You know those select few restaurants where you fall head over heels for one dish? The food is amazing, so you feel an obligation to order something new every time you visit; however, you just can’t bring yourself to order anything other than your favorite dish. It makes me feel so boring, ordering the same exact thing every time, but it is so darn good I can’t help myself. That is how I feel about Cafe Brasil, an aptly named Brazilian eatery in Santa Cruz. It’s been about a year since I’ve eaten there and I still day-dream about their food.
I try to visit this place every time I’m in Santa Cruz and on the occasions where I don’t I leave with a longing. The dish that has captured my heart is the portobello breakfast. A marinated and grilled portobello with sautéed spinach and garlic with creamy polenta, tomato slices and bread. Back when I was first introduced to Cafe Brasil, I was not vegan and I would order this with a poached egg, but now for a dollar more I get savory sautéed tofu and veggies. Everything on the plate works in tandem to bring out every flavor you ever hope for in your breakfast. The meatiness of the portobello is met by the sharp tang of the spinach with a wave of buttery, herb-flavored polenta.
I am very big on textures in my food. I like to roll it around with my tongue to get a feel of the food before I eat it. For that reason I love to eat smoothies, high pulp orange juice, chocolate mousse, chia pudding, stew, curry, and, of course, polenta. Polenta is high on the list of textures I love and Cafe Brasil does not disappoint. They also have a fresh juice and smoothie bar, which does give me the opportunity to vary my order up a little bit. Using ingredients like guava, açai, acerola, coconut pulp, avocado, papaya, watermelon, passion fruit, pineapple, mango, and my personal favorite, cashew fruit they make a wide array of tropical juices and smoothies that will blow your mind. I didn’t know until I ate at Cafe Brasil that cashews grow on fruit that looks similar to an apple. Their fruit tastes light, faintly sweet, with a richness similar to that of the cashew itself. With no end to the drink variations I always feel satisfied in ordering something new each time so my order doesn’t seem so predictable.