May 31, 2009

Janaina Tschäpe’s third solo show at galeria Fortes Vilaça in São Paulo

Janaina Tschäpe’s third solo show just opened at Galeria Fortes Vilaça's Galpão (Warehouse). Little piece of trivia: she's the wife of celebrated artist Vik Muniz (click here to read about his show at the Masp museum).

According to the gallery, "Tschäpe is bringing to Brazil highlights from her most recent production, including paintings, watercolors, drawings, photographs from her Botanica series, and a video from her Eclipse series, all shown here for the first time.

On her huge canvas Wilt – six meters long by three meters high – and in her large watercolors, Tschäpe flirts with abstraction and landscape. The forms, full of folds and concavities, expand in organic lines, revealing a precise balance between gestuality and detail. The artist creates moist environments resembling rainy places, like “forest fog.” Using a palette of purple, green, pink and blue hues, her artwork seem to be scenes of the same place, at different phases of the day.

All the artworks in the show deal with the theme of landscape: in a more distanced way in the paintings and watercolors, and in a more intimate manner – with small “close-ups” – in the drawings and photographs. The colored-pencil drawings are made with light lines and beckon the viewer to come closer, in order to appreciate their minimal details and delicate chromatic relations.

Tschäpe points out that “in painting we have the freedom to prolong the forms to where we desire; with photography I have
tried to repeat this experience.” In the photographs of the Botanica series, the artist uses real, natural scenes to which she adds invented details: a flower inspired in real plant species, but made of colored modeling compound and plastic. With vibrant
colors, these small deceptions resemble true fruits and vegetables, but give provoke feelings of strangeness and curiosity, since
at first sight it is not obvious what is real and what is invented in the landscape.

Until 12 June, a retrospective of Tschäpe’s work – centered more on photographs and videos – can be seen at Galeria de Arte Laura Alvin in Rio de Janeiro. Still in 2009, the artist will be participating at the Triennial of the International Center of
Photography, New York, and will hold a solo show at Kasama Nichido Art Museum, in Japan. The 2008, the artist had a large solo show at IMMA – Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin."

And here's the link to Janaína's online bio.

31 May 2009 to 4 July 2009 | Galpão Fortes Vilaça | Rua James Holland 71 |
Barra Funda, São Paulo, tel. 55-11 3392-3942
Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. | Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Information: Márcia de Moraes

Current exhibition:
14 May – 20 June 2009, Robert Mapplethorpe | Galeria
Upcoming exhibitions:
18 July – 15 August 2009, José Damasceno | Galpão

More things to do and see in São Paulo:

Aizomê, voted top Japanese restaurant in São Paulo

One of the things that surprises first-time São Paulo visitors is that the city has some

of the best Japanese food in the world. No, really! The reason is simple: no other city outside of Japan has as many Japanese descendents. Not even New York.

So it naturally follows that Brazilians are used to eating Japanese food. There are thousands and thousands of sushi places, many of them better than most of what you find in the U.S.

And then there are the top Japanese places. Which, of course, are always up for discussion. Some claim Jun Sakamoto is the best in town, others swear that it's Kinoshita. I think that it's sort of like comparing apples and oranges. Jun does traditional sushi, and only sushi at the counter, while the hot dishes play second fiddle. He does not mess with the classic niguiri. No fusion going on here.

At Kinoshita, the opposite is true. They'll do basic sushi and sashimi but that's definitely not their strong suit and it would be a waste to order something that boring, At Kinoshita, the way to go is to order the tasting menu, which changes often, and prepare to be wowed.

But I digress.

I want to tell you about a third highly-rated Japanese restaurant, called Aizomê. The city's biggest weekly magazine (the New York Magazine of Sao Paulo), called Vejinha, elected it best Japanese in town, which raised many eyebrows. I, for one, was skeptical. The best in town, really?!

Turns out the voting rules had been twisted, and it wasn't exactly a very fair win. Won't bore you with the details. Point is, I went there to try their tasting menu and it became instantly clear to me that while it was quite good it's also a couple of notches BELOW both Jun and Kinoshita. No question.

The chef is Shinya Koike, or Shin for short. The restaurant is quite small, with an U-shaped counter, and opened in 2007. Boring, old-fashioned décor.
Strange amuse bouches left me wanting more: some sort of root with julienned carrot; green beans with miso and sesame; eggplant with miso; morsels of overcooked fish; seaweed with more of the julienned carrots.

The tasting menu started with angel-hair-like cucumber with shrimp in a martini glass. Refreshing.

Eel with foie and mushroom "risotto" (not exactly risotto). Nice sweet-savoury contrast, silky and soft texture.

Carpaccio of halibut with ponzu sauce and beet sprouts. Not original but delish.

The sashimi was over-spiced. In fact, why spice it at all? The octopus came sprinkled with what they call "7 peppers". Firey indeed! The yellowtail was seasoned with sesame oil, which was too bad because I love the taste of that fish.

Mushroom custard with truffle oil. And, next to it, duck
served atop a silky mandioquinha purée and pink peppercorns. Not sure this was meant to be eaten with chopsticks, it was very awkward. And the pepper took over the dish... Not my favourite.

Then came the sushi, also overly seasoned with pepper. Strange sequence.... The heartier, strong-flavoured duck should

have followed it. Still, the niguiri was beautiful.

Fish with aspargus and zuchini flower. Not memorable.

Surprisingly, the desserts were the highlights of the meal.

Tofu cheesecake with berry sauce:

Chocolate Soufflé (more like a molten lava cake).

Sliced fruit with ice cream.

Tofu tiramisu.

In short, Aizomê is a good bet if you've already been to Jun Sakamoto and to Kinoshita

and really want to try something new.

ps. take your own wine and pay the corkage fee, since their wine list is laughable.

Alameda Fernão Cardim, 39, Cerqueira César, tel. (11) 3251-5157

And more Japanese restaurants reviewed in this blog:

May 27, 2009

São Paulo's top 3 hotels: Fasano, Emiliano and Unique

I get this question all the time: "I'm coming to São Paulo, where should I stay?" The answer is easy, and I’ll share it here: São Paulo huge offering of hotels and flats (serviced apartments for longer stays) have three clear winners. Few will argue that the city’s best hotels are the Fasano, the Emiliano and the Unique, in that order. Here’s why:

Hotel Emiliano

The 57-room Emiliano hotel, in the Jardins, São Paulo's poshest district, is steps away from all the best shops and cafés. There’s a great restaurant and champagne bar. Rooms are done in blond woods with pullout fridges. Very nice.
Rua Oscar Freire 384, tel. 55 11 3068 4399

Hotel Fasano

This is understated luxury at its best, Milanese style. The lobby is constantly abuzz with the comings and goings of well-known and well-heeled paulistas (the reception per se is hidden behind the elevators and is as discreet as can be, pictured below).

To the right of the lobby, you’ll find Fasano, the best and by far the most stunning Italian restaurant in town.
To its left, tucked away in a corner, is the ultra-cool Baretto, a hotel bar in the old style, with live music every night. Every so often, owner Rogerio Fasano invites an A-list crooner to play a show or two. Caetano Veloso, Marina, you name it – all the bigs have been here. Rooms are decorated with rugs, books and antiques hand-picked by owner Rogerio Fasano on his travels. The location in the heart of Jardins and steps away from some of the best boutiques in town doesn't hurt, either.
Rua Vittorio Fasano 88, tel. 55 11 3896 4077

Hotel Unique
The Unique lives up to its name: the iconic architecture resembles a slice of watermelon on stilts, with round windows in lieu of black seeds.

The hotel, designed by famed architect Ruy Ohtake, is equally breathtaking inside: the soaring lobby has a nook with reclaimed wood trunks for furniture, for example. The Unique is near the Ibirapuera Park, and a short cab ride from the heart of Jardins or Itaim. The all-white bedrooms are as far from cookie-cutter as it gets, with bathrooms opening into the rooms. The rooftop red-tiled pool and adjacent lounge boast incredible views.
Avenida Brigadero Luís Antônio, São Paulo, 55 11 3055 4700

Soon.... I will talk about the other great hotels of São Paulo, which are:

Tivoli Mofarrej


Grand Hyatt

Meliá Jardim Europa

More São Paulo on this blog:




Alex Atala:
Coffee Shops, Pastry Shops, snacks:

Japanese restaurants:

May 23, 2009

Cine Marabá: one of São Paulo’s grand old movie theaters reopens after full restoration

São Paulo is a city known for turning its back on its past and ravaging most of its architectural past. The beautiful Centro – or Old Downtown – is only a shadow of what is once was, sadly, as moneyed paulistas moved out of the beautiful marble-faced buildings and settled in newer neighbourhoods like Jardins and Itaim.

The Centro was always known, among other things, for its stunningly elegant movie theatres, where once the beau monde used to go watch movies in all their finery – jacket and tie for the men, long dresses for the gals. Then it all went downhill.

Many of these theaters dispappeared, some having been transformed into “temples” of shady religious sects. Yet there is hope. Thankfully the movie distribution company Play Arte did the ballsy move of buying the legendary Cine Marabá and restoring it to its old glory. The new Cine Marabá opens to the public next Saturday, May 30. This is a great chance to get on a subway - the Marabá is a mere 300 meters from the República station - and go see a piece of São Paulo's history come back to life.

When it opened, in 1944, it was the finest movie theater in town – and soon became one of the most popular, too. In its heyday, more than 50,000 people watched movies at the Marabá each week. The grand staircase had gilded detailing and hand rails. It was the jewel in the crown of what was once called the Cinelândia: the Centro once had a whopping 30 movie theaters.

Architect Ruy Ohtake was put in charge of the new project, which split the once gargantuan main exhibition room (with 1655 seats) into five separate rooms. Eight million reais were spent on the restoration. Original parquet floors were re-installed in the lobby, where nine coats of paint were removed from the tall columns.

You can click here to watch a video of a walk-through of the Marabá with restorer Samuel Kruchin.

A second video on the same page shows images of São Paulo’s Cinelândia in its heyday. Both videos are in Portuguese.

Photo credits: Before shot, by wilnat 57; After shot by Vidas Amargas

More on São Paulo's Centro on this blog:

May 22, 2009

Official schedule and quota for blacks: São Paulo Fashion Week 2009

Here is the lineup for this year's São Paulo Fashion Week, which will take place in June. Worthy of mention: they announced that they've introduced a quota whereby there will be a minimum number of models of black or indian descent imposed. Interesting to see how that will play out... I have highlighted the more noteworthy shows in bold.

Wednesday June 17
3 pm Osklen
5 pm Priscila Darolt
6 pm V. Rom
7pm Paola Robba
8h15pm Uma
9h30 pm Colcci

Thursday June 18
1h30pm Iodice
3h30pm Maria Bonita
4h30pm Alexandre Herchcovitch
17h30 Cori
7pm Forum Tufi Duek
8h15pm Huis Clos
9h30pm Cia. Marítima

Friday June 19
12h15 Reinaldo Lourenço
3h30 Simone Nunes
4h30 Agua de Coco
5h30 Carlota Joaquina
6h30 Fabia Bercsek
7h30 Ellus
9 Triton

Saturday June 20
12h45 Gloria Coelho
3h30 Erika Ikezili
4h30 Maria Garcia
6h30 Fause Haten
7 2nd Floor
8h15 Oestúdio
9h30 Animale

Sunday June 21
12 Cavalera
2h30 Neon
3h30 Ronaldo Fraga
5 Jefferson Kulig
6 Mario Queiroz
7h30 Lino Villaventura

Monday June 22
3 Isabela Capeto
4 Wilson Ranieri
5 Movimento
6 Alexandre Herchcovitch Men
7 Reserva
8h15 Samuel Cirnansck
9h30 André Lima

More São Paulo fashion and shopping on this blog:

May 20, 2009

Casas Brancas is the place to stay in Búzios, the beach resort town near Rio

Casas Brancas is the oldest luxury hotel in Búzios, yet looks as new as ever thanks to a recent overhaul. It has earned accolades in, among others, The New York Times and the Condé Nást Traveler and is pretty much the best place to stay in town.

The hotel is perched over Armação Bay and it is only a 5-minute stroll from the main pedestrian thoroughfare: great, since you can walk to dinner and to the myriad little shops.

Casas Brancas has 32 apartments, which either face the ocean or the gardens. The deluxe rooms
have ocean views and verandahs, as do the suites, which are the largest room category.

Locals like to stop in for massages at the spa, one of the best-equipped in town.

Casas Brancas Boutique Hotel
Alto do Humaitá, 10
Búzios, Rio state
Tel: +55 22 2623 1458

And more about Búzios: a complete listing of all the best restaurants

May 19, 2009

Brazil on show at the MoMA in New York: museum shop sells Camila Sarpi jewels and Arthur Casas cutlery

There are moments when I am especially proud of being Brazilian. Today, as I walked out of lunch at The Modern, the great restaurant adjacent to the MoMA, I stopped by the MoMA store to look at all the Brazilian stuff being featured in the new collection called Destination Brazil. I loved seeing the work of my jeweller friend Camila Sarpi on display - gold honeycomb earrings with hand-stitched detailing (pictured above). Very impressive! Also very nice: cutlery by architect and furniture designer Arthur Casas, his line is called Jararaca, which is a kind of snake. Click here to see photos of the whole collection.

And Brazil is not just in the museum shop, but also hanging on the walls. Until June 15, the work of Mira Schendel will be on show, in a joint exhibition with Argentinian León Ferrari.

As MoMA's site says, they are considered "among the most significant artists working in Latin America during the second half of the twentieth century. Their works address language as a major visual subject matter: the visual body of language, the embodiment of voices as words and gestures, and language as a metaphor of the worldly aspect of human existence through the eloquence of naming and writing. They produced their works in the neighboring countries of Argentina and Brazil throughout the 1960s and 1980s, when the question of language was particularly central to Western culture due to the central role taken by post-structuralism, semiotics, and the philosophy of language. Although their drawings, sculptures, and paintings are contemporary with the birth of Conceptualism, they are distinctively different, and have not yet been exhibited in their entirety in the United States."

May 15, 2009

Explosive fashion news: Alexandre Herchcovitch replaces Amir Slama at the helm of Rosa Chá

Can't say I saw this one coming.... Brazil's main daily paper, Folha de São Paulo, said today that Alexandre Herchcovitch is taking over the position of creative director at Rosa Chá, which was always held by the swimwear brand's founder Amir Slama.

Slama founded Rosa Chá in 93 and managed to set itself apart from the pack, in a country known for an abundance of great swimwear brands. He turned Rosa Chá into the hottest brand in the country and famous models donned his designs on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and countless fashion editorials. He had recently sold Rosa Chá to conglomerate Marisol, and rumours say the new owners weren't happy with the sales.

Slama steps down in June, but Herchcovitch's first collection for Rosa Chá will only be unveiled next year. It will be very fun to see what edgy Herchcovitch does with the brand, best known for its ultra-sexy, ornament heavy suits and bikinis.

It's not like Herchcovitch (pictured below) needed any more on his plate.

His eponymous brand has taken off abroad and he continues to be among Brazil's most admired and talented designers. His website is very cool and full of videos of his past collections.

To read the story in Portuguese (or, rather, an excerpt), please click here.

More São Paulo fashion and shopping on this blog:

May 14, 2009

Kaa, a stunning São Paulo restaurant, has new menu by chef Pascal Valero

Opened in December of 2008, Kaa is one of São Paulo's most beautiful restaurants. Huge, its trademark is the "live wall" covered with greenery. The menu has just been redone by one of the city's top chefs, Pascal Valero. Favourites include the ravioli of foie gras with mushrooms and truffle oil (R$ 54, pictured below) and the shrimp, zuchini flower and vegetable tempura (R$ 64).

Valero is not only a chef but also a pâtissier. He suggests for dessert a caramel tiramisù with coffee granita and hazelnut nougatine (R$ 15).

Here are other dishes featured on the menu:

Terrine de foie gras com flor de sal e marmelada de figo
R$ 44,00
Ravióli de foie gras e champignon com molho de Paris e azeite de trufas
R$ 54,00
Stinco de vitela assada com polenta mole de quirela, pinhões e cogumelos
R$ 59,00
Tortelini de bacalhau, bechamel de alho porro e molho de champignons
R$ 45,00
Camarões e legumes em tempurá ao mediterrâneo
R$ 64,00
Codornas recheadas, coulis de maça com açafrão e morcilha
R$ 53,00
Tiramisù de caramelo com granité de café e nougatine de avelãs
R$ 15,00

Kaa was designed by renowned architect Arthur Casas, and was inspired by the open-air lounges he saw in Ibiza, Miami and the Algarve.

Owners are Paulo Kress (who also has a great burguer place called General Prime Burger), the very in-vogue chef Paulo Barroso de Barros (Due Cuochi) and restaurateur Daniel Sahagoff (Cantaloup).

Av. Juscelino Kubitscheck, 279 – Vila Olímpia
Tel: (55-11) 3045-0043

More São Paulo dining on this blog:

Alex Atala:
Coffee Shops, Pastry Shops, snacks:

Japanese restaurants:

SP arte, Brazil's major art show, opens today in São Paulo

Currently, Brazil's most important art fair is the SP Arte, which opened Thursday in São Paulo.

There is a record number of galleries showing - 80 - including most of the top Brazilian ones as well as galleries from invited countries, such as Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain and France. A whopping 2000 art works are on show and guest curators were brought in from the MoMa and London's Tate Modern.

First launched in 2005, SP Arte has put São Paulo on the global art circuit.

Prices start at a mere 300 reais. The show has some of Brazil's greatest names well represented, like the modernist José Pancetti (1902-1958) and Mira Schendel (1919-1988), the latter also the subject of a show currently at New York's MoMA.

Fortes Vilaça gallery has a great new piece by graffiti artists (and media darlings) Osgemeos, a panel called Rodopiando, priced at US$ 80 000 (a bargain, I think), which you can see in the photo above. There's also a work by Brazil's best-known artist, New York-based Vik Muniz, going for US$ 144 000. Other big names with works on sale include Botero (pictured at top), Cildo Meireles, Di Cavalcanti, Ismael Nery and Beatriz Milhazes. And more: Waltercio Caldas, Ivan Serpa, Janaina Tchape, Rodolpho Parigi, Tunga, Nuno Ramos, Regina Silveira… and even some work by foreigners, like David LaChapelle, Pablo Picasso, Saint Clair Cemin, León Ferrari.

Here is a link to a great slideshow of many of the pieces on show.

And here is an image of a work being offered by the cutting edge Galeria Leme:

In a building adjacent to the Bienal, the Lina Bo Bardi Auditorium of MAM - Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo, there will be a series of cultural events including a talk on art.

Pavilhão da Bienal.
Parque do Ibirapuera, portão 3, tel. (55-11) 3094-2820. Friday, 2PM until 10PM. Weekend, noon to 8PM.

More on art in Brazil on this blog:

  1. The best of Brazilian street art on show at Choque Cultural gallery
  2. Choque Cultural gallery and a show of American art
  3. Osgemeos open a show in Rio
  4. Vik Muniz opens show at the Masp, in São Paulo
  5. Artist Iran do Espírito Santo opens his house in São Paulo to the blog

May 11, 2009

10 Reasons to visit Rio de Janeiro

1 – Santa Teresa (pictured above)
Taking a cab up one of the steep cobblestone roads that lead into Rio's most bohemian neighbourhood
, perched on a hill, feels like leaving the city altogether. Colorful townhouses with wrought-iron gates, friendly neighborhood grocery stores and birds chirping in the trees replace the hustle and bustle of downtown. For decades, poets, musicians and other artsy folk have spent a good part of their days debating and drinking chilled beers at the same old bars – Goiabeira and Santa Saideira - their tables and tiled floors worn down by the years. The main square – where lovely old cablecars make stops every half hour - is picture-perfect, with its washed-out little church, a big tree in the middle and the stunning view of the city below. Before taking the cablecar back down to the city, save time for inexpensive lunch at Aprazível or Bar do Arnaudo, Santa Teresa’s most picturesque restaurants.
Rua Aprazível, 62, T: 55 21 2508-9174
Bar do Arnaudo:
Rua Almirante Alexandrino 316-B, T: 55 21 2252-7246,

2 – Sugarloaf

Rio tends to evoke many clichés: samba, girls, soccer and… the Sugarloaf. The landmark deserves its fame: from the top of Pão de Açúcar hill (the Sugarloaf) one has a 360-degree view of green peaks and sea hugging high-rises and the Guanabara Bay. Not surprisingly, the gondolas that take tourists on the two-part trip to the 287 meter-high belvedere are always full on clear days. As the gondola starts to rise and the panorama unfolds, one hears cameras clicking and oohs and aahs in all languages, from German to Japanese. The morning is the best time for photos, with the sun rising from the sea and lighting up the lush green mountains that enclose the city.
T: 55 21 2546-8400

3- Copacabana Palace Hotel

Cariocas, as the inhabitants of Rio are called, have a special bond with this grand hotel, which is the jewel of Copacabana beach. Nicknamed Copa, it is known for its gigantic pool, white stucco façade and, above all, the glitzy gala dinners, weddings and Carnival balls it hosts, attended by Brazilian TV royalty and bejeweled socialites. Extensive renovations, started in 1989 when it was bought by the Orient-Express chain, have restored Rio’s classiest five-star to its former glory. Stop in for a caipirinha cocktail by the pool, or for the traditional – and quite hearty - feijoada (the typical Brazilian stew of black beans with meats, sautéed kale and orange slices), served on Saturdays. Or, if your budget allows it, make it your home base: rates for the stately and elegant rooms start at US$ 270.
Avenida Atlântica, 1702, Copacabana, T: 55 21 2548 7070

4- Posto 9, Ipanema
The girl from Ipanema is now the middle-aged mom of a Playboy cover girl, yet the beach that inspired the tune continues to be Rio’s coolest, even if its waters aren’t always the cleanest. Different crowds – gays, mothers with babies, surfers - hang out at separate spots of this 2-kilometer long stretch of sand. Their “territories” are marked by the tall, numbered towers which house public showers and restrooms. The younger, more scantily-clad cariocas (and tanned, pretty girls from Ipanema) congregate near tower number nine, or Posto 9 . Arrive early, open a tab with one of the beach vendors (who will serve you ice-cold beers and caipirinhas all day), and look around as the beach fills up: this is people-watching at its finest!

5- Gero restaurant
Getting a table at Gero is an exercise in patience. Waits are long not just because this is, hands down, Rio’s best Italian restaurant, but also because it is the best spot in town to be and be seen. The classic Northern Italian menu – think risotto with partridge and raddichio, ossobucco alla milanese, white polenta with squid, etc. – is quite like what is served at the flagship Gero, which has been one of São Paulo’s top restaurants for nearly a decade. Owner Rogério Fasano usually does the rounds of the tables, quietly greeting politicians, socialites and celebrities. Dinner for two with a bottle of wine, at about US$ 100, is relatively expensive, but worth it for the rare glimpse of Rio’s high society.
Gero: Rua Aníbal de Mendonça, 157, Ipanema, T: 55 21 2239-8158

6- Prainha beach

When cariocas want to escape the city and swim in clear, clean waters, they drive about half an hour south to Prainha, which is Portuguese for “little beach”. A favorite of surfers and their bronzed girlfriends, gets as crowded as Barra da Tijuca and other more urban beaches on weekends, when young boys charge as much as US$ 5 to “keep an eye” on cars, but is blissfully quiet during the week. This small stretch of sand and sea is especially recommended to travelers who might feel queasy about the notices that often run in local papers warning that well-known beaches such as Ipanema and Barra da Tijuca are “improper for bathing”, because of polluted waters. Plan on spending the day, to make the long cab ride worth it. For a spectacular taste of home-cooked seafood, drive up a steep cobblestoned hill and have a late lunch at Tia Palmira on the way back. A fixed price of approximately US$ 13 per person buys a true banquet. A succession of shrimp, crab and fish fritters, dumplings, stews and escabeches is served in a sun-drenched patio overlooking the sea. Waitresses will keep on bringing more and more of their tasty shrimp specialties, until you beg them to stop.
Tia Palmira: Caminho do Souza, 18, T: 55 21 2410-8169

7- Bracarense bar

Botequins – casual, cheap bars open to the street, which mostly serve chilled draft beer and finger food – are the soul of Rio. On any given weekend afternoon, the city’s botequins will be filled with loud groups of friends gathered around small tables, many still sporting their bathing suits and flip-flops. The Bracarense
is the most famous and crowded of all, despite the unattentive waiters and the shabby interior. Why, then, is it so successful? Because its draft beer has a deliciously creamy foam and the manioc and shrimp fritters are heavenly. Also, its location, in a leafy block of fashionable Leblon district a mere two blocks from the beach attracts intellectuals and pretty young things alike.

8- Handgliding over the Tijuca national park

Running off a platform mounted on a steep wooded cliff, then gliding over a stretch of tropical forest – even when accompanied by an experienced instructor – is not for everyone. Those who choose to take the plunge, however, are rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the Gavea and Bonita rock peaks, and the magical feeling of floating 600 meters above sea level, without a noise but that of the wind hitting the glider’s colorful wings. Experts agree that Rio is the most gorgeous urban setting in the world for this sport: on a clear day you can see not only Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, but the Sugarloaf and even the skyline of Niteroi, a neighboring city. Outfitters like German sportsman Konrad Heilman charge approximately Can$ 130 for the flight, including the transfer service to and from your hotel in an air-conditioned van. Filmed proof of your courageous adventure, saved on a DVD, will set you back another $ 65.
T: 55 21 9843-9006

9 – Botanical gardens

An alley lined with 137 imposing Imperial Palms divides the beautifully landscaped 141 acres of the Botanical Garden, founded in 1808. Most plant species are cultivated outdoors, around ponds and bronze busts of botanists. One of the prettiest alleys is the one lined with century-old mango trees covered with orchids and bromeliads. A large portion of the garden reproduces a typical Amazonian forest, complete with 30-meter tall trees, waterplants and mangroves. The restored blue-and-white colonial farmhouse where King John VI of Portugal used to stay during his visits now houses a coffeeshop and stores which sell books and souvenirs.
Rua Jardim Botânico, 920, T: 55 21 2294-9349

10 – Dias Ferreira Street

There is no better way to get around Rio’s beaches than on foot (except maybe jogging, if you ask the thousands that go for their morning runs on the well-kept beach boardwalks). That is especially true in Leblon, the tony neighborhood that is separated from Ipanema by a canal. Here you can stroll by most of the city’s nicest boutiques and restaurants. Make sure you don’t miss Dias Ferreira street, which has the city’s highest concentration of top addresses. On it are Rio’s finest ice cream parlor (Mil Frutas), where fresh tropical fruits like açaí and cajú are churned into creamy scoops of heaven, the most popular salad restaurant (Celeiro) and best magazine shop (Argumento) . Other precious finds include the restaurants Carlota and Sushi Leblon.

May 9, 2009

Hotel Emiliano, in São Paulo: great champagne lounge

There are many things to love about the Emiliano: the perfect location in the heart of the Jardins district, the large rooms with refrigerated drawers in the sitting areas, the white Havaianas placed in the bathrooms in lieu of slippers, the cool lobby with Campana brothers furniture.

But I recently discovered something else: the Emiliano has a great champagne and caviar lounge. They serve the real stuff, from the Caspian Sea, and also less expensive roe. They also offer very cool bubbly and roe tastings: Brazilian sparkling wines with Spanish and Chilean roe tastings go for 125 reais per person; rosé champagne and the same roe costs 550 reais per person, etc.

The champagne list is extensive and includes rare finds such as a 1989 Krug.

Champagne Bar & Caviar: Hotel Emiliano, Rua Oscar Freire, 384, São Paulo, tel. 3068-4399

Hotel Santa Teresa makes Condé Nast Traveler's Hot List 2009

Condé Nast Traveler's Hot List 2009 includes one single hotel in Brazil: the Santa Teresa, in Rio, read more about it here.

Below, the list up until the 24th position, held by the Santa Teresa.














14. DIVA











May 8, 2009

Daslu's 284 label launches a party division

284 is the brand created by the offspring of Daslu's owners (Eliana's kids Bernardino, Luciana and Marcella Tranchesi plus Donata's daughter Helena Bordon). It's designed for teens and twenty-somethings.

284 just released a collection designed by ubermodel Naomi Campbell. With a black panther for a logo, the Naomi 284 collection was inspired by the personal clothing that the top model collected over the last 20 years and keeps in her London and New York closets.

Now, 284 is launching a party division with - what else? - a huge party on Friday at the decadent-but-cool Cambridge Hotel, in São Paulo's old Downtown.

Are you in São Paulo and wanting an invite? Just drop by Villa Daslu and buy a ticket. Favourites of the city's golden youth, DJs Buga and Gui Pimentel will be manning the pickups.

You can also call 55 - 11- 3841-4000 for more info.

284 at Night

May 8, 11 pm

Hotel Cambridge

Av Nove De Julho, 210 – Centro

Invites for sale at 284

Av. Chedid Jafet, 131 – 2º andar – Vila Olímpia

Tel: 11 3841-4000

Free parking for 30 minutes

More Daslu on this blog:

In Trancoso, Bahia, Indians dance and cook lunch for tourists

Photo: Rosa de Luca

Not many foreigners know this, but the Bahian coastline is teeming with Indians. Yep. Real indians, who wear feathers, face paint and all the rest.

South of Trancoso and Espelho there is a large Indian reserve where many of them live. They earn a living driving buggies and taxying tourists from one end of their reserve to the other (that's the only way to get, say, from Caraíva beach to Corumbau beach by land).

Now the Pataxó Indians have just thought of a new way to make a few extra bucks. If you call the tribe chief/elder on his cell (!!!!) and book in advance, his tribe will dance and cook lunch for your group. The meal is fish served on taioba leaves without any seasoning (but deliciously fresh).

His number is 011 55 73 9941-1732.

Only in Brazil....