A Free Lunch with a Brazilian Flavor

If you are a frequent reader of this paper, you likely noticed last month’s advertisement by the Winter Park dining establishment Nelore. The Brazilian churrascaria’s ad off ered Rollins students a free lunch — an offer I eagerly bit into on more than one occasion. Churrascaria, roughly translated from the Portuguese word, means “barbecue,” but the truth is, Nelore is much more than just that. While offering students and the Winter Park community a wide selection of fresh vegetables and Brazilian specialties at great prices, Nelore is, like Brazil itself, famous for its generous selection of mouth-watering meats.

But let us not get ahead of ourselves. A dinner here begins at the salad bar, and Nelore has one of the area’s very best. It is so good that you have to be careful not to fill up on just the wide assortment of fresh vegetables, cheese and numerous Brazilian takes on classic international dishes. The potato salad and the tabule are just two of the popular dishes on which the experienced chefs in the kitchen put a special Brazilian twist. Over 40 items altogether populate the salad bar, including hot items such as classic Brazilian beans and rice, buttered mashed potatoes and creamy parmesan pasta. This is only the tip of the iceberg that is Nelore Churrascaria. The main dinner course is a traditional Brazilian rodizio. Now you might be asking, what is rodizio? We can say that Brazil is famous for namely three things: Gisele Bundchen, Brazilian waxing and the Samba. But, like the Alexandre Dumas novel, the country has a fourth Musketeer that is the real star of the show: rodizio!

For those who have never been to Brazil, rodizio is a thrillingly carnivorous form of dining in which the restaurant’s “gauchos” (Brazilian cowboys that have, for centuries, been roasting meat) roam around the dining room holding aloft skewers of juicy, premium cut beef, chicken and pork. There are 15 various cuts of meat altogether, so it is best to come with an empty stomach! My personal favorite is the tender, roasted pork loin wrapped in juicy bacon strips. Indeed, the desire to abandon this article as I write this line in favor of one or two scintillating cuts of fi let mignon is so strong that it takes every ounce of journalistic integrity I have mustered up inside of me to stay seated at my little corner table. Laugh if you must, but if you were in my position, having already sampled the delights of this fi ne Brazilian establishment, you would be in even less control of your salivary glands as I am just by writing this. The beef here is so divine that I am tempted to believe, as Hinduism teaches, that the cow is sacred and the mother of the Gods. Who would have guessed that the original Avatar, the Hindu God Krishna, was actually onto something when he said the cow was his favorite animal and therefore divine? He has obviously been to Nelore.

But Nelore is not all about eating, it is also about having fun–and learning color coordination. If you want the parading gauchos to load up your plate with the good stuff , then keep the card next to you turned to show the green side–green means go! Accordingly, if then the plethora of heavenly meats becomes too much for you to handle, simply flip the card to show red. Get it?

Nelore is not your standard, run-of-the-mill Park Avenue restaurant for the well-educated or well-married; nay, you do not have to be literate to enjoy a night out here! Sixth century prophets aside, now is as great a time as any to try the Rodizio or vegetarian options as the restaurant, located off of Park and Lyman, prepares for its fi rst anniversary next month. With an incredibly welcoming and friendly staff of waiters, chefs and gauchos, Nelore is one stop that would be a shame to miss.

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