Party time, Peaches! Last night we had our first party at our house! I have never been much of a party person, but I wanted to do something special for Igor’s 30th birthday, and I wanted him to have some time with his friends and family, since he has been working so hard lately. The last few weeks our Facebook feeds have been flooded with his friends and family sharing their Carnival pictures. Since flights are super expensive travelling to Brazil this time of year, it wasn’t possible for us to make it there. I decided I would bring a little bit of Carnival here. I wanted to decorate the house with all of the wonderful bright colors you see during the Carnival parades. I also wanted to get some of his favorite foods from home. The best place to go, locally, is Ipanema Bakery! They are a tiny little hole in the wall Brazilian store and bakery off Old Milton road in Milton, Ga. They make all of the classics. Coxinhas, Pastel, Brigadeiro, and my absolute most favorite, Pao de Queijo. I love Brazilian food and am shocked at how little availability there is locally. Hopefully we can change that some day (Hint hint.. Shhhh.)
I was introduced to Ipanema Bakery a couple years by Igor. They are almost like a little café with a grocery section. They have a butcher as well to get great cuts of meat and an array of Brazilian sausages. He had taken me there to get some of his favorite snack type foods, but we also went to their restaurant next door to the bakery. There they serve churrasco. A churrascaria is a restaurant serving grilled meat, many offering as much as one can eat: the waiters move around the restaurant with the skewers, slicing meat onto the diner’s plate. I would say the most well known around here is Fogo, but they are super pricy. Ipanema offers a buffet style dining experience with a carving station, for the grilled meat, and then a cold and hot bar. They have a mixture of dishes and sides to offer, such as, potato salad, pastas, stroganoff and even grilled plantains and fried polenta. It is a treat when we get to eat there. So, when I went over to the bakery to shop for the party, I knew exactly what I wanted to get. Coxinhas, of course, as they are Igor’s favorite, with some sausages, farofa and picanha. This tasty cut of meat is hard to find around here, but if you know a local butcher, they probably know it better as a sirloin top round cap. Most local meat markets or butchers offer a top round, but they generally remove the “cap”. It’s a nice layer of fat that, when grilled, helps keep the steak juicy and tender. Traditionally, this cut of beef is seasoned only with rock salt and slowly grilled on a large spit horizontally so it can be spun to get an even grill, almost like a rotisserie. If you are a meat lover like we are, you should definitely try this cut and style of grilling at your next BBQ. After selecting my meats and sides, I had to pick a drink, and, hands down, the best Brazilian soda I have ever tried, and possibly the best soda in the world, is Guarana. This tasty carbonated beverage is similar to ginger ale, but with a slightly sweeter fruity flavor. I was hooked after my first sip. I grabbed a case of those and headed home.
As soon as Igor left for work, I got to work myself. I hung the decorations all over the house. Our entry hallway was full of colorful lanterns and streamers that lead to our living room and backyard where we had hung twinkling lights in our awning. While some may say tacky, I thought it was the perfect surprise, and a great way to brighten our home for the party. I even had a birthday table where we would set out the cake. It was all coming together. When he got home, I was putting on the finishing touches. He walked in and was so surprised. Success! The party was a hit and we had a wonderful time with our family and friends gathered in our home. After the grill master finished grill some of the tasty meats I had bought, we all sat around the fire pit and shared funny stories and relived some of our greatest memories.
To my husband, you are loved, by so many. You are the most amazing person I have ever met, and I am so blessed to be sharing this life with you. You brighten my days and have brought so much color to my world. I love you so very much. You are my heart and soul. Happiest of birthdays, my love.