by Max Brantley
Brunch to me is a big deal. It’s less like an ordinary meal and more like a mini-vacation. Brunch and vacations are the only good excuses for drinking champagne before noon.
Recently I had brunch at Bossa Nova, a Brazilian restaurant and a Hillcrest standard since 2002. I love Bossa Nova, not just because the food and coffee is always delicious, but also because the atmosphere is relaxing and exotic. It takes me away from Little Rock the moment I walk in the door.
On this particular day I chose the French toast ($7.95), which is served warm, buttery, and sprinkled with a thick layer of grainy sugar. The scrambled eggs served on the side where light and fluffy and not even slightly under or over cooked. (A skill I have never mastered, even after culinary school.)
The salmon cakes (below), which were that day’s brunch special, were very fresh, crispy, and beautifully browned.
The most impressive thing on Bossa Nova’s menu has got to be their juice selection. The very knowledgeable waiter, Jacob, filled me in on all the exotic choices. We tried cashew juice ($2.75) first. Jacob informed me that cashews are not nuts as commonly thought, but instead they are the stems of a fruit called the cashew apple. Who knew? The cashew apple’s juice is very sweet with a tropical pineapple kind of flavor, only much richer. Next we ordered Acai juice ($2.75), a favorite among health food connoisseurs for its excellent anti-oxidant properties. This juice is so sweet and rich that it almost tastes like a mocha latte. Of course, for the less adventurous, they also serve your basic fresh squeezed orange juice ($4.25).