All You Can (M)eat at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse

Oh the trials of being a food enthusiast (and occasional blogger)… some weeks I pack my schedule with so much eating that food eventually becomes public enemy number 1 (cues up a very tiny violin). The last few weeks have definitely been food heavy as I rarely had dinner at home – of course that means a much healthier eating plan for the next few days. While I eat my fruit and salads, I want to recap a fantastic meal I went to at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse. June is Pork Month and as we have it, BaconFest YEG is back for a second round on June 30. Pampa is participating in BaconFest YEG and as part of that, they are offering a special BaconFest menu for the month of June. My awesome friend Brittney of Gastropost Edmonton fame invited me + a date (my sister Bel) and a few others (like Linda – who is also giving away tickets to BaconFest Yeg!) to head out to Pampa to try the Pampa BaconFest menu.

Pampa's BaconFest Menu

Pampa’s BaconFest Menu

Bel and I were the last ones to arrive and when we sat down, we were presented with caipirinhas, also known as Brazil’s national drink. I really like caipirinhas, even though I cannot pronounce it! I really enjoyed my grape and white wine version, but was not a huge fan of the strawberry banana – I found the taste of raw banana just a little overwhelming but Bel liked it quite a bit.

Caipirinhas - grapes and white wine, strawberry banana

Caipirinhas – grapes and white wine, strawberry banana

Also on the table when we arrived were the pão de queijo also known as Brazilian Cheese Bread. These gluten free babies were so good and I found it impossible to stop eating them – I am going to blame the “few” I had for taking up space in my stomach for all the grilled meats being offered. Side note: I just googled pão de queijo and the internet is full of recipes for them… I know what I am going to do on the weekend!

Pão de queijo - Brazilian Cheese Bread

Pão de queijo – Brazilian Cheese Bread

Before moving on to the main attraction – the meat, I just want to say that the salad bar at Pampa is also top-notch! I can hear my mama saying “DON’T fill up on salad – it’s not the expensive part!” already but seriously, there are some excellent options to help break up the parade of grilled meat (somehow that sounds like a really bad double entendre – sorry?). I tried to get a really nice photo of the entire salad bar but it was big and impossible to get a great shot of – although look at all these gorgeous vegetables!

Pampa Salad Bar

Pampa Salad Bar – just a small portion

So for those of you who haven’t experienced Brazilian BBQ – what happens is there are several gauchos (like below) who carry giant swords of grilled meat to each table and slice them for each guest. There is a system in place where everyone has a card that is green on one side and red on the other. When the green side is facing up, it’s a sign for the gauchos to come by and offer whatever they are slicing, but when the red side is up, you’re basically saying you’re done or taking a break. I am going to admit that I have absolutely no idea which of the grilled meats I actually ate… although I am sure I had the garlic rump steak and the marinated BBQ pork belly below. I also had a few bacon wrapped dishes so I was definitely on board with the bacon theme. Everything I had was quite good and if you’re a meat lover – this would totally be up your alley.

Gaucho at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse

Gaucho at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse

Garlic Rump Steak - Picanha com Alho

Garlic Rump Steak – Picanha com Alho

Marinated BBQ Pork Belly

Marinated BBQ Pork Belly

After that incredible all you can (m)eat fest, you would think that there would be no room whatsoever for after dinner digestifs, coffee and dessert… but you would be very very wrong. All through the night, our server kept reminding us to save room for dessert and I for one listened. But first we ordered a digestif and/or coffee – the licor 43 was a very cool drink with multiple layers of flavors and the pouring of it was certainly a show. Our server got up onto a chair and very precisely poured three glasses of the licor 43, apparently pouring it from above aerates the drink and I definitely saw bubbles in the glasses aftewards.

Our server pouring the liquor 43 from above

Our server pouring the liquor 43 from above

Since I was planning on driving home, I decided against a glass of licor 43 and went for the Cafe Brigadero instead. The Cafe Brigadero was sweetened with condensed milk and dark chocolate but I didn’t find it overpowering – it was a nice balance of sweet and bitter and I finished it with gusto. On the side of the Cafe Brigadero was a small chocolate, known as the Brigadero, which is like a chocolate truffle mixed with condensed milk instead of cream. I found this a touch too sweet for my tastes, but I can see someone with a bigger sweet tooth enjoying it.

Café Brigadero - Dark chocolate, condensed milk, espresso and steamed milk. Served with whipped cream

Café Brigadero – Dark chocolate, condensed milk, espresso and steamed milk. Served with whipped cream

And finally, let’s talk about dessert, Bel decided to get the Manjar de Coco, which is light coconut based custard topped with a stewed mango sauce. This was a lighter dessert and didn’t sit very heavily, which is a great thing after a large meal. I liked the coconut and mango combination and thought it was fantastic option to end the meal with.

Manjar de Coco - A light coconut based custard topped with a stewed mango sauce.

Manjar de Coco – A light coconut based custard topped with a stewed mango sauce.

I couldn’t pass up trying the BaconFest dessert – after all, I am here for the bacon? The petite chocolate cake with bacon caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream and topped with caramelized bacon was very beautiful plated and very delicious. I usually find chocolate desserts to be too sweet and rich for my tastes but the richness here was broken up by the vanilla ice cream. I didn’t find the cake too dense as it was similar to a chocolate lava cake so the inside was quite soft and gooey. I can’t believe I finished the whole thing but it was *that* good! If I had anything to say it would be that I could have gone for more ice cream, less cake, but otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Petite chocolate cake with bacon caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream and topped with caramelized bacon

Petite chocolate cake with bacon caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream and topped with caramelized bacon

So What Would Argenplath Pay?

Typically the BaconFest menu would run $64.95 (+ tax and tip) per person and if you decide to go with a cocktail, digestif, coffee or non-BaconFest dessert, you will be adding additional costs as well. If you are planning on doing the BaconFest menu, your entire table has to be participating, so if you want to do that, make sure your dining companions are down with the game plan. Otherwise a non-BaconFest menu would be $49.95 (+ tax and tip) per person, not including any cocktails, after dinner drinks and dessert.

I think that if you can eat a lot and really like your proteins, Pampa is a great option for you. While it’s not an every day splurge, I could see it being a great option for special occasions! I don’t know if Pampa is the best option for me since I lean towards seafood and fish more than red meats, but if I had friends who wanted to come for dinner, I wouldn’t say no. In fact, I think lunch is a really great deal for $24.95 (+ tax and tip) per person. Of course lunch only (ha only!) has 5 grilled meats available as compared to the 10 at dinner, but I don’t think I ate more than 5 types of meat (I am really not sure!) so I would consider a Pampa lunch in the future!

Disclosure: Our meals were complimentary and the only thing we ended up paying for was the gratuity, which worked out to $15 per person. I was not expected to write a review in exchange for our meal and all opinions remain my own.

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