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Restaurants & Bars 3

Brazilian snacks & cocoa juice at Sabor Brazil & Nino’s Pizzeria

rworange | Jun 14, 200612:07 AM

Sabor Brazil has interesting fresh Brazilian juices.

Today it was cocoa juice. It turned out to be white, not chocolate-colored with a unique taste that was buttery, tart and tangy. One of the few references I saw about it on the web said it tasted like lychee. Well, a little … with some passion fruit thrown in.

As far as I can tell, this is the same as the cocoa that makes chocolate, except it is the pulp of the pod and not the seed. It taste nothing like the chocolate made from the seed.


Asked if I wanted cocoa with cream … sure. So they used milk as the base, threw in a little sugar and squirted a white-ish liquid in and blended it. The frothy, slightly pulpy drink was different and good.

IMO, after trying three coxinha, Brazilian chicken croquettes, Nino’s Pizzeria marginally gets the nod as best. I’m thru with coxinha. They are almost like pupusas … if you’ve had one you pretty much have had them all.

Nino’s has two versions, regular and cream cheese. Also they have the advantage of serving these with a jalapeño-spiked ranch dipping sauce which peps them up a bit. For me, the stewed shredded chicken filling of the coxinha seems a little bland. The cream cheese is mixed into the dough around the filling.

A snack like this needs catsup and mayo which seem so popular. At Sabor Brazil, each table has a large glass bowl filled with packets of those condiments.

I also tried the black bean soup at Nino’s which makes for a filling lunch for $3.50. The puree of black bean had a roasted garlic note and was topped with green onions. Not great, but satisfying enough.

Nino’s has other Brazilian appetizers, but they are sold four to a plate, so maybe sometime in the future. This was my first time at dinner and there were quite a few Brazilian families eating there. If almost felt like when I worked out of the country with everyone speaking Portuguese.

Brazilian cable plays on the TV. Since it is World Cup time of year, the place is decked out in green and yellow flags with matching table cloths. Now I understand why the ceiling is painted green. It’s one of the colors on the Brazilian flag.

I’ve done most of my snack tasting at Sabor Brazil. This is what I like in order of preference:

Disco – This is a meat patty covered with flavored bread crumbs and deep fried. This was delicious. It reminded me of my mother’s meatballs when she splurged for the more pricey but authentic Italian breadcrumbs from the Progresso.

Empadeo Goiano – Brazilian chicken pot pie. This is one of their most popular items. It has a nice brown crust, looking almost like a Brioche. I was told to heat it a minute in the microwave, but I tried a tiny bit cold. I was thinking there was quite a bit of dough in it.

However, when I heated it, it turnout out the ‘dough’ was a delicious thick layer of cheese. The chicken was similar to the coxinha, sort of a shredded, stewed chicken, but mixed with green olives, diced potato, some spices to give it character and … of course … corn niblets. .

Rizole de milho – Yep, another deep-fried, breadcrumb-covered snack filled with a mixture of creamy cheese, corn niblets and some sort of chopped green herb. Shaped like a hot pocket.

Quibe - a mix of minced meat, mint and couscous and fried in oil. Similar to falafel, which I’m not a fan of. The mint and spice was pleasant. I was about to write it off when I hit an oozy cheese center. Well, sure, stuff that falafel with cheese and you have something.

Pao de quiejo – little walnut-sized cheese bread. I’d give Sunstream in SF the edge on these, but they are still good heated.

The cheese rolls are not listed on the menu and I’m finding that there are things sold that are not on the menu. Also, some of the menu items are not always available. They had a pretty good-looking bundt called a Florentine cake. This cake originates in Italy.


The only thing that isn’t too interesting is the coffee. The basic cup of coffee is good, but the others are only ok to me. Stick to the juices and smoothies. Coffee you can get anywhere. The juices are unique.

Caf Enzinho – I don’t see the difference from cappuccino, which is also on the menu

Pinguinho was just regular coffee with a ping of milk.

The owners are from Minas Gerais, the second most populous of Brazil’s 26 states. Today was really lively since Brazil was playing in the world cup, so music was playing, people were dancing, and there were balloons the color of the Brazilian flag floating along the ceiling.

They seem to have some Brazilian women making the snacks, dishes and baked goods. There is no kitchen in the place, so they just deep-fry the snacks and keep them warm in a glass case.

I’ve really enjoyed this coffee shop and look forward to trying some of the other items, especially the lasahna that looks like enchiladas … and maybe that Florentine cake. I’m also looking forward to the monthly Sunday dinner they are planning.

Nino’s Brazilian Restaurant – previous post

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