Originally published on CBC.ca

The match was scheduled to kick off in half an hour and I was certain that the best seats would already be taken. At least that's what I expected as I rushed into Café Caco to watch Portugal take on Brazil.

To my surprise the cafe was nearly empty. I had heard stories about the atmosphere inside of this place, but as I looked around at my dimly lit surroundings I began to wonder what I was doing here so early in the morning.

The vibes didn't hit me until I sat down and began to notice the flags and maps of Portugal adorning the walls. Suddenly I was no longer in Ottawa. Everything was Portuguese -- from the menu right on down to the TV announcers. It was an amazing transformation.

And like that Café Caco completely changed. The Portuguese and Brazilian supporters began pouring in. I was instantly surrounded by a sea of fans, one group chanting "Vamos Brazil" while the other countered with "Força Portugal." For the entire match the café was a buzz with chatter. At any given moment the referee was either being applauded or jeered. Fans spoke to the players on the TV just as much as they spoke to each other.

And then it was all over. Neither team had scored. I left my little taste of Portugal and stepped back into Ottawa, convinced that our city needs more places like Café Caco. By the way I strongly recommend the Chorizo sandwich.

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