Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Night time flowers, evening roses

Bless this garden that never closes

Treat her gently, treat her kind
Tenderloin will last all night.

Blue Oyster Cult - "Tenderloin"

One of the many events that occurred during my blogging absence was my birthday. My present was a trip ATB (Across The Bay for you non-Shore people; going Across The Bay involves driving 1.5 hours, traveling across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and forking over $12 for the pleasure of doing so. It's where Shore folk go for a little civilization.) to go out to dinner and listen to David Sedaris. David Sedaris is a humorist who is often featured on NPR or in the New Yorker, and is one of my favorite writers. We were accompanied by our friends Tom and Mary, fellow Sedaris fans and also vegetarians. What does that matter, you ask? The significance of their dietary preferences will become clear later.

We planned to eat at a great little restaurant in downtown Norfolk but it was full to capacity, so we strolled in search of a dining adventure. Indian? No, Tracy doesn't care for Indian. Oops, the tapas place is closed on Sundays. Mexican? No, we can get that on the Shore. What shall we eat?

Then, like a Beacon in the night, we spot a Brazilian restaurant. Why not? It wasn't crowded.The interior was attractive and welcoming. We were seated by a waitress of some Ukranian-type descent. As we waited for our menus we noticed an odd item on the table. It resembled a multicolored salt shaker painted red, yellow and green. Then we saw, in the distance, a waiter with a sword (I am not kidding) of meat.

As we muttered under our breath wondering what in the world we had gotten ourselves into, our waitress approached and asked in her heavily accented English if we had been to a Brazilian restaurant before. When we confessed our ignorance, she picked up the salt-shaker thingy and explained "If you vant to eat ze meat you turn to ze green. If you want to stop ze meat or take a break from meat, turn to ze red".



After she left there was some nervous laughter and glancing around in an attempt to learn from observation of other diners. We hemmed and hawed but finally decided to "turn to ze green". What the hell.

Within seconds a waiter magically appeared with the giant sword. He was closely followed by another, also armed with a sword of meat. They described the cuts and preparation of each. I looked across the table at the vegetarians, who's eyes were wide with horror and disbelief. Tracy and I, on the other hand, were eager to have some of the bacon-wrapped filet and spiced grilled chicken (both were some of the most deliciously prepared meats I have tasted, by the way). These swords were later followed by others that included pork and lamb as well as more beef and chicken fabulously cooked in a variety of ways.

The waiters seemed concerned about Tom and Mary. They were especially perplexed by Tom. Mary did eat a little chicken, but Tom steadfastly declined each offer of "you like ze meat?". I believe they began to take it as a personal challenge, perhaps making bets in the kitchen about who could ply this mysterious diner with the choicest cuts. No dice.

In addition to ze swords of meat, as we began to refer to them, they also had a fantastic buffet with lots of vegetarian options. Everything was delicious. It was clear that the staff took great pride in the quality of the food, evidenced by the owner/chef (an elderly foreign woman) following Tracy almost INTO the men's room to ask "Do you like ze meat? Are you pleased with ze meat?". Tracy assured her he was, then fled from her.

At some point we decided to "take a break from meat". It became exhausting having to converse with the men with swords as they hawked their wares and looked crestfallen when Tom politely declined, again. So we "turned to ze red" and feel delirious with power when the sword men immediately faded away.
Finally, too full to eat any more of "ze meat", we left and walked to the David Sedaris reading. He is side-splittingly funny and I laughed a lot, but I think we laughed almost as much about the oddball restaurant experience. I have since learned that this is SOP at a Brazilian place, and evidently they are suddenly the "in" thing. Who knew we were so cutting edge? I would highly recommend it.

Unless you are a vegetarian.

**Today's photos are clearly Halloween. In case you are wondering why Tracy's nether regions look a little, um, odd, he was "Testicles, Greek God of male sex organs".


Karen said...

Hi from chilly Wisconsin! You and I have many similar music and book interests - fun!

I have been to one of those restaurants and it is a LOT of meat. But we enjoyed it very much.

Love your photos. I'm wondering if your birthday is around mine too, but probably later. I'm a Libra.

Anyway, nice to visit your blog. Michele sent me.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I have never been to a Brazilian Restaurant...Though there is one here in the Hollywood area thet "Delivers"...LOL! Nothing on the "to go" menu resembles the experience you describe, which, ny the way, sounds really fantastic!! I wish I could see a picture of The Sword Of Meat....LOL!


Melody said...

What a great little post! It is always scary going to a new restaurant, especailly one whose cuisine you've never had before. I remember many moons ago going to a Jamacian Restaurant and loving it!

TheArthurs said...

Oh. My. God. The image of Tom and Mary at a Brazilian Steakhouse is almost more than I can stand! There was one in an old renovated tobacco warehouse in Durham when we lived there, and the meat was overwhelming but, as you experienced, some of the best I've ever had.
The Halloween pictures make me smile, especially all the familiar faces. Seeing so many that I don't recognize makes me sad in a way - just a reminder of how long we've been gone from there and how you've moved on without me. :)
Hey, I met Barack Obama's sister today when I was at his headquarters volunteering, and I'm in charge of doling out ten "preferred seating" tickets in my precinct for a rally where he and his wife are appearing with Oprah! God, I love living in Iowa.

The Turmanators said...

Janice, I hate you. I hate you for moving away from me. I hate you for not being in the Halloween photos. I hate you for not scarfing "ze meat" with me, and I hate you for meeting B. Obama's sister! (Missing you terribly, if you can't tell). I will try to post some more familiar faces from the par-tay...Mary got some better ones. I am conspicuously absent for some reason.

Karen said...

Hi - back again, via Michele's! Now I get to answer your question - my birthday is October 15th. I love fall - it's my favorite season.

OK, gotta get ready for the big game tonight - Packers against the Cowboys. Go Pack!

Have a great day!

gemma said...

Michele sent me and glad she did. That is such a great story about being introduced to the Brazilian restaurant. We have one nearby and all the waiters are dressed as's terrific and what a riot to think about a Vegetarian experiencing their swordplay.

TheArthurs said...

Oh yeah? Well, I hate you for making new friends who aren't me, so there!
(You know you're a mom when typing the words "I hate you" feels really, really naughty!)

Deana said...

That restaurant story is just hilarious. I would've been so confused. And your pictures are just great...what cool costumes everyone picked out!

I have picked up that guys books several times and never actually read one so I need to try him out.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Thanks for your visit, my dear...So glad 'the short people' liked seeing the birdies having a great snack....I do think they come back for more if it something that is very very tasty....even the Juniper Berries....! It is sad though to see a bird fly into a window.....Here, I see that happening when they cannot see the window because the light is going the wrong way....Poor Dears....!

PI said...

That sounds like a hilarious evening- what fun. Thank you for your visit earlier.

Auntie said...

I am laughing sooooo hard right now. I am thinking of us saying "to take a brrrreak from meat" hahahhahahahahahahahahahahah

Love all the pics, so glad to have you back!

Miss you, see you soon!

Auntie said...

P.S. Janice, I hate you too! You moved from Durham, darnit! There goes my plan for making Amy move here.

Catherine said...

That sounds like quite an experience. Michele sent me over to enjoy it by proxy

TheArthurs said...

Clare, I think you have a hell of a lot better chance of getting Amy to move to Durham than I have of getting her to move to Des Moines.
Maybe we could all converge in the middle somewhere and move to...Ohio? Nah, I'll settle for the blog to keep me in touch.

Long Day With Short People said...

All right, Janice and Clare...what up with you trying to relocate me? What's wrong with you guys joining (REjoining, in Janice's case) on the Sho'? Join me in BFE.

Auntie said...

Ohio doesn't sound half bad. Atleast I would see some stinkin' snow.

Becky68 said...

What cool pictureBs, we did the eyeballs for our 'haunted porch' this halloween.
Sounds like you had a lot of fun, I haven't been to that area in over 10 years, I'll have to start thinking about it (I live in SW Virginia, so it's no day trip)
Michele sent me tonight.

Becky68 said...

To answer your question on my blog I live in Floyd County, but I'm not a native, I'm originally from Massachusetts, I've been here off & on for 20 years though. ;^)

utenzi said...

Hmmm. You make a very nice looking American Indian. The Brazilian restaurant sounds very interesting. I'll have to try one out if there's any near here.