Photo courtesy of Um Nada Convencional Podcast.
As the past, present, and future of eating in Los Angeles continues to expand and contract during the pandemic, one smiling face (behind his mask if you meet him in person) has begun to grab a foothold in the Brazilian community of the city. In February of 2020, Pedro Carvalho starting selling Brazilian-style hamburgers from his home in Culver City. During the first week of 2021, he has moved into the nearby Brazilian Mall, where he can be found five nights a week.
What started as a way to supplement his finances with a passion project while simultaneously driving for Uber, nowadays Pedroca’s Burguer is a full-time job. The native of Belo Horizonte is being visited by Brazilian celebrities, is on Portuguese-language podcasts because demand is high, and takes orders each night until he sells out.
Especially in winter when the sun goes down so early, the beautifully tiled Brazilian Mall might seem desolate on this stretch of Venice Boulevard. But rest assured the Brazilian rodizio-style Roma Specialty Pizza is still open as well as the well-stocked market in the back. Grab a six pack of Cerveja Brahma to take home with you when you grab a burger.
You could spend far too much time looking for just the right selection on this menu, so better just to go right to the bottom and get a single patty X-Cabuloso ($13, below) or double patty X-Rapasão which also adds some shredded chicken between two burgers.
In Portuguese, the letter X has roughly the same sound as the English word “cheese,” and is often used in the names of cheeseburgers. In addition, what makes this unique is the use of an egg, bacon, ham, fried sausage, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. A waterfall of corn and batata palha, the small fried potato sticks, will be cascading from your burger and eventually down your hands and lap.
For a $4 combo upgrade, take home some nice fries and a can of soda. Guaraná Antarctica is available, which has sort of the taste of a dry cherry-spiked ginger ale, if only that cherry-ginger medley actually came from Amazonian guaraná berries.
On Wednesdays only, you can check off one of those things that has been on your bucket list forever: eating a hot dog with mashed potatoes! Hamburgers are on pause on hump day, and there are two different offerings for hot dogs. The hot dog special ($8, above) is the larger of the two, because you did not come for a simple version did you?
Besides the mashed potatoes, the hot dog also has ham, cheese, sausage, ground beef, shredded chicken, bacon, and olives. Packets of condiments come on the side, of which you are instructed to add all three. Once again, corn and batata palha cover the top and hide much of what is inside. Bring a fork!
Pedroca’s Burguer, 10826 Venice Blvd., Culver City