I just returned from Sao Paulo. Ajay was attending a few seminars for IE Business School and we stayed for nearly a week. While I was there I realized that the city has a tough exterior. Tougher than New York, I believe. As I was exploring the city, I wasn’t sure I was falling in love with it, the way I do in most other cities. Towards the end of my trip I may have started to break though the tough exterior and really get to the heart of Sao Paulo. Had I stayed longer, I think I would have fallen really hard.
In just a week I managed to see and do many things in Sao Paulo. And of course, I ate alot. Absolutely everything I ate was delicious, whether it be from a tiny place at the corner of a street or a well known restaurant. I was also able to visit a few stores, and meet an online friend in person! Gudy of Eclectic Trends happen to be in town at the same time so I was lucky enough to catch her for lunch. Yes, it was a productive week!
You may have heard of Galeria Melissa, an outrageous plastic shoe store with locations in both Sao Paulo and New York. I adore the New York store and was very excited to visit the Sao Paulo flagship shop. The shop truly is a gallery. Both the exterior and interior walls take on the signature of a new artists every few months. I really like the merchandise, with its bright colors and interesting shapes. The design of the artist this season really accentuates the neon colors of the product being displayed.
Location: Rua Oscar Freire, 867 – Jardim Paulista, São Paulo
Near to Galeria Melissa is a bookstore I heard alot about before leaving New York. Livraria da Vila was designed by Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld. The bookstore had an overwhelming number of books that were spread across three floors. Each floor had an architectural detail with bookcase “peepholes” that allow the visitor to look into the floors above and below. The doors into the store are made of bookshelves enclosed in glass which pivot open for entry. While ope,n the bookshelf doors provide inviting lines which direct the visitor into the store, and while closed the visitor can browse books through the glass.
Location: Alameda Lorena, 1731 – Jardim Paulista, Sao Paulo
Coffee is one of Brazil’s number one exports, and since I’m a huge coffee fan it was important to me to find the best coffee in Sao Paulo. I had heard about Coffee Lab and sat through 1.5 hours of traffic just to get there. Coffee Lab was just 20 minutes from my hotel but the traffic was just horrible! The micro-roastery had a bit of a “hipster” feel, compared to the rest of the town. The owner, Isabela Raposeiras, was the winner of Brazil’s first National Barista Championship. The baristas were outfitted in mechanics’ jumpsuits and were very knowledgeable about the roasts of the day. There were small details that made me giggle, like the pendant lights made of hanging ceramic coffee mugs. The delicious coffee smell overwhelms you when you walk in, so much so that my friends and I bought 12 bags of it! Now I have even more to look forward to on the weekends!
Location: Rua Fradique Coutinho, 1340 – Pinheiros, São Paulo
If you hop across the street from Coffee Lab, you will see an unusual store. E-Holic is a shop comprising of over 350 hand crafted hats, made by owner Durval Sampaio. This shop is hard to ignore, with both the interior and exterior covered in hats that range in sizes, colors and textures. Some were shiny with sequence and some had skulls and feathers. Inside each small note was written, describing what the hat was modeled after, like The Doors and The Stones. The owner was awesome and let us try on tons of hats, take pictures and have a mini-fashion show.
Location: Rua Fradique Coutinho, 1399 – Pinheiros, São Paulo
We went to some fantastic restaurants and bars, but because it was dark I wasn’t able to get good pictures using just my iPhone. If you do go to Sao Paulo some of my favorite places to eat and drink were Kaa, Hotel Unique (Sky Bar), and Pobre Juan. I was able to tour much of the city but I know there is still so much to see. Have you been to Sao Paulo? If so, what was your favorite part of the city?