Domingo Gordo (Fat Sunday), AKA Feijoada Day

feijoada @ Mother-In-Law Restaurante for Domingo Gordo

The Prato do Dia at Mother-in-Law Restaurante was not a surprise today: feijoada (bean stew). As expected on Domingo Gordo, the Fat Sunday before Fat Tuesday, which I like to call Feijoada Day. This is one of my favourite meals at Mother-in-Law Restaurante, highly anticipated and seldom made. THIS is the dish I wish would edge out bacalhau at Christmas!

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Scenes From The Rio Leça Trail

Trilho da Nascente do Rio Leça

Walking in the Portuguese countryside guarantees animal sightings of the friendly kind, with the occasional grumpy guard dog. We usually see more animals than people, and the curious stares we get from the local creatures sometimes border on the comical. Ice the Dog gets the credit for that.

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Armazéns Cunhas, Art Deco In Porto

Armazéns Cunhas, Porto

I’ve always had an interest in architecture, but until I moved to Portugal it was mostly latent except when I was travelling. I photographed buildings often in Toronto but they didn’t span many eras — most were new. (To give you an idea, this is a list of buildings in Greater Toronto older than 1850; there are only 116. I did, however, shoot a wedding at the second-oldest building, The Old Mill.)

Armazéns Cunhas is my favourite of the Art Deco-style buildings in Porto thus far — there’s something about peacocks that draw me in. Architect Manuel Marques (1890-1956) and his associates Amoroso Lopes and Coelho Freitas worked together to combine three 19th century buildings into a single Art Deco façade in Praça de Gomes Teixeira. Armazéns means ‘warehouses’ and Armazéns Cunhas was originally known for its wedding and christening outfits, founded by Tito Cunha in 1960. (I’m still researching to find out how the building was used before 1960.) Today it’s a department store.

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Progresso, Porto’s Oldest Café

Café Progresso, Porto's oldest café (est. 1899)

If you are a coffee lover, you might find yourself stopping every fifty paces (or less) for a café in some parts of Porto. If you asked me how many cafés there are around the city, I couldn’t begin to guess a number. However, I can tell you which one is the oldest: Café Progresso opened in 1899, which makes it 117 years old this year, even older than the bookstore Livraria Lello & Irmão around the corner which just celebrated its 110th birthday. You know you’re living in the right place where merchants of coffee and literature have such longevity.

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Minho-Style Eating In Ponte de Lima

Minho-style eating @ Restaurante Muralha, Ponte de Lima

rojões and postas

A Little Geography

MinhoAlthough Portugal is no longer divided into provinces, you will still hear people referring to them frequently, especially when it comes to traditions such as food and folk dancing. In the former province of Minho in the north, you’ll order Rojões à Moda do Minho from a Minhota. When you’re in the south, prepare to be confused as you order carne de porco à alentejana which is actually from the Algarve, not the Alentejo. But you get my drift: the provincial names are deeply ingrained in the local culture and politics be damned.

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