I’d been eyeing the Gringo Cafe for quite some time. When I lived in Paris, not far from my apartment was a restaurant called Breakfast in America. In the heart of Paris, there it was, this throwback to an American diner, with full-fledged American breakfasts in the land of croissants and jam. I loved it.
Breakfast in the US is unique. By unique, I mostly mean gigantic and sweet which is precisely why it’s always been my favorite meal of the day. I’ll eat pancakes and waffles at any time. Pair sweet and savory? Let’s throw in some eggs, hash browns, and vegetarian sausage. Name the diner, and I’m there.
After all, I come from the land of 24 hour diners. Every Jersey high schooler is familiar with late nights at the local diner, drinking endless cups of coffee, fries, and waffles with ice cream while chatting with your friends about love, life, the uncertainty of the future. It’s a rite of passage.
Suffice it to say I had high hopes for the Gringo Cafe. The owner hails from California and has created a little haven of Americana in the middle of Ipanema. While they’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they’re best known for their breakfast and brunch, which is exactly what we tasted.
At any moment in time while in Rio, I have a craving for pancakes, bagels, and donuts. I don’t know what it is about these foods in particular, but I’m obsessed about finding any of them in this city. At the Gringo Cafe, I could hit two birds with one stone: they serve both pancakes and bagels.
Both Gustavo and I got Just Eggs — scrambled eggs, hash browns, and a biscuit — plus a side of blueberry pancakes, mimosas, and coffee for me. Without the coffee, it’s not a real brunch. The pancakes came with a delicious blueberry jam rather than maple syrup, but from what I understand they carry both. The biscuit was soft and tasty, while the hash browns were crisp on the outside, soft on the inside.
It was a perfect little taste of America about two blocks from the beach.
If you’re visiting, and craving some gringo food, check it out. They also make all of their desserts in house and are one of the only places I’ve seen that have bagels, which is a miracle in and of itself. There’s also chili, macaroni and cheese, and meatloaf for the carnivores.
Wait, now I’m hungry again.