Brazilian Grills & My Sunday Night Conversion

When it comes to food, I know what I like.  Or, at least I thought I did until this past Sunday night.  Driving to Albuquerque to attend a quarterly meeting of the Executive Board of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico, I got a call on my cell phone from one of my church members who was also on his way to the Land of Enchantment’s largest city to drop off his son for the start of Spring Semester classes at UNM.  Earlier that day, we had made plans to meet for dinner at one of their favorite restaurants.

“How about Tucanos,” he asked.  “It’s a Brazilian grill located in downtown Albuquerque.”  I told him that sounded great and that I would meet them at the restaurant at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday night. 

Now, anyone that knows me well knows that I’m — how shall I say it — a picky eater.  Five Guys Burgers and Fries is generally more my taste when it comes to cuisine.  A Brazilian grill?  This couldn’t be good, could it?  I had never heard of a Brazilian grill, much less eaten at one.  I already envisioned myself ordering a pizza from Papa John’s later that night.

After driving around the block for a couple of times, I finally found a parking space (thankfully I didn’t have to parallel park) about two blocks from Tucanos.  Although this place was bustling for a Sunday night, we didn’t have to wait too long to be seated.  As we walked to our table, I began to have a feeling that I may have been wrong about this place.

It did not take very long — my first trip to the amazing hot and cold salad bar did it — to confirm that I was indeed completely off the mark about Brazilian grills — or at least this one in particular.  With every kind of imaginable salad — of the leafy green and pasta varieties — and with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and even fried (yes, fried) bananas to choose from, I was already hooked.  But, that was just a tease.  The best was yet to come.

Once we finished with our salad, we turned over a marker on our table to green side up.  It had been red side up, which meant that servers would not come by our table.  Once we went to green, things started to accelerate.  Every few minutes, a server would hustle by our table to offer a slice of truly delightful and delectable food.  Mostly meat, the choices were mind-blowing — filet mignon, sirloin, brisket, pork, chicken wings, ham, turkey, sausage, salmon, mango flavored white fish . . . you name it, they brought it by.

I know that gluttony is a sin and I must confess that I most certainly sinned at Tucanos.  I could have kept on eating, but my stomach finally said, “enough!”  Needless to say, Tucanos — the Brazilian Grill — blew me away.  I think it is now my new favorite restaurant in Albuquerque.

If you had asked me before last Sunday night whether I believed I would like food from a Brazilian grill, I would have probably laughed out loud.  After eating at Tucanos in Albuquerque, I am definitely a convert.  I can’t wait to share my dining experience with others. 

Oh wait, I just remembered.  Our annual Evangelism Conference just happens to be in Albuquerque on January 31 and February 1.  Our entire pastoral staff plans on attending.  Somehow I have a feeling that we will end up eating lunch at Tucanos.  I wouldn’t want the others to miss out on what I experienced.  After all, there’s always room for more converts!

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