Portuguese Kitchen, The Restaurant Week Edition

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I’m posting photos of my latest adventures in the Porto food scene, because today was a double-header!

Behold, above: the bifana, Portugal’s national sandwich, and not your average sandwich, either. It involves actual cooking, versus a slapdash mashup of ingredients. Get the recipe here, from the folks at Catavino. It’s one of my favourite snack foods in Portugal, but today my friend introduced me to an elevated and popular local version of the bifana at Conga Restaurante near City Hall, self-billed as the “Casa das Bifanas” since 1976. With a name like that, you’d expect a conga line somewhere in the restaurant, but I can tell you it certainly gets busy enough at lunchtime to make one. Is it the spicy chomp of massa de pimentão (sweet pepper paste) or the white wine marinade that makes it special? I couldn’t tell you — perhaps both — but I’ll return for further research. All in the name of research, friends!

And below, we have Restaurant Week Round Two: Barão Fladgate Restaurant at Taylor’s Port Cellars. (Restaurant Week Round One was Real Indiana Foz.) This is a selection of what was ordered between three of us. It was mostly straightforward… but the codfish taco had me stumped. Where was the taco? And I have yet to find a proper translation for texturas. More research necessary, but I have a few days left of Restaurant Week and I’m gunning for Round Three. Stay tuned!

Restaurant Week at Barão Fladgate Restaurante (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal)

sopa da dia

Restaurant Week at Barão Fladgate Restaurante (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal)

taco de bacalhau com crosta de broa e presunto, batata a murro e grelos salteados em azeite e alho (codfish taco -?- with breadcrumbs and ham, baked potatoes and greens in olive oil and garlic)

Restaurant Week at Barão Fladgate Restaurante (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal)

magret de pato fumado, risotto de frutos silvestres, pontas de espargos (smoked duck, risotto of wild berries, asparagus tips)

Restaurant Week at Barão Fladgate Restaurante (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal)

texturas de coco e limão, gomos de laranja e morango fresco (coconut and lemon textures -?-, orange slices and fresh strawberry)

March 3, 2015
Album: Portugal [Winter 2014/2015]

Quinta Da Aveleda’s Goat Tower

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (1)

I could tell you all about Quinta da Aveleda‘s reputation as a major exporter for vinho verde, or I could show you photos of the country estate landscaped in an English garden style, but it’s Monday and we’ve got our priorities straight here at Gail at Large:

GOATS!

Now that I’ve seen a goat tower for the first time in my life I realized what I have missed in my travels, and it wasn’t more frequent flyer miles: I now have a case of goat tower envy! Imagine the entertainment value of having one of these in your backyard! And it’s only a small footprint, to boot. (Groan.)

From the Quinta’s website:

The Goats’ Tower
In an ode to nature and the old generations at the Aveleda Estate, a three-storey tower was built with a wooden spiral ramp to house dwarf goats. A symbol of fertility and abundance, goats embody the myth of a land which was always able to provide its finest fruit.

I don’t know what it is about goats, but there’s something awfully amusing about them. We were told that the Quinta’s goats were very friendly, but Ice’s presence* stopped them in their tracks. These little creatures compelled me to take more than a dozen photos of their curious gazes; the major underbite on the one half hiding around the corner was especially endearing. I don’t know how many dwarf goats live in the tower, but they have a nice piece of real estate here.

Did these pictures make you smile, even a little bit? Then my work here is done!

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (2)

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (3)

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (4)

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (5)

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (6)

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (11)

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (7)

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (8)

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (9)

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (10)

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal) (12)

* I should mention that dogs are not typically allowed at Quinta da Aveleda because there are resident dogs at the estate, but they made an exception for us.

February 28, 2015
Album: Quinta da Aveleda

Weekend Preview: Solar Egas Moniz, Quinta da Aveleda, Quintandona

Solar Egas Moniz (Paço de Sousa, Portugal)

a warm welcome at Solar Egas Moniz

We’re back home from a weekend mini-roadtrip to some places around the Sousa Valley, all a half-hour drive from Porto: Quinta da Aveleda — a family-owned estate winery specializing in vinho verde (young wine), Solar Egas Moniz — an historic former manor from 1892 converted to a unique boutique B&B, and through the recommendation of the folks at Solar we visited an aldeia (preserved village) called Quintadona just before it got dark yesterday. Each are deserving of their own post, but here’s a little pictorial preview with two frames each while I go through the rest of the images.

Solar Egas Moniz (Paço de Sousa, Portugal)

Solar Egas Moniz, pet-friendly and family-friendly

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal)

cellar at Quinta da Aveleda

Quinta da Aveleda (Penafiel, Portugal)

wine tasting at Quinta da Aveleda

Quintandona (Lagares, Portugal)

Casa da Víuva wine bar in the restored village of Quintandona

Quintandona (Lagares, Portugal)

wine and tapas under an espigueiro (corn granary) at Casa da Viúva wine bar, Quintandona

February 28-March 1, 2015
Album: Portugal [Winter 2014/2015]
Album: Solar Egas Moniz
Album: Quinta da Aveleda

Yerba Mate @ Casa Aguiar

yerba mate @ Casa Aguiar

Thanks to this blog which serves as my external memory bank of experiences, I know it’s been almost five years since I last tried yerba mate. It’s amazing how much of that first taste came flooding back to me as I sipped it again yesterday, which makes me wonder if I should be ditching the coffee and picking up a yerba mate habit!

Ice, being the curious sort, had to give the stuff a sniff but lost interest immediately because it wasn’t meat.

yerba mate @ Casa Aguiar

Paulo was new to yerba mate, so I tried to capture his reaction on camera. There are actually a few shots in between the first and second one, but I like these ones the best.

yerba mate @ Casa Aguiar

yerba mate @ Casa Aguiar

February 27, 2015
Album: Portugal [Winter 2014/2015]

Asado Kitchen, With Our Argentinian Couchsurfers

of course Ice nosed his way into the preparations

We sadly said goodbye to our fabulous Argentinian couchsurfers today, after two days of great conversations over food and wine. They doted on Ice so much I’m sure he’s going to miss them, too! They’ve been travelling for 22 months straight (!) and return to Argentina in a few weeks.

I’ve not been to Argentina, but I know enough about the country and have met enough natives to know one thing about their cuisine: MEAT. Asado is the Argentine barbecue, and last night we were the lucky beneficiaries of a meat-fest in our kitchen. Ice, as you can imagine, went bananas with the smell and he had more than his fair share of handouts.

For the sake of the vegetarians I’ve put most of the pictures in thumbnail size, which you can click to enlarge.

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February 26, 2015
Album: Portugal [Winter 2014/2015]