Home-cooked Brazilian brunch
July 13, 2007 (WLS) -- During the week, Jorgina Pereira is a caterer. But on Sundays, she becomes everyone's long-lost Brazilian aunt, cooking up a delicious storm in her narrow, brick home on the city's near West Side. ABC7's Hungry Hound attended a recent brunch, and found the food and entertainment to be absolutely one-of-a-kind.
At first glance, it looks like just another Sunday afternoon gathering in someone's home. But in fact, it's the only time of the week Jorgina Pereira opens up her home to guests, to cook homey dishes from her native Brazil.
Located just a block from the United Center, her brunch-only restaurant is called "Sinha," which is translated, appropriately enough, as "home."
"They have their drinks, and listen to the music," said Pereira. "If they really feel like dancing we always have some entertainment."
Guests start in Pereira's living room, listening to music, nibbling on appetizers, and having some drinks - assuming they brought their own.
Once the dinner bell is heard, everyone goes downstairs, and gets a quick briefing on what to expect on the buffet line. The most important dish of course, is feijoada - an assortment of beef, pork, beans and rice.
"The feijoada can be really different from one state to the other, but I try to do Rio de Janiero style," said Pereira.
The feijoada experience also comes with an assortment of side dishes.
"The feijoada completa is composed of the beans, the rice, the collard greens...you have something called farofa, which is made with cassava flour," said Pereira. "I separate the meats from the beans, and orange is essential, because helps digestion."
Pereira also makes a classic Rio street food, called carajere, which begins with a batter consisting of meticulously cleaned black-eyed peas. The batter is fried; once cooled, they are sliced in half, and filled with an addictive seafood stew called vatapa, which contains shrimp, coconut milk and peppers. Finally, a little salsa of tomatoes, onions and cilantro is draped across the top.
A hearty stew called moqueca is also jammed with shrimp...intended to go over chunks of salmon.
Pereira rotates in new dishes each week, depending on inspiration, such as Nigerian-influenced chicken skewers with peanuts. Other highlights include polenta and cheese-stuffed jalapeno peppers, and the addictive cheese breads that are replenished throughout the meal.
You can learn how to make a classic caipirinha with limes and sugar - assuming you bring the cachaca - and if it's nice outside, she'll set up her picture-perfect patio, for the ultimate Brazilian alfresco experience.
It's truly a one-of-a-kind restaurant, even if it's only open four hours per week.
Brunch is only served from 2 until 6 p.m. There are typically two seatings.
Reservations are a must, since Jorgina and her crew have to know how much food to make for that day.
2018 W. Adams
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