Each day, 3030 Ocean's Paula DaSilva can be found in the kitchen, tasked with making beautiful meals using nature's bounty... except, of course, when Brazil is playing the World Cup.
When I called the talented chef for a chat, she answered she had only a few minutes. Was she anticipating a large seafood shipment? Making dinner for a VIP at the restaurant? Nope -- "Brazil is playing today, and I want to finish my chores so I can watch the game" was the reason for the urgency.
Although the Brazilian native has been in the United States for more than a quarter of a century, leaving her homeland when she was a child, the chef still views the country as her "mother land," "but when it comes to culture, I'm all-American."
What we wanted to know more than anything is what we should be eating while watching the World Cup. Turns out, sports-related fare is pretty universal -- with a few differences.
DaSilva explains, "First of all, Brazil's national drink is the caipirinha, so that's found at any watch party. Beer is huge too."
As far as food is concerned, there are no hot dogs. Instead, fans munch out on a pastel, a Brazilian version of an empanada, filled with meat and cheese. DaSilva, a fan of these savory meat pies, served her own version at a recent Taste of the Nation event in Miami.
What is universal? Chicken wings. In Brazil, instead of being with Buffalo sauce, however, they're marinated with olive oil and garlic -- and served (of course) with a cold beer.
Before we hung up, we asked DaSilva a seemingly unanswerable question: What happens in the unlikely event that Brazil and the United States face off against each other?
"I'm glad that's not happening right now, but if they do meet, I'll just sit back and root for both of them. That way I'll win either way."