22 July 2015

june eats.

In June we ate at two new restaurants for Jon's birthday and our wedding anniversary.  The first (which was actually just new for Jon), was Distrito, a Mexican restaurant in Scottsdale at the Saguaro Hotel.  I visited here last October with my parents and really liked it and was excited to take Jon there.  We went for the lunch special and I got the shrimp ceviche and the skirt steak tacos.  The shrimp dish was amazing: it was sweet and a little spicy, but the slight heat was tempered by the avocado, and it was perfect.  The tacos were also delicious.  Even though they were steak, it was somehow refreshing.  The steak flavor stood out and wasn't masked by a sauce.  It was clean and simple and so good.

The second restaurant was Carvalho's, a new Brazilian place that opened up in the Valley.  Up until now there hasn't been an Brazilian place in town in our price range that offers the kind of meals that Jon had when he was in Brazil for two years, so we were very excited to visit.

We started with pastéis, which were small beef turnovers served with a spicy emulsion-sauce.  Interestingly these reminded me most of the fried wontons that had growing up, which is a completely different cuisine, but whatever.  They were very delicious and oily in the right way.  For main courses, Jon ordered what he knew would be closest to what he had every day in Brazil - a beans and rice dish.  His plate was served with a small steak but a ton of rice and beans and some greens on the side.  I ordered the Feijoada, which as I understand it is Brazil's signature meal.  I was surprised when the server set down five plates in front of me and told me that it was up to me to assemble my plate to my liking with each of the elements.  It was slightly overwhelming, but also fun.  As I was eating, the thought entered my mind: This is comfort food.  It made me wish I could transport myself to a cool fall day, perhaps a little rainy, and I'm inside wearing thick tube socks and eating these beans and rice to stay warm.  It was a great moment, and I definitely mean to learn how to make this dish by the time it cools down around here.

And of course Jon had to order Pudim de Leite for dessert, which is Brazil's version of flan.  I personally cannot eat it, no matter how many times I have tried it.  But this is good for Jon because it means he doesn't have to share it with me.

I highly recommended both of these restaurants.  I have been wanting to back to Carvalho's ever since we left, and I actually went back to Distrito with my mom and sister shortly after Jon and I went.  Definitely keepers for me!

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