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Beto’s Birthday Celebration

Eating well is imperative to longevity, as meeting friends and acquaintances for an evening’s wining and dining offers an enjoyable experience. Forget nibbling in a fast-food restaurant and have the patience to sit around a large table chatting. Brazilian’s love it!

My wife’s childhood school buddy, Beto invited around 40 family and friends to his 60th birthday celebration on Saturday to a Portuguese restaurant in São Paulo called Empório do Tuga. It is a simple decorated house turned into eating place that had a very calming atmosphere while offering exquisite cuisine from Portugal. According to a waiter, the owner is Portuguese.

My wife and I tried “bacalhau” which is cod, referring to salted and dried codfish cooked. According to my research, 95% of the codfish that Portuguese cook and eat is dried and salty. Different to English fish and chip shops that fry fresh cod in batter and serve with French fries and mushy peas.

The starter included cod fritters “bolinhos de bacalhau”, and homemade crispy toast topped with arugula and chopped tomato. The main dish came with cod, potatoes, and onions nicely mixed with spices to enhance the flavor, side broccoli and hardboiled eggs. It was very succulent! Dessert was Beto’s birthday cake, a scrumptiously made chocolate mousse cake.

Antonio Sancho (see photo), a renown Portuguese journalist who goes between Portugal and Brazil in his quest to head Mais Alentejo magazine was introduced to me via his partner, a friend of my wife. Antonio is currently facing a difficult challenge with an article he wrote, but hopefully that will soon be behind him.

There was a gentleman named Marcelo, sitting next to me, who came with his eye-catching wife. He also studied at Rio Branco Secondary School in the 70s, a financial executive who has now retired. Then there was Marcia, another friend and life of the party!

Apart from being surrounded by warm, interesting, and friendly characters, a musician sat in the corner playing his classical guitar whilst singing popular Portuguese and Brazilian songs. He was a true inspiration as the night progressed. After the meal, several guests got up and joined in singing and dancing.

This was a night to be long-remembered!

Take care!

Prof. Carl Boniface  


Vocabulary builder:

Nibbling (v) = chewing, pecking, gnawing. Eating, biting

Exquisite (adj) = fine, lovely, superb, wonderful, gorgeous, beautiful, good-looking

Succulent (adj) = juicy, moist, tender, luscious, delicious, tasty

Renown (n) = prominent, celebrity, popular, recognized, famed

Quest (n) = mission, pursuit, search, hunt, journey 

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