garotos.

The first night of the 4th of July carnival in Clear Lake, we had supper at an amazing little food truck.  I would venture to say that it was probably the healthiest option at the carnival.  The food was so fresh and delicious, and the sweet couple who own the truck (Rene and Mario) live right here in North Iowa!   I was immediately intrigued by their Brazilian food truck business in Osage, IA.    After reading their story I knew it was a perfect fit for my blog...they source a lot of their produce locally...LOVE!   IMG_9056

Here's their story according to Rene: 

"Mario and I met in Paulino Neves when I was traveling Brazil. He ran a small tourist information center that turned into his restaurant in the evenings. I was immediately drawn to his energy and passion for life. We became friends and stayed in touch after I left Brazil. Using Google Translate and Skype we built up our relationship and I learned Portuguese.

I received a Fulbright fellowship in Prague the following year and asked Mario to come live with me there. Mario closed his tourism center and restaurant in Brazil and made the big leap to move to Prague. We have been together ever since.

We moved to Brazil and decided to start a family. After finding out we were expecting twins, I decided to find a job in the U.S. and was hired by Valent BioSciences in Osage.

After the birth of our twin boys, Malcolm and Noah, Mario decided to open a restaurant again. We named it Garotos -'boys' in portuguese-after our boys. We operated out of a tent and rented kitchen space the first year. We began to have a following, people loved the freshness and flavor of Brazilian food. Now we have a food trailer that we travel with to various events, sharing our love story and passion for good food along the way.

imageWe have a friend of ours Louie who owns a family farm. He supplies our eggs, corn, lettuce, and green onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Last year we bought from an Amish stand nearby. Our black beans we get from Kountry Kupboard. The rest of the produce we get from the Hy-Vee in Charles City/Mason City or Payless Foods in Osage. We buy our beef from the S&S locker in Osage or Louie's Custom Meats in Clear Lake. Just this week I have noticed the small farmers out in the parking lots selling their produce; so we are planning to buy our cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes from them.   [Since the fourth of July, they now buy their meat from a Clear Lake locker too!]

Our future plan for the trailer is to get our permanent food license.   As of right now we are not looking for a permanent structure for Garotos. We like the mobile unit and the freedom it brings to travel."

I loved the food, but honestly..I wasn't sure what I was eating.... so I asked!

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...Mario makes his own marinade using fresh vegetables and herbs; no preservatives and no artificial flavors. He marinates the choice beef or chicken overnight then grills the meat on a kabob over an open flame. He only uses 100% natural wood charcoal, no chemicals. On the grill he seasons the meat only with a coarse salt. The rice, beans, farofa, salad, and vinaigrette are made fresh daily. Your plate had: Brazilian style BBQ with fresh rice, deliciously seasoned black beans, a small portion of farofa, and cabbage salad with fresh vinaigrette on top (Mario's specialty!). 

I love this story and I love their food.

Thanks Rene and Mario for sharing!

 

 

 

 

Do you want to share your story here? If so, email me: marysena@gmail.com.  Let's chat. :)