My family’s love of churrascaria, or what Americans know as Brazilian restaurant started in San Diego where I made my yearly pilgrimage to the San Diego Comic-Con (not any more sadly. I can gloat that I was there when Hall H became Hall H and left when SDCC became bombarded with Hollywood. Color me hipster) at a place called Rei Do Gado. I was super surprised to find small churrascarias during my stay in Japan (that was before I learned that there is a large Japanese community in Brazil). Suffice to say it’s been a while that my family have gone to eat Brazilian barbecue together so for my mom’s birthday we went over to Palo Alto’s Pampas
I was really impressed with the layout of the restaurant. Very classy yet not stuffy that you felt at odds if you came in jeans and a shirt. The service was the same as any other churrascaria. If you ordered the rodizio, waiters come around with a skewer of delicious meats and you say yay or nay if you want a slice or not. The food was delicious, both the meat and the side bar, but what I really remember of that night was not the meat, but my aunt’s drink:
My aunt and I were intrigued with the ingredients: infused pepper vodka, pineapple, and passion fruit.
Peppers? Challenge accepted! But oh man, the look on my aunt’s face after a teeny sip. I almost thought she was bluffing, until I took a sip. Holy Batman. This drink is a sneaky one too! I tasted the fruit first and thought ‘pshh, this ain’t so bad!’ then as it slowly went down my throat the pepper and the alcohol burn creeped up on me and burned my mouth like a volcano. That drink was the best surprise of the night. My aunt said the heat goes down once the pepper flecks sink to the bottom and it was easier for her to drink it. It’s definitely a drink I didn’t expect to like, but if I ever came back to Pampas, I would be tempted to order this beast.