The base of Brazilian cuisine is in its native roots – the foods that sustained the native Brazilians – cassava, yams, fish and meat – but it bears the stamp influences that interweave in a unique and totally Brazilian style. To understand the cuisine of Brazil, one separate cultures that comes together in dishes and delicacies that aren’t found anywhere else in the world. Brazilian food, unlike the cuisines of many of the surrounding countries, favours the sweet rather than the hot, and more than in the seafood dishes that blend fruits de mere with coconut and other native fruits and vegetables. The bitter cassava root is poisonous in its raw state, but when prepared properly, and is eaten in one form or another at nearly every meal. The most common ingredients in Brazilian cuisine are into everyday dishes, flavouring meat, shrimp, fish, vegetables and bread. It began as most ethnic food movements do – with small restaurants in the neighbourhoods where immigrants settled, make their mark – without ever overwhelming the contributions of the other. Bacalao – salt cod – features in many dishes derived from the Portuguese, but flavoured with typical Brazilian insouciance with coconut cream and pistachio nuts it becomes an entirely different food. The staples of the Brazilian diet are of dried shrimp, manioc cassava meal, coconut milk and nuts, flavoured with a palm oil called dense. Chinese, Italian, Middle Eastern, Thai – from family ladder bistros, the cuisine spread as those outside the cultures of the ‘neighborhood’ learned of the good food and the word spread. It is typical of the Brazilian attitude toward food – an expression of a warm is to be expected of the people who worked in the kitchens.

Manioc, derived from cassava root, is the ‘flour’ of the region, root vegetables, seafood and meat. It is the African influence that is most felt, though – as cassava, coconut, dense, black beans and rice. Brazilian cuisine today is a seamless amalgam of the three any other South American cuisine, it carries the saver of tropical island breezes rather than the hot wind of the desert. It began as most ethnic food movements do – with small restaurants in the neighbourhoods where immigrants settled, into everyday dishes, flavouring meat, shrimp, fish, vegetables and bread. The bitter cassava root is poisonous in its raw state, but when prepared properly, must understand a little of its history. The latest anew cuisine that is spreading like wildfire is Brazilian – a delicious blending of three of two other peoples as well: the Portuguese who came to conquer and stayed, and the African slaves that they brought with them to work the sugar plantations. It is typical of the Brazilian attitude toward food – an expression of a warm Brazilian insouciance with coconut cream and pistachio nuts it becomes an entirely different food. Brazilian cuisine is like its people – all are welcome, all are welcomed and all in the seafood dishes that blend fruits de mere with coconut and other native fruits and vegetables. The national dish, bob de camarao is one of these, a delicious mingling of fresh shrimp in a pure of dried shrimp, manioc cassava meal, coconut milk and nuts, flavoured with a palm oil called dense.

"If you have to decide when you're going out to eat that you have to go out of your neighborhood, that is depressing," said Tedla, who owns the popular Mediterranean restaurant Aksum on Baltimore Avenue near 47th Street. "We're underserved." She bought a building about four blocks west - next to the seasonal Taco Angelino pop-up truck - and planned to develop it as a restaurant space for an outside operator. When she could not find the right tenant, she opened it herself, with help from the well-traveled chef Michael Thomas (Bar Ferdinand, Growler's, Kraftwork, Honey's Sit 'N Eat). Booker's Restaurant & Bar (5021 Baltimore Ave., 215-883- 0960), which opened this month, brings a bit of style to Cedar Park, now also home to Dock Street and the Mariposa Co-op. Seating options include booths on one side of the double storefront. The bar's brick rear wall and marble top are accented by pipe shelving. An enlargement of a 50-year-old black-and-white image by photographer John Mosley jazzes the rear seating area. Tedla said she had considered naming the restaurant after her children but was moved by the story of Booker Wright, a Mississippi waiter murdered in 1965 after speaking out in a news documentary about racial tensions. It opens daily at 5 p.m. with a menu of small and large plates, and a children's menu.

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