Porto Alegre, Brazil: Lancheria do Parque- an Old Fashioned Diner
Fresh Pineapple Juice
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I love old fashioned diners.
So Imagine my joy when I discovered that my new neighborhood has an old fashioned diner! Lancheria do Parque has been there for almost 30 years, serving great food and fresh juice.
When you first walk in, you immediately feel as if you have stepped backward in time. Looking around, you will feel a certain nostalgia of bygone days when things were simpler. Behind the extra-long counter, workers are running around and shouting out orders, and everyone seems to be moving at the speed of light. I prefer to sit at the counter and watch the action because the efficiency of these guys is pretty impressive.
For a mere R$3,00 you can get delicious, fresh suco (fruit juice). They offer papaya, pineapple, orange, mango, and watermelon. They whip it up on the spot and serve you the entire blender cup, so one order is more than enough for two people (seriously).
The lunch buffet is served from 11am to 9pm daily, but they offer a la carte menu items from as early as 6am to as late as 1am every day. Lunch buffet is standard stuff for Brazil; a variety of salad items, rice, beans, pasta, potato salad and meats. The a la carte menu has everything from snacks like torrada simples (grilled ham and cheese) or pastel de carne (meat pastry) to prato feito (blue plate specials).
What is a diner without cheeseburgers? Lancheria do Parque offers a variety of them! Be warned, however, the Brazilian burger is a bit different and it's commonly known as X. Let me explain...Rather than say 'cheeseburger' (as we do in English), Brazilians shorten it to just 'cheese.' The letter X in Portuguese is pronounced sheez, so X=cheese (a bit of Brazilian algebra). You can get a variety of X, but the most popular is X Salada that comes with a thin hamburger patty, lettuce, cheese, peas, corn and mayonaise. Mustard and ketchup are on the side. I am still trying to figure out where the idea for adding peas and corn came from, but I haven't had much luck. Some of the X have ham and egg, too. My advice? Don't ask, just give it a try along with a side of traditional fries (at least those have remained the same) and let me know what you think. I've had the X Salada and although I would never choose it over a real American cheeseburger, I must say that it's actually pretty good.
Lancheria do Parque
Avenida Osvaldo Aranha, 1086
Bom Fim, Porto Alegre (Tel: 3311.8321)
Thank you for reading!
C. De Melo
Author & Artist