This is a find if I do say so myself. It is the best Brazilian snack shop in the Bay Area with the star being the fried-to-order pasteles. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
I was offered a complementary pastele filled with chicken, corn and catupiry (Brazilian cheese).
The tiny warm packet held in a thin, crisp bubbly crust was delicious.
There are 24 fillings to choose, alone or in a combination. A good many are the type of things that top pizza such as olives, onions, basil, oregano, pesto, ground beef, bacon (Canadian or American), ham
However there is also camarao, gauairoba, palm, piqui, ricotta
The dessert pasteles have a choice of guava, banana, dulce de leche or pineapple fillings
There are six specialty pasteles
- Goiano: cheese, chicken, piqui, catupiry
- Mineiro: cheese, beef, gauairoba, catupiry
- Paulista: cheese, ham, tomato
- Carioca: cheese, camarao, bacon, corn
- Gaucho: cheese, beef, olives, onion
- Latino: Cheese, ham, corn, jalepenos
- Mr. Pizza Man: cheese, ham, tomato, oregano
Note: The only thing most Mr. Pizza Man pizzarias have in common is the name. Smart Coffee seems to also own the Mr. Pizza Man on 22nd in SF which has an extensive Brazilian menu. It has nothing to do with the Richmond Mr. Pizza Man
I was also given a small espresso cup of one of the most wonderful chicken soups I’ve ever had with the deepest, most chickeny broth I’ve had in a long time. It was filled with pieces of chicken and corn. There seemed to be a bit of cilantro in it. It was not over-salty like so many restaurant soups. It was rich but not fatty.
They also have caldo verde and bean soups.
The owner is smart by offering generous samples of what they do best … a Brazilian Bakesale Betty. On my own I would have never tried the pasteles and probably not the soup.
I was given a mane pelado, a yucca cake mixed with coconut. This was muffin-sized and like one of the best coconut macaroons I’ve ever had, so moist and full of flavor.
What I did buy was
Sonho – This was a fat donut cut in half and filled with one of the most elegant versions of dulce de leche I’ve tried. It wasn’t overly sweet or cloying.
Esfirra – I chose the ground beef with was mixed with onions, corn and bits of tomato in a bready turnover. I went Brazilian and added the small packets of mayo and catsup which really made it. Think of what those condiments do to a burger … same idea.
Coffee – I guess the brand is Smart Coffee. The nice touch was when I asked for milk, they added steamed milk. They have a coffee drink called a toddynho that I’m going to try today.
All baked goods are made in house.
They also have Brazilian beverages and shakes, acai bowls, snacks such as quibe and coxinha, sandwiches such as bauru, x-bacon and torta de fraqngo, fries, garlic fries, onion rings, quail eggs, Buffalo wings, soups, salads and much, much more.
The interior is sort of bare bones. There is a kid’s room and they have an internet lounge in another room.
This is located in the Brazilian green building across the street from Bank of American on MacDonald and San Pablo. There was Brazilian grocery and juice bar a while back which I liked a lot and missed. I love this place and am only sorry I’ll be leaving the area in a few days.
I wish I had the time to give this report the attention it deserves, but with limited time, this is the best I can do. I highly recommend it … especially the pasteles.
Smart Coffee BR
4820 Bissell Ave, Richmond, CA 94805
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