and it was love at first bite. A couple of years later the love affair was rekindled, in Houston this time, and it was more delicious on the second encounter. It was not, and never will be, a “Houston we have a problem” relationship for I can easily cast the strict diet across the deserts of the Lone Star State. But, I held back a little lest I let my belly hop on the “everything is big in Texas” bandwagon.

Rekindling the Brazilian flame.... in Houston this time.

How can anyone not love this gaucho’s joint? The vegetarians won’t, of course, but the carnivores will— this place is meat lover’s haven. And on my good friend’s birthday celebration, all his meat-loving friends were cheering.

Happy birthday Tenny!

The celebrant with the band of meat lovers.

Fogo de Chao (fo-go dèe shoun), literaly translates to “fire of the earth” in Portuguese and this authentic Brazilian steakhouse has been sharing the gaucho way of preparing meat since 1979. Sixteen cuts of meat are expertly grilled by the gaucho chefs and offered continuously at every diner’s tableside….until you throw in the white towel or in the this case, your card’s red face. 

The leal includes limitless service of traditional Brazilian side dishes like this  pão de queijo (warm cheese bread).....

...the caramelized bananas...

...and crispy hot polenta.

And one of the offered meal enders- Key Lime Pie.

Each diner holds his own key to meat heaven— a circular card with one face in green, the other in red. If your card’s green side is up, it signals the gaucho chefs to begin serving you and if had enough (for the moment) turn your card’s red face up until you are ready for more offerings. That’s how simple it is.

Green is "Hit me baby one more time" & Red is "I have enough"... for the moment.

Simple? Nah. It’s never easy to choose from an array of mouthwatering and aromatic meat cuts that’s paraded before you--

- the Picanha (top sirloin), a signature steak grilled to juicy perfection that’s prepared two different ways- traditional light seasoning and the garlic seasoned;
- the Filet Mignon which also comes in a delicious bacon-wrapped version;
- Beef Ancho (rib eye), the finely marbled cut of beef is seasoned with a light hand before grilling;

The finely marbled Beef Ancho

- the Alcatra (top sirloin);

The Alcatra

- Fraldinha (bottom sirloin);
- the tender, juicy Costela (beef ribs) which is grilled for hours to capture their rich natural flavor;
- Cordero (lamb) imported from New Zealand;
- the Frango (chicken) prepared in two different ways- legs in lightly basted in special marinade and the bacon wrapped chicken breast;
- the mouthwatering baby back Costela de Parco (pork ribs);
- the Lombo (pork loin) filets are encrusted with a rich Parmesan cheese coating before roasting;
- and the Linguica (sausage), the cured pork sausage perfectly crisp on the outside and the hot and juicy inside.

The trick is pacing yourself and not gorging on the first meat cuts that come your way. Have a little of each until you find the meat you fall in love with and turn your card’s green face up.

If you ask me, it will always be the green face showing. Not because the gauchos milling about the tables are good-looking and as hot as the skewered meat they are offering, but because I know I will never have enough of the tasty Brazilian cuisine.

Which has aged better-- the white or the red?

Should I see another Fogo de Chao along the path I am traveling on, I’m heading in and add a little more fire to my non-extinguishable Brazilian flame.

The buffet at Fogo de Chao