The Meat of the Matter at Texas de Brazil in Hallandale Beach

Now that Mr. Persnickety and I are nearing the sixth month of our courtship, I've started to become obsessively concerned that he try new foods nearly every time we go out to eat, and I have become more vocal in my insistence that he join me on my quest to unearth every dive, scour every foreign food market, and taste even things I can't pronounce nor define.

Though he's been by my side as I've sucked down barbecued eel, nibbled on food that surely is considered toxic, and swallowed parts of animals that God certainly didn't intend for consumption. Yes, I later learned that clear, slimy part of the conch that I devoured so gleefully in Turks and Caicos was, indeed, its penis. But thankfully for him, we also go to places like Texas de Brazil that make such quandaries moot. He feels comfortable there, knowing the churrascaria will

deliver perfectly cooked, deliciously seasoned, freshly carved,

recognizable slabs of cow flesh every time. TdB throws enough side

dishes on the table to convince American diners that Brazilians must

employ tapeworms to stay thin. Plus, they have that salad bar with more

offerings than I have shoes.

As we sat in

the divine new Hallandale Beach location last week, shoveling down

soft, savory spheres of cheese bread and gazing admirably over the

sheer magnificence of this heavily adorned space, Mr. P. and I

attempted to discover at what point in my past when romance and food became

so intimately intertwined. 

I theorized that the very moment was sometime in college when a drop-dead gorgeous frat boy, whom I'll refer to as Studly, insisted that we share pate at the local bistro. I had never heard of the pink meat, but I couldn't care less what it was because I was so hot for him that I would've eaten the tread off his tires. And it didn't hurt that he fed it to me while saying dirty things in French. Oh l'amour!

But then, Mr. P. snapped me out of my dream sequence and reminded me that the actual moment was probably when my father unceremoniously dumped a deceased octopus in a vat of marinara sauce and presented it to my mother and me with the pronouncement "Food is love!" We shrieked. He felt bad. We tried it. We gagged. But he said he loved us for making the effort nonetheless.

I carefully watched Mr. P. as he busily shoveled down spoonfuls of gloriously cheesy potatoes au gratin, shunning the gauchos bearing sausage, chicken, and bacon-wrapped fillets and turning down my offer to try seafood salad. Why wouldn't he try new things at my request? He wouldn't touch pate if it was wrapped around a $1,000 bill, and he wouldn't get near a dead octopus even if it was holding keys to a new Ferrari. Yes, dining with him can hardly be considered an adventurous experience, but at least I can take comfort in the knowledge that Mr. P. will stand by me as I chow my way around the world, holding my spare napkin, paying the bill, and occasionally doling out the Mylanta.  

Texas de Brazil is located at the Village at Gulfstream Park, 800 Silks Run in Hallandale Beach. Call 954-843-7600, or visit texasdebrazil.com. 

Freelance writer Riki Altman eats everything that won't try to eat her first (with exceptions, of course) and dates younger men, older men, and older men who act like young men, along with locals, tourists, illegal aliens, and just plain aliens. Love Bites is a compilation of what happens when her dining and dating ordeals collide. Sometimes, it just ain't pretty.

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Riki Altman