It may be carnival time in Brazil, but freezing rain doesn't exactly put me in the mood for samba dancing. I could sure go for some feijoada (pronounced "FEY-zhu-ah-da"), though. Often called the national dish of Brazil, it's a thick, incredibly warming black bean stew traditionally made with all sorts of beef and pork—tongue, pig's feet, sausage, etc—though it seems there are as many variations as there are cooks. At Lakeview's Brazilian Bowl, owner and Sao Paolo native Tony Ferreira uses his mother's recipe, which calls for bacon, pork, and the Brazilian sausage paio—"all the meats must be smoked," he says. His comes sprinkled with farofa (toasted manioc powder), garnished with a few orange slices, and served with collard greens and rice as well as a side salad, a feast for $7.95.
As for samba, tomorrow at 7 PM the restaurant will host a party featuring music and samba girls; it's BYO, with no cover. Afterward, Ferreira and his crew are heading over to Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, where from 10 PM to 3 AM Chicago Samba is throwing a carnival party with music, a parade, samba lessons, a costume contest, food, and $5 caipirinhas; it's $15 online in advance, $20 at the door.
Other places around town where you can find feijoada include Taylor Street's Sabor Express (weekends only), Oak Park's Taste of Brasil (where it's now available daily), and Sinhá, where the charming Jorgina Pereira—who once made a vegetarian feijoada for 600—serves weekday lunch and Sunday brunch in her home on West Adams.
Brazilian Bowl, 3204 N. Broadway, 773-857-2002, brazilianbowl.com