Lola Pinto stands out amid a sea of students dressed in martial arts uniforms: She’s the only one wearing a chef’s jacket.
Luis Felipe Ninja Pinto teaches a variety of martial arts, including capoeira (kah-pooh-EY-ra), a Brazilian martial art historically practiced by slaves as a form of rebellion. The strenuous training masqueraded as a sort of ritual dance party — an acrobatic high kick here, a lethal blow there — set to the guttural cadence of the berimbau, a single-stringed percussion instrument.
Of course, you don’t have to practice the art of capoeira to appreciate Lola’s home-style Brazilian soul food.
Her menu started out with snack foods: acai smoothie bowls (an antioxidant-rich berry from the Amazon) topped with granola and fruit, cafezinho (strong Brazilian coffee shots) and brigadeiros (a trufflelike confection), as well as savory appetizers, including coxinhas (chicken croquettes), pao de queijo (cheese bread) and empadinhas (filled turnovers similar to empanadas).
But now Lola’s Saturday feijoada (fay-ZHWAH-duh) — a traditional Brazilian pork and black bean stew served over rice — is taking off. Like capoeira, feijoada traces its origins to the slave trade.
Today feijoada is prized as a “national” dish and routinely enjoyed by all stratas of Brazilian society. feijoada is typically served with collard greens, farofa (toasted cassava flour) and orange slices, although every cook adds signature twists. Lola adds a pork rind garnish, a dessert and a drink for $12, making hers one of the best meal deals around town.
▪ Cafe Brazil by Lola, 11441 Strang Line Road, 913-522-3217, facebook/lolacafebrazil