Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Eating, Drinking, and Being Merry

So, there has definitely been some (responsible) port tasting going on around here (over the course of many days), since port happens to be Jeff's and my wine of choice. We love the intense oak and caramel flavors that come from the ports aging in oak barrels. We are particularly fond of the older tawnys and have been trying with all diligence to determine which one is our absolute favorite. It's a hard job, but we are up for the challenge.

We have also been sampling lots of local cuisine, sometimes with our port and sometimes separately. One curiosity is that many restaurants will serve tapas (appetizers) immediately upon seating, with the understanding that you only pay for what you eat. This was actually a gradual understanding for us--a lesson learned the hard way, so to speak, especially since we come from the land of bottomless baskets of free tortilla chips and bowls of salsa. We been served everything from bread and olives to custard tarts (Nata do Ceu)...and we've enjoyed them all. We've also intentionally ordered some local specialties, like Francesinhas (beef and sausage sandwiches covered with melted cheese, served in a bowl with a wonderful sauce, and eaten with a knife and fork), Chorizo Flambe (chorizo sausage, served on a mini grill and set on fire at the table, which is a real crowd pleaser), cheese boards (with lots of local cheeses and jams), and several cod fish dishes. Everything has been delicious!

Thankfully, we are working off most of the excess calories we're consuming by walking around this beautiful city, which is is built on a hill, so every street is almost vertical. And, also paved with cobblestones. So it's not like namby pamby exercise. (At least that's what I tell myself.)

Sadly, we had to say goodbye" to Mimi and Grandpa this evening. And, our time in Porto is almost at an end, as well, as we'll head out early Thursday morning for England. There has been a whole lot of merry-making, though, and exceptional memories have been made.

I'll drink to that!

Pretty Porto

On a mission to find our favorite

We enjoyed the tour at Sandeman conducted by the "Don."

Iconic Branding:
1. The younger boys outside the House of Sandeman
2. Clay with the "Woman in Black" of Porto Cruz
3. Clay with "The Don" of Sandeman
(Because, as you know, Clay does like a good statue!)

Ponte Pensil has been a favorite place!
The two food items shown are the Chorizo Flambe and the Francesinha.

 The boys have really enjoyed playing at the playground by the river
and putting on performances at the Ponte Pensil platform.

This restaurant prided itself on "rotating tapas" (served on a lazy Susan)
and being able to pull out a bottle of vintage port from its collection
for almost any patron's birthday year, for photo ops.
I guess that means that we're a "vintage" couple.

We were so sad to say goodbye to Mimi and Grandpa
this evening. We had so much fun exploring Spain and
Portugal with them during the past month. They will be missed,
but we will carry special memories of this time with us!

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