Thursday, September 13, 2012

Perfect Pernil

One of the many things that fills my life with joy is my love of the open market. Every week, I go to my local market, converse with the vendors, and buy my produce for the week. I always leave a happier person than when I arrived. When I told my Brazilian friends about this love of mine, they all insisted that I go to Ceasa, the biggest open market in São Paulo. This market is about an hour from my place on metro and train, and it is only on Saturdays and Sundays until 1pm. It took me a while to get my ass over there because getting out of bed by 9am after a good São Paulo night proves to be quite difficult. However, one early Saturday morning, I finally managed drag myself out of bed and hop on the public transit. And oooohhhh man, was it worth it. Aisle after aisle after aisle of beautiful, cheap fruits and veg. Plus, they had many things that I haven't seen at any other markets or grocery stores, such as anheim chiles and poblanos. It was intoxicating.

Of course looking at the rainbow of produce started my mind racing of dishes to prepare, which of course, made me very hungry. I saw smoke rising and the smell of grilled meat alerted me. I felt like a cartoon character as I followed the scent with my nose. It lead me to this:

It was beautiful, and the smell made me voraciously hungry. A huge leg of pork (pernil), smothered in sauce, smoking on the grill. I ordered the recommended sandwich, Sanduiche de Pernil com molha BBQ. The grillmaster started slicing chunks off the leg, adding peppers and onions to it on the grill, and squirted some BBQ sauce on the whole mix. Stomach was officially growling. Finally, he hands over my lovely, most delicious sandwich. I took a seat and hugged my jacket closer to me. It was an exceptionally cold and drizzly day out, which made the steam from my sandwich even more visible. The pork was so soft, tender, juicy, and piping hot. I immediately started to get warmer from the inside, out. The sweet, spicy BBQ sauce enveloped the smokey pork/onion/pepper combo all tucked in a fresh, crusty french bread. It was hard keeping all of it inside; I'm talking about the pork in the sandwich and my emotions for it. What a satisfying treat to top off my already great morning at the market. Ceasa was just as good as the rave reviews that I heard about it.

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