Last night we finally ended up at Nelore in WInter Park – a restaurant we have been meaning to try for ages – one I even had a Living Social deal for which was going to expire soon – so that got us moving to make reservations asap.
We invited a couple friends and brought our teenage son and had a really lovely, but seriously carnivorous evening.
Florida in April is beautiful – the weather was in the 80s and Winter Park is one of my favorite places to go. The restaurant was just off of Park Avenue and had an amazing salad bar to go along with all the skewered meats. I finally got to try heart of palm which was pretty delicious – especially if you like artichokes. But lets be honest we weren’t there for the lettuce…
If you have never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, it works like this – you basically get a small disc or token by your plate that you flip to the red or green side depending on whether you are ready for more food – and waiters, or meat wranglers as we like to call them, wander round with large swords of meat. (I really can’t make this stuff up) If they see your disc is green they come on over and slice chunks off for you which you catch with a small pair of tongs so you can put it on your plate before it hits the ground.
It is a pretty entertaining and interactive way to eat vast quantities of food. They have everything from flank steak to ribs, bacon wrapped chicken, sirloin steak, sausage and parmesan encrusted pork – all cooked and served on swords. This is a carnivore’s paradise – there is no girly fish or seafood here just meat LOL
In case you are wondering, this style of cooking comes from the 1800s in South America – the cowboys or gauchos lived off the land and herded cattle for local ranchers. Churrasco (shoo-rhas’co) is their way of cooking – since they had no way of preserving food, the gauchos would gather together after butchering a cow, and skewer and cook the large portions of meat immediately over a wood burning fire. We decided that the salad bar and cheesy bread were likely modern additions LOL
All the guys were having a blast, but the look of incredulous joy on our teenage son’s face was hysterical – flip that disc and a meat wrangler appears by your side and brings you more delicious food – all you can eat! Magic words for any teen who is pretty much a bottomless pit of food consumption.
There was a lot of conversation around taking the little colored discs home and wondering if they would magically work anywhere…. Sitting in class – flip that disc and it rains pork ribs on your desk….Need a midnight snack and the meat fairy shows up with flank steak and a chicken to put under your pillow….
Amazingly enough the parade of food on swords seemed to make the conversation sparkle even more than usual – we lingered over dinner for a couple hours and there was a lot of laughter and good humor. The mood was so infectious that my teenage son ate vegetables and proclaimed that they were really good – I immediately alerted the media since that is a very rare occurrence. He even talked about his math class being fun that day – leading me to wonder “Who are you and what have you done with my son?”
Apparently “meat goggles” make the world seem a little brighter just like “beer goggles” are supposed to make people look better LOL
Somehow we made room for dessert – Creme Brûlée FTW – before staggering home in a meat coma. This is not an event to take lightly – you can’t possibly do this often – I don’t think the human system can take feasting like that on a regular basis, but it was a really fun night and a unique memory to share.