Restaurants along the beach are of the outdoor variety and sell all manner of meals and beverages. Copacabana has the classiest selection.
These relatively small kiosk restaurants are actually far more extensive than they appear. Food preparation and storage take place under the sidewalk. Bathrooms, showers and lockers are located down below as well keeping the sidewalk open for pedestrians and vendors.
But all the beach areas have kiosks of the more humble variety as well. Dining selections in these kiosks are more limited but beverage selections are pretty extensive.
While a nice cold beer is our normal beverage of choice there are other interesting alternatives. A very popular beach beverage is coconut water (or coconut milk depending on who is doing the marketing – but it is sold as just plain Coco at the beach). Packaging is pretty simple since the beverage comes in its own container.
Coconuts have a pretty darned tough shell so the cutting process is interesting to watch. The really good vendors can toss it in the air, take 3 strong blows with a machete and it’s ready to go. I shudder when I watch this technique since I am waiting for a thumb to find its way into the beverage. Anyway – it’s pretty good, healthy and I understand catching on in the U.S. (with different packaging…..)
A popular beach snack is peanuts. They go well with beer, have a fresh roasted taste and arrive fresh and warm at the table on the beach. The only problem is that you have to wait for the peanuts to find you. This is generally not a challenge on Copacabana beach.
The sellers cruise the beach with their tightly wrapped cones full of peanuts. They drop a small handful on the table in front of you and walk away to do the same at all the other tables at a single kiosk. This gives you time to sample before they return for the sale.
We have become peanut addicts and the beer vendors must love it since it often times requires that we stay for one more round while enjoying our salty snack! For gringo visitors the going rate is R$5 for 3 cones – if you are identified as a tourist the vendors will quote you a higher price.
The best peanuts are brought by the guys who carry them in heater cans. I’m sure there is a better term for this sophisticated devise but it is very effective.
Not in the mood for a beverage up on the sidewalk? Not to worry, the matte vendors will bring their sweet tea drink brought right to your towel…
And finally, we need to remember man’s best friend and his or her need for liquid refreshment. Water is available at the Dog Bar on one of the classier shopping streets.
But for the more substantive drink the dogs here seem to prefer coconuts. This next sequence is not a one-off event, it happens all the time!
Dog gets left over coconut from owner, thinking no doubt that these humans are missing the best part!
After a bit of work and tossing the coconut around the dog achieves what humans need a machete to accomplish.