6/11/2012 01:26:00 PM

The Best Thing We Ate This Weekend: Feijoada at Sushi Samba Rio

Sushi Samba Rio may be known for its trendy sushi, exotic flavors and lounge-like decor, but a little-known twist is happening at this River North restaurant on Saturday and Sunday morning: brunch. Staples such as French toast get a Latin influence with doce de leite; waffles are made with quinoa; and benedict is served with lobster.
One item in particular stood out though for offering a lesson in Brazilian culture. Feijoada is a hybrid of chili and stew. In Brazil and Portugal it is made using the meat trimmings and leftovers from the evening before, and it's prepared in advance with beef, pork, black beans and seasoning, then simmered for several hours over low heat and served for brunch or lunch with white rice.

Although the hearty dish may not be the most logical choice to start a hot summer day, but the bright flavors elicit an exception. The tender meat is spicy, but balanced by the beans. The ingredients meld in a thick, gravy-like sauce - the product of hours of slow cooking. Maybe it’s not mom’s chili or beef stew, but if mom was Peruvian, it would be.

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