Tag Archives: Portugal

Fogo’s Peri Peri: Portuguese Chicken in Chicagoland

portugalMozambiqueSouth Africa FlagWhen we heard that there was a Peri Peri chicken place in Skokie we were pleasantly surprised. Peri Peri is a Portuguese/African dish of spicy peri-peri pepper marinated chicken, popularized in the US and throughout the world by the South African Nando’s chain. We had tried Peri Peri chicken before, but only at Nando’s, which coincidentally now has 2 locations open in Chicago (when Fogo opened there were no Nando’s in the area).

PeriPeri Fogo’s seemed to be set up in a similar mold to Nando’s. Like Nando’s you can order the type of chicken pieces you want (breast, thigh, etc.), and then select the sauce, ranging from a mild lemon to super spicy. Fogo’s boasts that all of their chicken is marinated for 24 hours. We thought the chicken was slightly more reasonably priced than Nando’s, and you can get a quarter chicken for less than $5. Other options include chicken wings and chicken strips, and a surprisingly large vegetarian section with many wraps and sandwiches filled with paneer (an Indian curd cheese). There were also some unusual sides, like yucca fries and corn on the cob. Customarily L ordered a quarter chicken with medium heat, and M ordered spicy (is there any other way?)PeriPeriYuca

There had been some previous complaints about slow service, but we thought it took only a little longer than a typical counter service place for the chicken to be grilled-to-order. This chicken was flavorful and well-spiced, and we appreciated the nice char from the grill. M was also happy that the spicy was actually pretty spicy! The sides were not as successful, so we suggest getting your fill of the finger-licking good chicken. We are happy to have another option for Portuguese chicken in the Chicagoland area. Nando’s fans will be happy to know that Fogo’s is comparable to Nando’s (one can’t help but compare), but with more reasonable prices and more vegetarian options.

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The best Pasteis de Nata in London

united_kingdomportugalOne of our first stops in London was the venerable British Museum, where they had a delightful museum cafe run by the local cafe chain Benugo (various locations throughout London). Imagine our surprise when we saw the iconic Portuguese pastry, the Pastel de Nata, being advertised proudly front and center alongside muffins and scones, as a “Panata.” We certainly weren’t expecting to see one of our favorite Portuguese treats in this location! The panata from Benugo was actually pretty good, and once we saw our favorite treats there, we started seeing them in shops all around town. Who would have thought it would be so popular in London?

Panata

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Macanese cuisine at Fat Rice in Chicago

MacauI jumped out of a moving car to get a table at Fat Rice (2957 W. Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL ). That is how crowded the place can be get, and how legendarily hard-to-get the tables are. But at 5pm on a Wednesday we need not have worried, as we easily got a table for 2 just when walking in (we were some of the first people there, and by the time we left at 7, it was still not full). The tables at Fat Rice are communal, and the decor is simultaneously sparse and kitschy, with golden pigs, Chinese pottery and a Portuguese rooster holding pride of place.

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Fat Rice has received a slew of accolades, including being one of Bon Appetit’s top new restaurants in 2013. The menu features the cuisine of the former Portuguese colony of Macau, a history that lends it a unique fusion of Portuguese and Chinese cuisines. Short of taking a trip to the luxurious island, there aren’t many places to sample Macanese food. To help, the menu at Fat Rice is broken into several sections, small plates, noodles and entrees to share. There were also a rotating number of specials.

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The squash special – those aren’t noodles – they are ribbons of squash!

We had a tough time deciding what to order, and we went with a few specials, since we hoped the other dishes would be there on our next visit! Some of the items that stood out (that we did not get) included the linguiça appetizer with ginger and olive ($8), the piri-piri chicken with spicy tomato and peanut sauce ($24) and the Malay vegetable curry with sweet potato and cashews ($16). However, when making our order, our waitress pushed us to order a vegetable dish, saying we had too many heavy foods (not sure if this was a personal thing or a management directive). In the end, she may have been right, but we were not super excited to be told multiple times we had ordered incorrectly. I think she was also a little crestfallen when we substituted vegetables for one of the more expensive meat dishes….

Rolled rice noodles

Rolled rice noodles

To start off with, we ordered a classic dish, the handmade hand-rolled rice noodles, which came either with XO sauce or mushroom and egg ($14). This was the first time we had tried XO sauce, the famous Hong Kong umami bomb, tempered with hot chilies. We absolutely loved it! At the nosy behest of the waitress, we did indeed prefer a vegetable: the special Summer Squash stir fry. The squash was cut into thin ribbons and dressed with a light sauce, tianjin (pickled cabbage) and basil. It was super light and delicious, while also being complex. Finally, we tried the special entree, the whole Branzino. This was definitely the star of the night, with an inexplicable combination of flavors: Thai lime, tamarind and cilantro.

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Whole Branzino in foil

Another thing that really impressed us was the list of rare and unusual teas available, provided by the Rare Tea Cellar. We knew we had to get a pot of tea. Like wine, each of the teas had tasting notes to go along with them. We were intrigued by the “Freak of Nature Oolong” tea ($9) which boasted tasting notes of popcorn, shortbread and watermelon. The cute teapots came with unlimited refills and most cost between $5 and $10, which we felt was reasonable, because the servers do actually do come and refill the teapot.

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Pigs, figurines and rooster keeping court at Fat Rice

By the end of our meal, the communal tables had begun to fill up. The people at the end of the table did in fact order the signature item at Fat Rice and its namesake, arroz gordo. There is a charming little illustration depicting all of the myriad ingredients that make up one order of fat rice: prawns, squid, mussels, rice and more ($48). It looked like it took about 3 people to truly handle the dish. We were actually really impressed by Fat Rice, one of the recent places where we felt the hype was warranted. We are excited to try brunch, where our favorite items in the world are featured: egg tarts!

FatRice

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A view of Lisbon at Noobai Cafe

portugalWe were enjoying a coffee at the quiosque by the Santa Catarina Miradouro, a classic Portuguese lookout point, when we noticed Noobai (Rua de Santa Catarina, 2715-311 Lisboa, Portugal), a location with an even BETTER view. We knew we had to get there on our next visit to the area. Noobai has two tiers of terraces, so obviously the best time to visit is on a nice day (or night – Noobai is open most days noon until 10 PM or later on weekends). However, even if you are not lucky enough to be in the area on a sunny day, there is also indoor seating and a retractable tarp cover on the lower balcony. We ended up visiting Noobai on a day with patchy rain so we were grateful for the tarp – we stayed dry.

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The menu at Noobai is pretty diverse, in the quiosque model, focusing on coffee drinks and fresh-squeezed juices including papaya and pineapple. There are also plenty of sandwiches and more substantial options like Thai noodles or a hamburger (more and more popular in Lisbon). They also have brunch, another American import that is starting to catch on in Lisbon. The small  “Vitamin brunch” was billed as yogurt, granola and fresh fruit, accompanied by a peanut and chocolate cookie. Check out the size of the yogurt we got – it seems like there was at least a pound! We were not expecting the giant size (€8.50) so unless you are super hungry maybe consider splitting one. There is also an “Energy brunch” with eggs, salmon and bacon for the heartier appetite.
Noobai
Noobai is a modern version of a quiosque, and it is a perfect place to while away the afternoon, with either a full meal or just a drink. We enjoyed our mint and pineapple juice as we watched the boats and construction on the Tagus river. Set right in the side of the hill, you get a view of Lisbon that is second to none. Even if it raining, you can enjoy yourself.

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Portuguese Biscuit Letterpress Notebook by Serrote

CookieNotebookportugalWe adore this letterpress biscuit/cracker/cookie (somewhat lost in translation) notebook from Portuguese design shop Serrote. We bought ours at the A Vida Portuguesa kiosk inside the Ribeira Market (post coming soon), and you can buy it online at A Vida Portuguesa as well.

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Pastry Post-doc in Portugal: Bolo de bolacha

portugalThe bolo de bolacha, which means “cookie cake,” is a Portuguese version of the classic icebox cake. This iconic cake uses “Maria” cookies, versions of which are available in pretty much any Latin grocery store, and typically is made with condensed milk and coffee. We tried this mini bolo de bolacha at the Ribeira Market in Lisbon, and we were instantly sold on the comforting dessert with a coffee kick. Unlike many Portuguese desserts, this one is simple enough to make at home. Here is a super-simple butter-free recipe from Dreaming Drawing, and a version with eggs from Portuguese Diner.Bolacha

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Pastry Post-Doc in Portugal: Saboia

When we first read Fabrico Proprio, we were particularly intrigued by the saboia cake. It almost looked cartoonish, what with the striking brown polka dots on white background. The saboia is made of the trimmings of other chocolate cakes cut into a thin outer layer and jaunty polka dots, and filled in with whipped cream. Apparently, the saboia used to be popular in the 1940s, but is now sold in very few stores in Lisbon, in fact it may only be one, Central da Baixa (Rua Áurea 94, Lisbon). Like the saboia, this cafe is a holdover from an earlier time, somewhere between the present day and the elegant Manueline architecture. The saboia was super rich, and the chocolate cake parts had a fudgy consistency. This is definitely a special occasion cake. Even more intriguingly, I haven’t found a single recipe for this complicated cake online.Saboia

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Guide to Old-School beverages at Lisbon’s Quiosques de Refresco

portugalWe previously wrote a post about Quiosques, small cafe kiosks located in city squares, and their awesome prevalence throughout Lisbon. Today, we are going to give you a guide to a special breed of quiosque – the Quiosque de Refresco (refreshment kiosk). The quiosque de refrecos is the brainchild of Catarina Portas, proprietor of the store A Vida Portuguesa, who wanted the revive the quiosques in Lisbon, and their old school drinks. The project was extremely successful, and the Quiosque de Refresco is something of a chain now with five locations throughout Lisbon. We were shocked to learn that there was no quiosque (in the recent past) in the bustling Praça Luís de Camões (below) until the Quiosque de Refresco appeared in 2009. Doesn’t it seem like it had been there forever?

Praça Luís de Camões

Praça Luís de Camões

What makes these quiosques so unique, despite being cool places to while away the time, is that they sell old-school drinks that originated in the mid-20th century or earlier. So what kinds of drinks can you get at a refreshment quiosque? The drink options are written on a little hanging chalkboard, pictured below, and include both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Seem confusing? Never fear, I will walk you through all of the options on the menu pictured below.

QuiosqueMenu

Leite Perfumado – I ordered what I thought was a Spanish horchata, turns out it was actually a leite perfumado. This drink, which translates to “perfumed milk,” is milk steeped with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon, which gave it a chai-like flavor. Even though it is made with UHT (boxed) milk, which I normally do not like – I thought it was great! This drink is served cold.

Leite Perfumado

Leite Perfumado

Mazargan – This is a classic drink made from coffee, sugar and lemon. The Portuguese are big coffee experts, and this storied coffee drink has quite an interesting history, and bears the name of a town in Algeria. Served cold, this drink is sweet and refreshing and good for a midday caffeine boost.

Limonada/oranjada– Perhaps the most familiar option, these are fizzy lemon or orange drinks, much like a San Pellegrino fizzy beverage. These crisp drinks are definitely great for a warm day, or for kids.

Capilé

Capilé, pre-mixing

Xarope (Syrup) drinks – These drinks came in a variety flavors, and are served with a small amount of sugar syrup in a cup, and you then mix in a small bottle of still water. Two of the most iconic and unique syrups are the groselha and the capilé. These drinks were somewhere between a juice and Kool-Aid in taste, but not super sweet. The flavor Groselha is within my realm of knowledge – red currant. However, capilé was something else entirely – not that it doesn’t even have a translation on the menu – fern! We really enjoyed the Capilé, which had a sweet grassy flavor similar to green tea. Other syrups available included: chá verde/green tea, erva principe/lemongrass, tonilho-limão/thyme-lemon and the simple limão/lemon.

Groselha

A mixed Groselha syrup drink

Alcoholic:

Vino quente– We were there during the winter, this drink was basically flying out of the quiosque. Vino quente is literally translated as”hot wine,” and is basically a mulled wine (usually Madeira or Port) with spices. Perfect for a cold night.

Grogue – For some reason we had this drink mixed up in our head with the Swedish drink glögg, which is actually more akin to the vino quente above. However, we did find a description of what makes us a grogue from the Quiosque site:

O nosso Grogue mistura aguardente velha, água, sumo de limão e mel, é servido bem quente e deve ser bebido de um trago. Sem medos! Which translates to: Our Grog mixes old brandy, water, lemon juice and honey, is served hot and should be drunk in one gulp. No fear!

Praça do Príncipe Real

Quiosque in Praça do Príncipe Real

So there you have it! Now you know exactly how to decipher the menu, and find your new favorite Portuguese drink. We also suspect these drinks may change with the season…mulled wine may not be suitable for a hot summer day. If you are in Lisbon, the quiosque de refresco is a great slice of history, and it fun to seek out all of the different quiosques across town. If you go, let us know what you order!

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Chocolataria Equador: Portuguese chocolates with style

Equador

We are going to NYC this weekend, home of one of our favorite chocolate purveyors, Mast Brothers (shop located at 111 N 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY, though you can get the bars elsewhere). Along with having superlative chocolate, we appreciate Mast Brothers’ attention to detail with the clean, simple packaging with interesting papers. While in Lisbon, we came across a store that reminded us a lot of the Mast Brothers’ aesthetic, Chocolataria Equador (Rua da Misericórdia 72, Lisboa). Located in the Chiado district in central Lisbon (with another location in Porto), this elegant and minimalist Portuguese store sells dark, milk and white chocolate bars with flavors including sea salt, port wine, crispy rice and hazelnut, as well as pure bars without any add-ins. The the chocolate is from around the world, but the bars are handmade in Portugal, with beautiful packaging. Though a little pricey, the chocolate bars came in a variety of sizes for appetites big and small. We sampled an 80% single origin bar – which was phenomenal – perfect for those who like their chocolate to be intense. Inside the shop, there is also a counter with beautifully-decorated truffles and other tidbits for a sweet tooth, including a riff on the iconic-in-Portugal chocolate umbrella. Chocolataria Equador is definitely a must-visit for any chocolate (or design) lover in Lisbon.

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Pastry Post-doc in Portugal: Escangalhado

CrazyPastryportugalThe name of this pastry says it all. In Portuguese, escangalhado means “messed up” and this pastry is basically a chaotic creation, made up of puff pastry and egg yolk cream. The bottom layer is merely a square layer of puff pastry, on top there is a huge dollop of cream onto which tons of puff pastry shards are stuck, all topped with a flurry of powdered sugar. There is no elegant way to eat this treat. We basically used the puff pastry as chips to scoop up the cream. We saw this special treat at only one location in Lisbon, one of our favorite bakeries, Pastelaria 1800 (Largo do Rato 7, Lisbon, Portugal). Have you ever seen it anywhere else?

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Cake tour of Lisbon

portugalBeing the Portuguese pastry fans we are, we were excited to meet up with one of the masterminds behind the indispensable Portuguese patry guidebook, Fabrico Próprio, Frederico Duarte, for a cake tour. Frederico was generous enough to show us around the city to some hidden bakery gems of Lisbon. While we had previously visited the big names like Versailles and Confeitaria Nacional, Frederico helped us uncover yet another layer of sugary, pastry goodness in Lisbon.PacoRealWe first visited Cafe Paço Real (Rua da Conceição 55) an understated cafe with a full savory menu in addition to the bakery counter, in the heart of Baixa. When you walk in, you will notice one feature immediately: there is an azulejo mural of the ubiquitous Portuguese statesman Marques de Pombal on the wall. However, we were most drawn by the wide variety of pastries on display in the street-facing windows, which Frederico told us was more traditional in bakeries of the north, something we had not noticed to this point. We tried the specialty of the house – a unique treat for us – the rocha (“rock” in Portuguese). These little cakes do indeed have a somewhat craggy appearance, but the texture was almost like a banana bread, unlike a sponge cake or puff pastry. It was cakey, not too sweet, and contained bits of citrus peel and more than a hint of cinnamon. This was a different type of pastry and was a nice change from sugar and egg yolks.
RochaThe next stop on the cake tour was another old school cafe in Baixa that Frederico was familiar with: Cafouro (Rua do Ouro 177), usually spotted by its triangular “Tofa” brand coffee signs. There, Frederico recommended that we try a geladinho, a coffee-flavored version of the Indiano pastry in Fabrico Próprio. This pastry was composed of two layers of cake, split in the middle and filled with a coffee pastry cream and a shiny coffee glaze. The pastry was moist and delicious, and we appreciated the unique coffee flavor, not especially common in traditional Portuguese pastries. Like Paço Real, we definitely appreciated the down-to-earth vibe of Cafouro.
GeladinhaNext, we took the iconic #28 yellow tram up to the School of Hospitality and Tourism of Lisbon, located in Campo de Ourique, in the historic Palácio dos Condes de Paraty. Here, we got a glimpse of future pastry chefs hard at work in the teaching kitchen. Frederico also told us about the techniques manual that you can now buy along with Fabrico Próprio, which makes sense since so many people were intrigued to try the recipes behind the desserts in the book. However, due to the semi-industrial nature of most Portuguese baking, these pastries are not generally meant for a home cook (rats!). Still, we hope to try our hand at making them someday.
WheatTileAround a nondescript corner we came upon a truly old school cafe, Panificaçao Mecânica (Rua Silva Carvalho 209), our final stop on the cake tour. This was by far the most unusual stop on the tour, a pastry shop crossed with a breadmaker. The opulent setting was the highlight of the cafe, with two large crystal chandeliers and two types of Bordallo Pinheiro azulejos with wheat motifs (seen above and below). We not-so-secretly covet these azulejos for a future kitchen.

Chandalier

The inside was straight art nouveau, with some anachronistic 1950s plastic-y touches. They had a variety of traditional pastries as well as a wall of breads and an unusual streusel from the Alentejo region. We ordered a new-to-us type of cookie, called a Húngaro (yes, after the country Hungary), and a passable Pastel de Nata. The Húngaros were two sugar cookies joined with cherry jelly and coated in chocolate. Another showpiece of the cafe were the bolinhos de Algarve, little marzipan cakes in the shape of fruit, which reminded us of some of the marzipan candies we had seen in Sicily and Naples.

Hungaros

We finished up at one of our favorite Pastelarias for a superlative Pastel de Nata, Pasteleria 1800 (Largo do Rato 7), brightly decorated with yellow, blue and white azulejos. Though not officially on the cake tour, we were excited to return to one of our favorites before parting ways with Frederico. The cake tour was certainly one of our Lisbon trip highlights. We visited bakeries we would have never noticed, thanks to Frederico’s guidance, and gained an even greater appreciation for the world of Portuguese pastries. Thanks so much for showing us around town, Frederico!WheatTile2

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Portuguese Pastry Post-doc: Bola de Berlim

BerlimportugalIch bin ein bola de Berlim. Yep, this is an offshoot of the Berliner, the classic German jelly donut. The Bola de Berlim is popular throughout Lisbon, and is a basically a fried donut split and filled with yellow egg yolk-based cream found in many Portuguese pastries, creme pasteleiro. However, we have also seen them filled with chocolate cream, occasionally. The regular and mini-sized classic BdB above are from the Padaria Portuguesa bakery chain, though you can get them pretty much anywhere pastries are sold in Lisbon. M liked these as a Portuguese replacement fix for his beloved American donut (though we saw some bizarre prepackaged versions of “American donuts” in the supermarket as well). You can even make Bola de Berlim of your own at home.

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Exotic Portuguese Produce: Anona

Anona2portugalWhen we were in Brazil we felt like we were in a paradise of exotic fruit, and we certainly tasted a few unique varieties. When we arrived in Portugal, we put our hunt for exotic fruits aside. However, we were stopped in our tracks by an exotic Portuguese fruit that bore a striking resemblance to the Brazilian sugar apple, the anona. When we saw the distinctive green nubby shell in the grocery store we did a double take. It looked like a sugar apple, but with less nubs. The greengrocer informed us it was from the island of Madeira, and was ripe when soft. After two days, we broke the anona open, and like the sugar apple, it had white fleshy nodes surrounding large black seeds. The flavor, while similar, tasted a bit more like banana. We were happy to find the anona though it gave us saudades for the sugar apple.Anona

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The best roast chicken in Lisbon: Frangasqueira Nacional

portugalOur noses led us to the Frangasqueira Nacional (Rua da Imprensa Nacional 117, Lisbon, Portugal). We were on our way to another restaurant in the area when we smelled the delicious roast chicken and spotted the tiny shop down the travessa. We knew we absolutely had to return, so we stopped in a few days later. Though the name is a tongue twister, don’t be intimidated – it just means “national chicken shop.” True to form, all they sell are ribs, sausage and the piece de resistance: roast chickens! Though everything looks great, obviously you are here for the chicken.

Frangasqueira Nacional

Frangasqueira Nacional

This is a take-out-only shop and 2/3rds of the store is given over to a giant charcoal grill with an expert griller manning it. When we popped in on a rainy night, the entire grill was full of spatchcocked chickens with various stages of char, and a small line of hungry Lisboetas. Everything in the shop is sold by weight (chicken is €16 a kilo), along with a small selection of extras including fries, rice, tomato salad, chocolate cake, and a refrigerator of cold drinks and beer. You can get your chicken plain, or with spicy piri piri sauce, which was billed to us as only a little hot (don’t worry it isn’t too hot at all). They are crazy about piri piri in Portugal, a sauce made from malagueta peppers, citrus, lemon and garlic. The non piri piri chicken baste was also flavorful, with a hearty helping of salt and garlic.

Frangasqueira Nacional

Grillmaster at Frangasqueira Nacional

A blackboard informed us that a chicken was usually about 3/4th of a kilo, so over 1.5 pounds, which we figured was more than plenty for the two of us. As you can see, unlike in the US, these chickens appeared to be of a normal size. With a side of rice, our whole meal clocked in at less than €12. Don’t worry about having to cart home an unwieldy bird: the grillmaster had a huge pair of scissors with which he cut the chicken into about 8 pieces expertly and efficiently. This seemed like the perfect size for us, but if you would prefer a sampler, there are a variety of deals where you can get a combination of meats for well less than €10.

Frangasqueira Nacional

Chicken’s ready!

There is no place to sit inside the shop, but if the weather is nice, a perfect place in would be in the elegant Príncipe Real garden, which is only a few block away and has an awesome quiosque. We opted to take ours home, where it fed us for 2 meals! Even after a half hour subway ride home: the chicken was delicious, juicy with a crispy skin. It was amazing and certainly one of the best roast chickens we have ever had! We are so happy we found the Franguesqueira, it has become one of our go-to Lisbon places. If you are in the mood for a good, cheap and comforting meal, we can’t think of a better deal in the city.

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Portuguese Candy Surprise Game: Caxia de Furos de Chocolate

portugalAt snack shops and convenience stores around Portugal, you will often see a perplexing yellow and red box with punch holes near the cash register. We learned that it is in fact an awesome game-of-chance involving chocolate candy, called a “Caixa de Furos,” literally a “box of holes” in Portuguese. The boxes are branded by the chocolate brand Regina, so the surprise you receive will be chocolate. So what happens is you use a little pick to punch a hole in the white circle board and then a color-coded ball falls to the bottom of the box. Depending on the color of the ball, you get a different kind of chocolate candy from behind the counter. We tried our hand at a box and got a yellow ball, which got us a Regina chocolate umbrella, one of the most iconic Portuguese treats. You can even buy a small version for your home (which might by dangerous).

Caixa Chocolate

“Take-Home” Caixa de Fruos de Chocolate

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Portuguese Pastry Post-Doc: São Marcos

portugalAs the Pastry Post-Doc moves into 2015, I have reached the point where I am encountering more esoteric Portuguese pastries. At a recent visit to Chique de Belem (Rua Da Junqueira 524, 1300-341 Lisboa) – our 2012 winner of best Pastel de Nata – we encountered a rarer variety, the São Marcos. The kind waitress assured us that it was “really, really good!” So we decided to give it a shot. We recalled this pastry appearing in Fabrico Próprio. This rendition of São Marcos had a top and bottom layer of sponge cake, filled with whipped cream and topped with sticky, shiny caramel. One large piece was more than enough for two – typical of Portuguese pastries – it was a total sugar bomb!

SaoMarcos

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Lisbon, a city of quiosques

portugalQuiosque stampOne of the classic sights in Lisbon is seeing an elaborate beverage and snack stand in the center of a plaza or at the edge of a park. Now these are not modern, boxy newsstand-type places, these are cool, ornate turn-of-last-century (or earlier) ironwork masterpieces called quiosques (kiosks). Quiosques typically serve an array of snacks, coffee drinks, juices, and alcoholic beverages. Typically outfitted with metal tables and chairs, you can lounge for as long as you like: indeed, quiosques remain popular day or night. One feature we particularly love is that some quiosques have baskets full of blankets for customers to use if it get chilly. Since the quiosques are open well into the night, this can definitely come in handy. If you want some munchies with your drink, you can also get pasteis de nata, fried snacks like bacalhau fritters, and simple sandwiches. Quiosques are found throughout town, and have become one of the iconic symbols of Portugal, even appearing on postage stamps (at right). Though quiosques dot the entire city, one of the most popular cafes is located in the center of the Praça de Luís de Camões in the Chiado district, where you can really be in the heart of it all.
QuiosqueSaoRoqueSome quiosques – called “quiosques de refresco” – even specialize in traditional beverages like the rarer mazagran, an iced coffee mixed with rum. Though quiosques are usually classic in design and menu, there are a few outliers, including the Bananacafe quiosque in Belem that is located in a refurbished yellow tram; and the bright red Soundwich cafe in Cais do Sodre that serves gourmet sandwiches (below) with an eclectic soundtrack. Other updated quiosques are found in the parkway of the main thoroughfare Aveneida Liberdade.
SoundwichQuiosque
Quiosques are also usually located in Lisbon parks with views called miradouros (literally “golden views”), which adds another wonderful element of relaxation to the quiosque experience. Enjoy your bica (strong Portuguese coffee) with a view. One of our favorite miradouro quiosques is in the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara where you can get a good cappuccino and a cheese, prosciutto and arugula sandwich on French bread along with your view of the city below (see below). Though quiosques have been an integral part of the city forever, they have been experiencing a major revival in the past 5 or so years. We can definitely see why Lisboetas are flocking back to the quiosques. We have found that there is nothing more relaxing than sitting back with a coffee and watching the world go by.
QuiosqueAlcantara
MiradouroAlcantara

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Fabrico Próprio, a field guide to the world of Portuguese pastries

FabricoProprio We are back in Portugal for the third time and there are still so many pastries to try! An invaluable resource for my pastry post doc has been the book Fabrico Próprio (which means “made in house,” a label you will see on many bakeries), which I purchased in Lisbon in 2012. The book, by Rita João, Pedro Ferreira and Frederico Duarte presents a social history of semi-industrial baking in Portugal, and also serves as a field guide, identifying 92 emblematic pastries and many iconic cafes through lovely pictures and Portuguese/English bilingual text. The book was clearly a labor of love, and the authors were quite thorough in their documentation of pastelarias throughout Portugal (but especially in Lisbon). We love using this book’s detailed photos and drawings as a guide to the sweet offerings in Lisbon, since the Portuguese pastry experience can sometimes be overwhelming. You can learn more on the book’s comprehensive website. We highly recommend this book! Fabrico Próprio is available on the book’s site for 35 euros – and with free international shipping!

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Lisbon Gastronomic Tour 2k15

Chique Pasteis

Back to the land of Pasteis de Nata

portugalWe are excited to be back in Lisbon, Portugal, one of our favorite culinary locations! One of our ETW team members has been in Lisbon for a week and has already indulged in the chouriço, cheese, olives, and our favorite: the pastel de nata (Portuguese egg tart), among other delights. However, now the second member of the ETW team is here – so the gastronomic adventures can really begin. Most importantly, how do our ratings for the best pasteis de nata in Lisbon hold up in 2015?

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Portuguese Pastry Post-Doc for the World Cup: Queijadas from Sintra

Portugal received a trouncing today by Germany in the World Cup, so if you are a Portugal fan, why not drown your sorrows in some delicious Portuguese pastry? One of the most emblematic pastries in Portugal is the Queijada / Queijadinha (simply, “little Queijada”), which is a sweet, baked cheese and egg tart from picturesque Sintra. It is actually kind of hard to describe since “cheesecake” in the USA conjures up memories of cool, creamy New York-style slices. Instead, the filling of a queijada is more solid and granular – not “cheesy” at all! But don’t let that dissuade you – they are delicious and unique in their own right. For the real deal, the best place to get queijadas in Sintra is the Piriquita Cafe/Bakery (Rua das Padarias, 1 – Sintra), a store that has been turning out the delicacies for over a century. If you are not in the vicinity of Lisbon, Honest Cooking and The Age have recipes to make your own sweet treats to smooth over any world cup moodiness.

Queijada

Queijadas at Piriquita by Sandra Rosa

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