Some of the best adventures don’t require you to travel far. Especially right here in the DC suburbs. A quick train ride away and I’m standing in the midst of a city skyline, and just a drive down the road and I can find myself in a little Brazilian shop offering a little of everything – except English.
At first glance, By Brazil doesn’t look like much: a bare entrance opening to a wall of P.O. boxes and an oversized poster of a foreign produce market. But walk around the corner and you will find shelves stocked full with jars of dulce de leche and other imported goodies.
Around the corner on the counter you’ll discover cases of fluffy bread and fried goodness under heating lamps and trays of sweet truffles and desserts.
You can ask the staff for recommendations on which to try but you should probably get one of everything. Definitely don’t skip the pão de queijo, a crispy bread roll that breaks open to reveal a chewy, cheesy middle. They are made with tapioca flour, eggs and grated cheese and are naturally gluten-free (and sugar free). I liked them so much I strongly considered buying a frozen bag of premade buns to pop in the oven at home for a snack.
My sister on the other hand preferred the coxinhas, a fried bread cone filled with shredded chicken and cheese. We also grabbed a bag of chips and a can of soda to sample as well after Isabella – our resident Brazilian – insisted.
Behind the dessert counter everything looks tempting, but make sure you don’t miss the brigadeiro. It’s a truffle made of chocolate and condensed milk rolled in chocolate sprinkles.
By the time we had worked our way through all these snacks, one of the friendly staff stopped by to deliver what we really came for, the acai bowl.
The enormous bowl was filled to the brim with crushed and blended frozen acai, bananas and strawberries. The bowl is topped off with granola, a few more slices of fresh fruit and a swirl of honey. It was so delicious it didn’t take us long to demolish.
I’ve been dreaming about it ever since, and trying my hardest to concoct a decent replicate smoothie bowl ever since. I guess I’ll just have to go back.
P.S. These videos always make me laugh: Americans Try Brazilian Snacks and Brazilians Try American Sweets