Brazilian Edition: TAM Airlines

Well, we made it to Curitiba, Brazil in one piece, and have been here for a few days now. We love the area and the people here, and would probably move here in a heartbeat if it weren’t for the language barrier. We’ve made a few foodie discoveries (which I’ll go into more detail in later posts): we’re not all that crazy about Brazilian cheese (the flavor is a little too processed/sour for our palates), Brazilian beef rocks and is dirt cheap here, and my new favorite dish in the world is feijoada. We’ll be lucky enough to try a home cooked version in a couple of days due to the hospitality of our driver/guide/translator/friend Gilberto and his wife, and we can’t wait! 🙂

Well, let’s start at the beginning. The flight down here was kind of uncomfortable (we ended up sitting on the tarmac at Columbus for two hours, missed our connecting flight, got upgraded to first class for the next flight to Miami, and still made it there with time to spare for our international flight.) We decided to go with a Brazilian airline, TAM, rather than with one of the domestics (AA, Delta, and Continental all offer flights to Brazil), and I’m so glad we did so. Because of the long flight (total travel time for us was 27 hours with layovers, 13 of that spent in the air), we decided to splurge for business class for the long international leg – we had 90″ of pitch was really nice, and one of the benefits of flying business class is that you get fed – a lot. Not only did we get champagne both before and after takeoff, but we got warmed nuts as a snack, a lovely five course dinner, a later snack, and then breafkast in the morning a couple of hours before we landed. And yes, you’re right – foodie me took pics of our airplane food. 😉

Our first and second course is pictured above – a salad that had some mango, coconut, a chicken brochette, and a balsamic dressing, which was edible but not great. I nibbled on the yummy parts, and the protein hit the spot. The rolls (second course bread service) was served with some delicious cultured butter (butter here in Brazil is not like the type we’re used to in the US – it actually has a depth of flavor to it like European butter).

The third course was a cream of zucchini soup, which for all the world reminded me of Campbell’s Cream of Celery. Still, it was nice to have an actual soup course on a plane – it’s something you don’t see everyday for obvious reasons.

For my entree, I chose the grouper over rice with veggies. I usually prefer my fish grilled, but this hit the spot for me, definitely. While it definitely wasn’t gourmet cuisine or presentation, it filled me up and tasted great.

My husband chose the chicken breast with Israeli couscous. The chicken was very moist, but the overall dish was bland. He said I made the better choice of the two entrees.

Next, we were presented with a cheese course. This was my favorite, as evidenced by the fact that I started in on it before remembering to take a pic. Oops. 😉

Finally, there was dessert. I chose fresh fruit, as I was in no mood for anything sweet. It was perfectly ripe and delicious and just what I needed to clean my palate.

I think I could get used to this business class/first class thing. The food definitely beats what you can get in coach.

More about my trip soon, as I am able. I’m set to go under the knife Tuesday, and you can keep up with the medical part of my trip here if you’d like. Until then, as they say here in Brazil, “Tschau!”

4 thoughts on “Brazilian Edition: TAM Airlines

  1. Trig

    Hahaha you wouldn’t believe how many times have I’ve eaten feijoada!! Portuguese peasant food at it’s best.

    Here in Catalunya there’s a special stew called “Escudella” which I’ve become seriously addicted to it. The base is a jamon stock which is cooked gently with various meats, white cabbage and other vegetables. It’s strained and served with fideos (very thin pasta/noodles) which are cooked in the stock before serving. Then in typical Catalan fashion there is a very specific way in which the dish must be served. The stock base is served as a soup with the fideos, next to which is served the “Carn d’olla”, a tray with all the meat used in the stew including botifarra negra (a typical Catalan blood sausage). Then the vegetables from the cooking are served in a seperate adjacent tray, typically potatoes and carrots and such. Like feijoada, it’s a very simple and not especially flavourful dish, but there’s something quite amazing about it.

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