Back home. Meh…

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And I’m back. I hope you savoured the little eye candy I left for you to enjoy while I roam around Portugal. When I say that I’ m back, I mean – the body is back. The soul…yeah, still kinda reluctant to return. I can’t really say what my expectations of Portugal were. My friend had some free days and suggested a little vacation, so I thought – why not? Portugal? Okay. Cheap tickets? Sure, let’s go. And wow!I ♥ Portugal!

Although we did travel somewhat on a budget, meaning no extravagant gourmet dinners and and expensive desserts, we still managed to eat lots of fresh and tasty food. And the Portugese like to keep it simple, too. Gotta love ’em.

So, we started off in Porto. After landing in Lisbon in the late afternoon, we took a bus to Porto as not to waste time travelling the next morning, and enjoy Porto to the fullest. I wish I could say two days in Porto were enough, but…Looking back, we really just scratched the surface. However, we got to dine in a cute little restaurant in Gaia ( which is across the bay from Porto ) where the owner shares his own aguardiente from a big coffee jar ( too funny ), but only if you’re nice and cute and let him use your new DSLR camera. Pretending to understand Portugese also helps. It goes without saying that the food was delicious.

portugal-090Croquetas de bacalhau – most common appetizer, can also be found in pastry shops.

portugal-094Dorada grelhada– grilled dory.

Our stay in Porto wouldn’t have been the same really, had we not tried some Port wine ( after gulping down a a bottle of wine and some aguardiente. I have no idea how we made it back our room.). There are many wine cellars to choose from, so it would be a good idea to read about it a little before the trip. Most of them offer half hour wine tasting tours if you re curious to learn more.

Ha!I almost forgot. Make sure to try Franceshina if you’re travelling around northern Portugal. We learned about this dish while in Braga, waiting for a train back to Porto. I’m sure there are better varieties out there, but it was warm and filling and we were hungry. Even though the waiter assured us our ears would fall off because it was hot, we ended up having to add some more piri piri (hot) sauce. They should know better than to mess with a Mexican and two girls who are not afraid to take some heat. But just to be on the safe side, try first before you start adding stuff…

portugal-218Franceschina –  a layer of toast, an endless parade of meats,  cheese, broiled and served with tomato sauce.

It would be totally unfair ( not to mention all the hate mail I’d be receiving ) to leave out cod fish, or bacalhau in Portugese. Of course we tried some –  it is after all their national dish. It was unlike any cod fish I tried in Croatia. Now I know why I never was a fan, yea. Once you try the real stuff… On our visit to Sintra we stopped at a great little restaurant called Apeadeiro, right next to the train station. It specializes in regional cuisine and is mostly visited by locals. Although cod fish dishes come in many ways of preparation ( they say there s more than 365 –  for each day of the year ), we kept it simple; grilled, with some boiled potatoes, olives and roasted garlic. It was a little too heavy for my taste because of the olive oil ( they use generous amounts of it ). Other that that, it was perfect.

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And while you’re in Sintra, make sure not to miss the most famous patiserie Piriquita and their travesseiros ( almond pastries ) and queijadas ( cream pastries ) warm and fresh from the oven… ( Be still, my heart... )portugal-347

Patiseries are an inevitable stop for any foodie, and in Portugal they’re on every corner. It took a lot of will power, let me tell you, to drag us away from those windows! They are completely mesmerizing…

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On our way back from Belém, in Lisbon, we stopped for some pasteis de nata ( custard tarts ) at Pasteis de Belém, a patiserie with over 170 years of tradition. When someone’ s around for that long, you know they’re good at what they do. We tried many pasteis de nata around the country , I dare say, but the ones at Belém were without a doubt the best!

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My affair with Portugal isn’t over yet;  I’ll definitely be going back. Never really understood the concept of saudade, but now, all I can say is Portugal, tenho saudades tuas…

I hope you enjoy our little foodie adventures. Now, I f you’ll excuse me, I need go beg the Daring Bakers on my hands and my knees to take me back…( Please, please, please…)

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~ by kissmyartichoke on March 1, 2009.

4 Responses to “Back home. Meh…”

  1. Great post, hon! I’m saudade right now…first day on job after THIS! How to survive? Daydreaming I guess…

  2. I know EXACTLY how you feel, hon. My head’s in the clouds. I blame the “viejo” and his “aguardiente”…

  3. fantastic pictures and delicious stories..really enjoyed it. i’m so gonna go back to portugal! oh about the “Francesinha” I totally had it by accident. Although I’m not a big fan of meat, i absolutely liked it. um…yummy sauce..thay said, it’s typical porto dish and the sauce is the secret!!( I had no idea!!)
    well good job ivona!

  4. I’m glad you liked my country! It’s good to see such nice pictures that honor it well. Pastéis de Belém are also my favourite! Hope you come back soon!

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