Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Brasil Coffee House - Starbucks What?

Brasil Coffee House - 48-19 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101
7 Train to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave

I was pleasantly surprised to find a different coffee shop in this nabe and no Starbucks in sight. Although the Brasil Coffee House is a chain, it's a small chain consisting of 2 locations in LIC, 1 in Manhattan and another one in Miami. And just like its name suggests, they serve fresh brewed Brazilian coffee and even some authentic treats like Pao de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread).

What a cool space! It looks ordinary from the outside--modern building with casual outdoor seating--but the inside takes you back to the old country. Immediately upon stepping in, you're welcomed by a beautiful mural painting of a Brazilian coffee plantation.

The furnishings are charming antiques and the coolest piece is a Baroque credenza, which functions as a coffee condiment station. And while the entire space is large, it feels very much like your living room at home. Another positive is that unlike a Starbucks, the Brasil Coffee House offers a relaxing, low-key atmosphere--good for studying, reading the morning paper or a good book.

Coffee and Food:
My cousin Vicky tried their house blend and she was pretty happy with it. She admits that she's no coffee connoisseur but described her cup o' joe as "solid and certainly a step above Starbucks."

I myself bought four pieces of the Pao de Queijo, brought it home and served it as a side with my dinner of salmon and cous-cous. It was delicious even when reheated. The portion was generous--I like my pao to be substantial and not the size of a munchkin. The bread and the cheese formed a perfect marriage--a savory and somewhat stringy treat.

Want to make your own coffee and treats--Brasil style? Check out Brasil Coffee House's online recipes.

Service and Cost:
Not much service here; you order from the counter and sit down. Our server was polite though and sported a charming Brazilian accent, which is always a plus in my book.

The prices of coffee are average and my cousin paid slightly less than $2 for her house blend. My Pao de Queijo came at a premium for a whopping $.50 per ball. What ever happened to garlic knot prices--4 for $1!?

2 Mmmms

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