Not far from downtown Fort Lauderdale, just off busy Broward Boulevard, you’ll find a place where chickens peck in the yard, kids play on tire swings and adults gather at picnic tables to feast on food cooked the old-fashioned way, on outdoor wood stoves.
If you’re Brazilian and nostalgic for the hearty food your grandmother made, you’ve come to the right place.
On Saturday nights, Regina Kátia Martins Rodrigues opens the gates of her fazendinha (little farm) in Sailboat Bend and transports her guests to an earlier, simpler time in her native state of Minas Gerais. Everyone is welcome, but she says about 90 percent of the guests are Brazilian.
Vats of moqueca de peixe (fish stew), chicken and okra, dried beef, rice, polenta, ribs, feijao tropeiro with red, black or pink beans and sausage, and much more bubble on stoves in the open-air kitchen, flanked by a Brazilian hammock, overhead pots and mini rolling pins hanging from the horns of a steer.
Rodrigues always starts with soup. As helpers pass her pão de queijo (cheese bread), her husband, Elizeu Silva, cranks out glass after glass of fresh sugarcane juice from an iron grinder and cane that a Homestead farmer delivers weekly.
Rodrigues’ limit is 120 people, and she doesn’t cook every Saturday night, so call to confirm. Reservations are a must. During the month of World Cup games, she and her husband plan to set up a plasma TV in the yard — but only for Brazil games.