Saturday, May 13, 2006

The busiest restaurant in town is....a hot dog stand?

So I discovered tonight that the busiest restaurant in Bragança Paulista on Saturday night is hot dog stand over by the lake. Before I tell you how long the wait is, let describe my experince.

I was driving around looking forsome thing to eat tonight and drove by "cochorro quente" stand by Lago Tabõa. I have been meaning to try one of the Brazilian hot dogs for some time, so I thought tonight would be perfect. I parked nearby and walked over to the cart. The, cart is of course, at a popular hang out, so there was about 25-30 milling around about. I figured some of them were just hanging and other were waiting for food. But since there was not many people standing in front of the cart (in what I assumed was the line) so I figured I would only have to wait about 10-15 minutes.

So I took this time to watch and see how Brazilians eat their hotdogs. You might think Americans like to eat their hotdogs with lots of toppings (relish, mustard, onions etc...,) but are dogs are practically naked compared to the "typical" Brazilian dog. For starters, there is th bun and the far normal, but then they but mashed potatoes on. No joke, what follows is even weirder, corn kernels and green peas...cold corn and peas. Next they had five kinds of sauce to the dog: ketchup, mustard, mayo, and two other that I never figured out what they were. Lastly (yes there is more) they cover the dog with a sort of salsa mixuture and shoe string potatoes. These dogs are monsters!

so none of these things I would ever choose to put on my hotdog, but being that I was in a hurry and extremely hungry, plus the fact that it did not look like they were taking the requests, I decided I would try the dog as they served it, cold peas and all.

So after waiting about 15 minutes, and friend of mine from church showed up. He does not speak any English, se we just exchanged the basic "hello's" and "how are your's." After we had said hello, he went over to the side of the hotdog cart and got a piece of paper. It was then that I realized that all these people milling around, all 30 of them, were not just hanging out, but waiting for their number to come up. So I grabbed two tickets, 71 & 72, one for each dog, and continued to wait.

In the meantime, my friend decided to leave and I went back to watching the guy make hotdogs. I had not heard him call any numbers yet, so I was beginning to wonder how far down the line I really was. I estimated by the amount of people who had come and gone since I got a ticket, there was likely 15 people in front of me. Boy was i wrong.

When the guy finally started calling numbers that I could hear, my first thought was, "no that can't be right? Maybe I did not understand what he said” So I waited a few more minutes for him to call more numbers. It was then that I realized I as in trouble. My numbers were 71 & 72 and he was on 12...TWELVE! I was stunned, speechless...60 people in front of me. So I started to count and only got to 22. I waited a bit more to see if large sets numbers went unanswered, but they got all the way to 21 and not a single number was skipped. I managed to ask the guy how long my wait might be, he responded 40 minutes. So with the 35+ minutes i had already waited, we were looking at over an hour wait...for a hotdog! A hotdog with peas on it!

It was then that I gave up and went to McDonald's. When I was walking away, I saw people arrive that I saw leaving when i first showed up. It was then that i realosed that people who come, get a ticket, and then leave for a little while. That must have been what my church friend had done.

So if you ever find yourself in Bragança Paulista on Saturday night and start craving a hot dog with corn and mashed potatoes, make sure you bring a friend and have plenty of time to wait.

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