Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Food Musings:With Padaminas Brazilian Bakery

At the Counter of Padaminas with the owner, Pedro Coehlo
(Photos thanks to Julie Spielvogel)

Some days, while I’m listening to Antônio Carlos Jobim (or Bebel Gilberto) , sipping caipirinhas and savoring Brazilian Cheese puffs, I can transport myself to Brazil. Truth be told, there aren’t too many days when I don’t dream of returning to Brazil—I miss the people, the music, the food, the beaches, and more! (And dream of running away to study Samba, and finally learning Portuguese!) But part of the beauty of living in New York, and working in Mount Vernon, is that it seems that Brazil, after all, is here.  

Listening to Pedro Tell one of his Many Wonderful Tales!
Still at the Counter!

If you haven’t been to Mount Vernon in the past several years maybe you don’t know that approximately 10 percent of the population hails from Brazil. This is witnessed by the many markets along Gramatan Avenue that feature a variety of Brazilian products. As the English Language Institute's Assistant Director for Westchester Community College’s Mount Vernon site, I’ve been privileged to meet a nice-sized sample of the population. I’m also thrilled to report that my discoveries of “Little Brazil” are beyond the borders of Gramatan Avenue.

In fact, if you travel along West Lincoln, and look on the corner of North 7th Avenue—across from Lukoil—you will find a big piece of Brazil: Padaminas Brazilian Bakery. Whether you're looking for sampling some coconut water, a fresh fruit smoothie, a Brazilian cheese puff,  a monster sandwich, a loaf of sweet bread dusted in fresh coconut, or perhaps a perfect cornbread cake, a soccer game or a telenovela (soap opera), or simply bathing yourself in the music of Brazilian Portuguese, you will find that—and more—at Padaminas.

Pedro Coehlo  started Padaminas—his first bakery—in 2001, after 12 years of house cleaning (and, okay, testament to his personality: he’s still friendly with some of his former housecleaning clients!). Getting his business off the ground cost him time—and sleep (he said that for the first two years, he slept about1 1/2 hours a night! Another testament to his personality!).These days he boasts two more bakeries in Danbury, Connecticut and has partnered with his 28 year-old godson (again, testament to his personality...but you’ll need to ask Pedro for more details on that one). Like his godson, Coehlo hails from  Governador Valadares (yes—you can see pictures of his hometown on the wall—next to the map which shows all the states of Brazil, including Minas Gerais, where most of Mount Vernon’s Brazilian residents are from). Furthermore, when you meet owner Pedro Coehlo, you’ll discover why this bakery is such a delicious and vibrant spot. Coelho—husband and father of three—is one of those inspiring people who you just want to be around because he makes you feel that, like him, you can do anything you put your mind to. He’s honest, direct, fair, incredibly hardworking, and yes, charming!  (Julie—my beautiful photographer/assistant—and I decided he should definitely run for office—and that we’d campaign for him!).

Getting some purchasing advice!
Another wonderful feature of Padaminas: the people that work there are friendly and lovely—and will guide you in making your big decision (ah…what to eat and drink!).
Here’s what we tried and really liked:
Quibe (like a kind of fried empanada with meat)
Fogazza (a large-sized soft-bread empanada with chicken, cream cheese, olives and corn)
Enrolados  (a breaded “dumpling”  baked ham and melt-in-your mouth cheese)
pão de queijo
Dulce de leche-filled cookies, many sweet breads, and more…

The best way to approach Padaminas? One treat at a time….

Padaminas Brazilian Bakery
66 West Lincoln Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
(914) 667-9101

No comments:

Post a Comment