Taste of Brazil

Featured Article,Food and Travel,International Food
September 27, 2011

A Brazilian native dishes up the flavors of her country daily at her Arkansas cafe.

Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blackburn

At Bossa Nova, an easygoing Brazilian café improbably located in Little Rock, Ark., everything  is good. But, as my friend Louise says, “I love the black beans so much it’s hard for me to order anything else.”

Marinated Hearts of Palm

Although feijoada, Brazil’s most famous dish, is typically ultra-meaty (“In Brazil, we put everything in but the squeal,” says owner Rosalia), we usually end up ordering the vegetarian arroz con feijao (rice with beans), perfected by an herbal slaw-salsa of tomato, onions and cucumber (Vinagrete), with a sprightly collard green salad, and, on the side, devilish little red malagueta peppers in oil.

You can find trim and chic Rosalia at the front of the cafe, but she is happiest in the kitchen, where, in apron and hairnet, she works side by side with the mostly Latino personnel. Bossa Nova hums along tri-lingually: in English, Spanish and her native Portuguese.
—By Crescent Dragonwagon


Marinated Hearts of Palm

Add a teaspoon of honey to the vinaigrette to make it a little sweet or a mashed malaguete pepper to make it a little hot.


Feijao (Brazillian Black Beans)

Tender, savory and succulent, these vegetarian black beans are a daily staple in Brazil and never fail to satisfy.


Vinagrete (Brazilian Tomato Slaw)

This refreshing combination, something like a salad-textured gazpacho, makes a fresh, piquant side for a Brazilian black bean plate.


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