I blame today on me. I really should have known better. We lived in LA for over 5 years; I know my husband hates trying to find parking and hates having to pay outrageous rates to park in a lot. But I casually offered up a visit to the Mercado Municipal and Liberdade today, as I didn’t have it in me this week to go out of the city. So we packed up the wee one, sat through the Sao Paulo traffic and arrived downtown. I was finally taken out of the pristine world I live in here in Brooklin-Paulista (aka the apartment I rarely leave). We passed the homeless that are simply homeless as they are too poor to afford a home, watched little boys pick lice out of their barely 20 year old mother;s hair, and passed by larger groups of the drugged-out, sketchy bums one usually thinks of when picturing a Brazilian bum.
Yes our Garmin kept telling us all kinds of crazy directions as we drove mindlessly in circles. All street parking we found was for old people or loading. We thought we found a spot as the street was lined with cars, but when my husband asked one of the roving ticket guys he told us that he was ticketing the whole line up. The parking garages charged from R$10 to R$15 for the first hour, and around R$6 – R$8 for each additional. The husband was going to have none of that.
We never got out of the car. This is a downtown city, why would I think it would be any different than downtown LA!
So, I convinced the husband that Liberdade may be better.
To paint a picture of Liberdade
For those of you who have been to LA, picture LA’s China Town. Not the China Town in Hawaii, that’s a place worth visiting, but LA’s China Town. A bit rundown, covered in city soot, with stores packed with overly ethnic crap. The stores were full of useless chochkees, mostly from China, not Japan. In fact, I have seen many of these items on the import from china websites I like to buy my stocking stuffers from. There was a Marukai market, but the husband ushered me past muttering that “We are in Brazil, stop trying to cook Japanese food.” I tried to point out that me cooking Japanese food would be very Brazilian, especially in Sao Paulo, but I think he was really saying that he wants to eat Picanha and Feijoada daily.
The street fair is supposed to be large on Sunday, but there were a lot of booths out today as well. I wasn’t that impressed or drawn to anything in particular. Think Venice beach, a lot of random stuff that someone has made, but that you really don’t need.
As the husband was still a bit irritated that we hadn’t just taken the train up, he had to pay (R$10 for the first hour, and R$3 thereafter) to park, fight with the Garmin, and that we never did go to Mercado Municpal, I thought a good old fashion Japanese bakery would cheer him up. It was more like a good old fashion Brazilasian bakery, but hey close enough right?! Itiriki Bakery. We decided to split a roll with crusted swiss cheese and sun dried tomatoes. It was perfectly savory, and crisp, and very delicious.
We purchased a chunk of Maça Bolo (apple cake) to try. The cake part was good, the apple topping was bitter and salty. A Pão de Dulce de Leite, a large “pan” rolled in powdered milk and filled with approximately half a can of dulce de leite (it beat my husband and he was done after 3 bites). I insisted on eating something Japanese, and bought the Morango Daifuku (Strawberry bean filled mochi).
The daifuku was very good, crammed with azuki beans and a sweet strawberry center. I’ve never had a strawberry filled daifuku before, so it was a nice surprise.
After cramming all of the delicious food in my mouth, and liking my milk covered fingers, I realized that all of the proper Brazilian women were holding the bread with their napkins. OOPS! Overall, I~m not a fan of Liberdade, but I think when I finally make it to the Mercado Municipal I may like it.