A recipe for Pastel de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Pastry) inspired by our visit to San Diego, California! These flaky pastries are filled with a cheese mixture and fried until golden.
We loved our short time in the area so much, we ended up going back for a longer trip during Spring Break! I am starting a series of four travel posts with our hotel and nearby food stops in Point Loma and Liberty Station.
Hyatt Regency Mission Bay
We stayed in Mission Valley during our trip to the zoo, but chose Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina during our latest visit.
Located in Mission Bay at 1441 Quivira Road, Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina was in a great area to easily drive around San Diego. From the hotel, we were able to visit most of the spots on our itinerary within 30 minutes (and many within 15).
It was also very family-friendly with multiple pools, waterslides, nightly movies (in the room via the hotel’s channel), and other amenities.
We had a beautiful bay view (other option was ocean view) from our room on the 16th floor of the tower with the marina and downtown San Diego in the distance.
A particularly memorable highlight was watching the sunrise and sea lions splashing around early in the morning from our balcony.
The kids especially loved the three pools and waterslides (two larger slides side by side with a smaller one attached to a separate pool).
We spent most of our late afternoons by the pool after a busy day around San Diego.
I ordered from the poolside bar and grill, Pelican’s on the Bay, a couple of times. Their menu offers a variety of appetizers, snacks, kids’ items, drinks, and cocktails.
We never stopped by, but Red Marlin Restaurant & Terrace is the hotel’s signature fine dining restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Coffee, grab-and-go eats, beach items, and souvenirs can be found at Market Mission Bay.
Other amenities include a fitness center, spa, and marina activities. I didn’t love the high parking fee (same price as the valet), but many of the other hotels I looked into had similar costs.
While waiting to check into the hotel on our first day, we stopped by The Cravory for a few cookies.
Tucked within a small shopping center at 3960 W Point Loma Blvd Unit M, The Cravory has a variety of delicious cookies for takeout, curbside pick up, and shipping within the USA.
We tried the Pancakes and Bacon, Chocolate Truffle, Red Velvet, Lemon Bar, Cookie Monster, Birthday Cake, and Cookies N Cream Milkshake. All were delicious!
Sabor Brazilian Grill
On another night, Chad brought home takeout from Sabor Brazilian Grill at 3944 W Point Loma Blvd Suite G. Ordering online was easy through their website.
Sabor Brazilian Grill is currently open for dine in, takeout, and delivery with a variety of Brazilian BBQ, appetizers, sandwiches, salads, entrees, and desserts.
We picked the:
- Carreteiro Campeiro- their version of a South Brazilian dish with rice, grilled beef, sausage, and chicken in a tangy red wine sauce.
- Brazilian Stroganoff- pieces of picanha (or chicken) in a creamy homemade tomato sauce with mushrooms, Brazilian table cream, and a hint of Cachaça alongside rice and shoestring potatoes.
- Cheese Pastel- mozzarella, Gouda, and Parmesan in thin crispy pastry.
- Margherita Pastel- mozzarella, tomato, and oregano in thin crispy pastry.
- Pão de Queijo- Brazilian cheese bread.
The kids enjoyed a kids cheeseburger with fries and hot dog with grilled sausage on the balcony of our hotel.
Since the area was only 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from the hotel, we stopped by Liberty Station a few times for food.
Gradually redeveloped from a Naval Training Center which closed in 1997, Liberty Station is now home to a variety of restaurants, shops, galleries, breweries, studios, a golf course, and Liberty Public Market.
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
On our first night, we had reservations at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens at 2816 Historic Decatur Rd Unit 116 for dinner.
Chad tried a couple of beers and we also enjoyed the Stone Delicious Bavarian Pretzel, Stone Mac n Cheese, Stone Buenaveza Salt & Lime Lager Onion Rings, Crispy Fish Taco, Carnitas Taco, Chicken Tinga Taco, and Kids Cheeseburger.
The outdoor patio seating was relaxing and a great way to wind down after a busy day.
They have an additional location in Escondido.
Officine Buona Forchetta
On another night, we had reservations at Officine Buona Forchetta.
Located at 2865 Sims Road, Officine Buona Forchetta focuses on Neapolitan pizza and fresh handmade pasta. The restaurant has indoor seating and two outdoor sections. The back patio is next to a small play area with a slide and swings.
During our visit, we tried the Pizza in a Glass (such a fun presentation! Fried dough, San Marzano sauce, basil, Stracciata), Bucatini with Carbonara, Lasagna Bolognese, and Margherita Pizza. This was a favorite dinner in particular with Evan.
Liberty Public Market
Liberty Public Market houses even more food options. This 7-day a week public market and event venue at 2820 Historic Decatur Road first opened in 2016.
The market is now home to over 30 vendors ranging from BBQ and international cuisines to pasta, burgers, popcorn, ice cream, and other treats.
There is indoor and outdoor seating available along with plenty of surrounding parking lots and street parking.
The Mini Donut Company
For our final morning, I picked up a variety of mini donuts from The Mini Donut Company before checking out of the hotel. They are located inside Liberty Public Market with plenty of lot parking.
Flavors rotate. On the day of our visit, we tried the glazed, maple, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, chocolate icing, vanilla icing, sugar dusted, fruity pebbles, sprinkles, and peanut.
Pastel de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Pastry)
To pair with this post, I wanted to make Pastel de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Pastry) after trying them at Sabor Brazilian Grill!
Pastéis are a snack or appetizer from Brazil with a flaky, golden crust and variety of filling options. Shops with a focus on Pastéis are called a Pastelaria. These pastries are perfect for pairing with Caldo de Cana (Sugarcane Juice).
I went with a personal favorite from the restaurant, Pastel de Queijo (Cheese Pastry), but filling range from savory to sweet with options such as chicken, meat, guava, hearts of palm, seafood, and more.
A Few Tips
After forming the dough, refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will give it a chance to relax and allow the dough to roll out into a thin sheet more easily.
The pastry needs to be a thin sheet, about 1/16 inch (1.5 millimeters) thick. If unable roll it by hand, you can also use a pasta machine to the thinnest setting.
The type and combination of cheese may vary. Sabor Brazilian Grill made their Pastel de Queijo with a blend of mozzarella, gouda, and parmesan. I personally went with mozzarella and parmesan.
I shredded the cheese to easily pile in the center of each circle. You can also cut it into small cubes or slices. Just take care to not rip the thin dough as you fold the circles over.
I formed the Pastéis into half moons/half circles, but they can also be cut into rectangles.
If the dough won’t seal well, lightly moisten the edges with water.
After assembly, the prepared Pastel de Queijo can be arranged in single layers on a parchment-lined baking sheet, frozen until thoroughly chilled, and transferred to a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months until ready to fry. Deep-fry straight from the freezer, though a minute or two may need to be added to the cooking time. Take care and use a screen to avoid any splatter.
Adjust the heat of the oil as needed. You want the pastry to turn golden, but also allow enough time for the cheese to melt.
The large splash of Cachaça (Brazilian sugar cane liquor) in the dough helps create the light texture in the pastry. If unavailable, swap for vodka.
Pastel de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Pastry) Recipe
Pastel de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Pastry)
- 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons (44 milliliters) vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) Cachaça or vodka
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) white wine vinegar
- 1 cup (240 milliliters) cold water
- 6 ounces (170 grams) mozzarella cheese shredded
- 2 ounces (57 grams) Parmesan cheese grated
- Vegetable oil for frying
To form the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- Stir in the oil, Cachaça, and vinegar.
- Slowly add the cold water until the dough comes together.
- If too dry, slowly add a little more water. If too sticky to handle, slowly add a little more flour.
- On a floured work surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- In a large bowl, combine the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Divide the rested dough in half. Place one half on a floured work surface and cover the other.
- Roll the dough in a very thin sheet about 1/16 inch (1.5 millimeters) thick.
- Use a 4-6 inch (10-15 centimeter) circular cutter to cut out round wrappers from the dough. Lightly dust with flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of the shredded cheese in the center of one circle.
- Fold the circle in half over the filling, pressing out any air and press together the edges to seal. Press a fork around the edges to seal further. Repeat with remaining circles and remaining dough.
- Fill a pot or deep fryer with at least two inches (5 centimeters) of vegetable oil and heat to 350˚F (180˚C).
- Add a few of the prepared Pastéis at a time, being careful not to overcrowd. Fry on each side until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes total. Be careful not to overcook or the filling may burst.
- Remove to a towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining Pastéis.
- Serve the Pastel de Queijo warm. Caution: the melted cheese will be hot straight out of the oil.