The New York Diet

Brazilian Musician Bebel Gilberto Knows Where to Find Good Pão de Queijo

Brazilian singer-songwriter Bebel Gilberto loves camarão na moranga at Casa.
Brazilian singer-songwriter Bebel Gilberto loves camarão na moranga at Casa. Photo: Melissa Hom

Brazilian singer-songwriter Bebel Gilberto headlines at the Town Hall tonight to perform her take on the bossa nova sound made famous by her father, João Gilberto (think “Girl From Ipanema.”) Her mother is singer Miúcha. A native New Yorker, Gilberto grew up in Brazil and returned in 1991. Her first album, Tanto Tempo, was released here in 2000. Her music has found its way into the soundtracks of Nip/Tuck and the 2004 film Closer. A new album won’t come out until next year, but expect to hear some new songs tonight. In the meantime, find out where her favorite Brazilian food is served in this week’s New York Diet.

Saturday, June 13
My boyfriend made me a carrot, apple, ginger, cucumber, and parsley juice.
I try to have juice every morning.

I left the house at 11 a.m. for a wardrobe fitting for the concert at my good friend Jussara Lee’s store at Little West 12th Street. It’s more than a store. You choose what you like, she measures you, and she makes it for you. After the fitting, we went for lunch at Macelleria, where I had linguine with clams and drank mineral water. Jussara had a grilled eggplant parmigiana. We didn’t have dessert. I just had a cappuccino.

After lunch I had planned to be good and cook for my boyfriend, but my friend [Jussara’s sister] Jupira Lee came over to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday. Instead of cooking, I ran to the liquor store and bought two bottles of Prosecco and a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape. I was still thinking about a romantic dinner, so after they left, my boyfriend cooked fusilli with garlic and oil. We had some candles. We sat on my balcony, listened to some new sounds from my upcoming album, we danced, and then we slept.

Sunday, June 14
I woke up around 1 p.m. I made coffee in our French press, which I love, and then baked some pão de queijo; it’s a Brazilian specialty, like a cheese bread. My cleaning lady and assistant, Necy, makes them for me and freezes some of them. They’re the best, and the ones she makes are so special.

Then, we were reading the paper, working, and at 6 p.m. we went to Hasaki, my favorite Japanese restaurant in New York. It’s five minutes from my place. It’s really an extension of my home. I met my friend Daniel Jobim and we had uni sashimi, miso soup — which is made there and unbelievably good — seaweed salad, toro sashimi, unagi sushi (it’s eel but it’s freshwater), a combination plate with sushi and sashimi, and some aged tofu. We had Asahi beer and some Japanese sake, and we finished everything with green tea.

Later on that evening, around 11, we ordered a delivery from Casa. I had Bobó de Camarão, a dish made of yucca, cilantro, and shrimp. It comes with rice. We had Guaraná, a kind of soda from Brazil.

Monday, June 15
I had the the same juice that my angel boyfriend makes for me and we ate a little bit of the leftovers from Casa.

It was raining like crazy, but I got to Casa at 6 p.m. for the photo shoot and I was able to have a proper meal there. I eat there once a week, at least. It’s like Hasaki to me. I had my favorite dish, which is Camarão na Moranga, shrimp with pumpkin sauce. I had a lemon caipirinha, only one. My friend Jussara had some Bobó de Camarão.

Then, around 8 p.m., I went to Flux Studio where I’m recording, to meet my boyfriend and Daniel. They ordered in dinner, but I just had some organic Chateauneuf du Pape, again.

Tuesday, June 16
I woke up very late that day. I had the juice again, but I also decided to do some chicken-rice soup. I just put in leeks, carrots, mint — which is the most important thing — basil, and cilantro. I have a lot of herbs, thank God, on my terrace, my little garden. I have everything: cilantro, parsley, basil, onions, tomatoes … it’s amazing.

I went for a late lunch at Souen, a macrobiotic place, and I had a macro plate with tofu; wonderful. I also had some hot moot tea. It’s so good; it has like sixteen different herbs inside of it, apparently.

After lunch, I think I just baked some pão de queijo from my darling Necy. I was super tired; I went to bed at like 10 p.m.

Wednesday, June 17
I woke up and had the same juice. I started on a very strict diet when I had an accident about a year and a half ago. I fractured my ankle and it was really serious. For that reason, I eat red meat sometimes — I love it. And I believe in raw food more then ever.

I had rehearsals, so I came back to the studio at 12:30. There I had a skim-milk cappuccino from Starbucks and a tomato, basil, mozzarella sandwich delivered from Antique Café.

I’m going home and will probably have the chicken-and-rice soup, and the pão de queijo, just to make you jealous. Necy is the best. You should go to Casa; they make wonderful pão de queijo there.

Brazilian Musician Bebel Gilberto Knows Where to Find Good Pão de Queijo