WARNING: MAJOR FOOD PORN AHEAD. You have been warned. If you are a carnivore, you may drool. HeatherEve is not responsible for any damage to your keyboard or reputation.
NYE/my 30th birthday was a pretty great night, from top to bottom. I got off work early (Thanks, boss!), found a great outfit on sale (shirt $15 @ dress barn, shrug, hair flower, and ring from DOTS)
used my new Garmin to find the restaurant quickly and easily
We had early (6pm) reservations and it was great, we walked right in. Within the hour everything filled up, but service was still really great. We ordered drinks and got the explanation on how everything worked. First stop, the salad & sides bar:
I found this a little confusing, since I'm not really a fine diner I had a hard time identifying what everything was. And since I'm a picky eater, that made me hesitant to take anything. So did my loathing of vegetables, but I didn't want to come back completely empty handed, so I decided to be brave and try a few things - fresh mozzarella, a few green beans, a tiny Cesar salad, prosciutto (I think), and I figured bread & butter is always safe. Hubby was slightly more outgoing in his choices, but we both made a conscious effort to take it easy, knowing what was to come...
Once you're done with round I, you flip your coaster from red to green, and it's GO TIME! They start by bringing you MORE sides - mashed potatoes, polenta, caramelized bananas, and cheddar rolls. I could already sense a little bit of overload...
The potatoes were good, the rest didn't do a lot for me. I was more interested in the main event: MEAT! As soon as our cards were flipped to green, the gauchos started strolling over with their giant spears of meat an sharp knives. There were 13 different cuts, and I tried everything that came by - first was lamb chops, which aren't usually in my repertoire, but I boldly accepted. Then I think came the most luscious filet in history:
Mmmmmm!Sometimes it got a little overwhelming, and you had to flip your card back to red just to catch up. This was hubby's plate when his eyes started roll back in his head and the meat coma set in. You could of course refuse any of the cuts, but it was so exciting to try them all! We also liked the various cuts of sirloin, garlic steak, and picanha. Hubby gave the sausage and beef ribs high marks. A surprise winner was the parmesan pork - I never usually like pork, but this was FANTASTIC! Moist and flavorful, YUM! Surprisingly, I didn't like either of the bacon-wrapped offerings (steak & chicken), despite counting bacon amongst my most favorite foods (I am a heart attack waiting to happen, I know). The bacon texture was too rubbery for me, and the other cuts were just much better.
That's about the time I caught the meat coma too. It's definitely hard to say "UNCLE" with all that glorious meat floating around, but somehow we did it. But the night wasn't over! Jay, our amazing waiter, saw my giant camera and offered to snap a photo.
Hubby hates photos, but I told him he had to cooperate since it was my birthday, and that was apparently the magic words - Jay brought over the dessert menu and told us to pick something on the house! I LOVE THAT! I really wish more places let you actually pick what you wanted, rather than bringing something random for your birthday treat. We didn't exactly know what to go with, but Jay suggested the papaya cream. It is their signature dessert, and papaya has an enzyme that helps you break down protein, so in addition to being light, it actually helps you feel better after over indulgence. He had us pegged.
So pretty! I had never tried a cream before, it was sort of a non-frozen ice cream, or a thin pudding, and it was FABULOUS. Halfway through Jay added some sort of berry liqueur that made it even MORE luscious! Be still my beating heart, it was almost too much to bear!
All in all, Fogo de Chao (actually pronounced Fogo de SHUN, but that doesn't lend itself to fun puns as well), gets a HUGE thumbs UP from both me & the hubs. I sense a new birthday tradition coming on. It was a little spendy at $46.50 per person, and my normally cheap Peach7's (peach schnapps and 7 up - mmm, like grown up kool-aid)were $6, but for the meal we got it was well worth the price, especially on New Year's Eve. Next time we'll try to pace ourselves even better, despite our careful planning we still rolled out feeling a little like that blueberry kid in Willy Wonka.
Coming soon: NYE Part II, where I drag my meat-logged self into what I think is a casual gathering...