Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Port-O, last stop

It took us over 5 hours to get from Lisbon to Porto on the "fast train". I wonder how long it would've taken on the regular train. Porto by the way is pronounced as Port. I was buying the tickets to Port-o and the guy said "Port". And I was worried that Port might've been a different town so I said Porto again. He gave me this look that suggested that I was thick and said once more, very clearly, "Port!" So that was our last stop, Port.

Looking at the scary (or beautiful depending on your taste) thing above, you would be forgiven for mistaking that Kim Gary has arrived in Portugal. No, no, this Kraft singles-covered monstrosity is called a francesinha which translates to "little French thing". Its a dish that can only be found in Porto. I don't know the story behind it but I can tell you that its not something you should eat regularly. Grilled white bread sandwich stuffed with cheese, spicy pork sausage, bacon, ham AND steak, covered with more cheese and doused in hot pepper sauce. Phwahliao! It was something my brother would' ve really enjoyed. He loves his meat and the junkier the better. For me, it was just...TOO MUCH! It was actually quite interesting but the high salt level was way past my threshold! The flavours were all so intense. Anyway, I'm glad I got to try a slice of Porto.


The dusted brown turd-looking thing below was delicious! It has the taste and texture of lebkuchen, which I love. Its a little spicy from the ginger, not too sweet and has a good strong cocoa taste. Hunky and I paid €0.30 for this giant "biscuit". It was a beautiful day and we had just finished our sightseeing for the day. On the way back to the hotel, I just couldn't resist buying something to snack on. So we bought one of these and nibbled at it sitting in a park watching old men play cards and dogs being walked.

It was Hunky's birthday and I asked the guy at the front desk to recommend a nice restaurant we could go to. He suggested D.Tonho which in by the river and has spectacular views. There are actually two D.Tonhos on opposite sides of the river. We crossed the river to Gaia where all the port wine makers are and got the view of the houses and historical ruins of Porto. It was a small modern-looking restaurant but the food was Portugese fare. Hunky ordered his last bacalhau for the trip while I had a plain grilled fish. What was interesting were the starters. He ordered some random thing that suggested ham or bacon and abacaxi. He figured that it can't go wrong as long as there was pork in it. As for abacaxi, we were excited to find out what it was. It turned out to be pineapple! Grilled bacon with grilled pineapple. Yum!! Salty and sweet. Smoked and grilled. Nice combo. For my started I ordered the mini pica pau. I thought it sounded cute. Yes, my rationale was completely lame compared to Hunky's. It was a very heavy dish that consisted of stewed sausages, pork and olives with slices of dense bread made out of chestnut flour. It was a big portion for a "mini" and I think it would've tasted fantastic with beer and wine, neither of which I was drinking that night.


Our best meal since Cascais happened on our last night in Porto. We had spent the day wandering through the charming streets of Porto, taking a gentle boat ride and visiting Calem port wine makers. We were too lazy to head back to the hotel and come out for dinner again. So we had more drinks in a cafe by the river and by fluke we ended up at Presuntaria Antiga. I'm not even sure if that was the actual name. We were walking past and it was bustling with locals so we went in. I had kid leg and Hunky had wild boar. Again, the portions were just massive. Obviously we don't learn, and also we are both quite greedy. I had kid coming out of my ears! I wasn't sure what I was eating. I don't think it was kid because the chunks were quite big and not all that tender. I suppose it could've been mountain kid? Anyway, it was very tasty. It was full of flavour. And I just love that green olive oil taste, chestnuts and potatoes. Mmmm. We were a bit confused when the bill arrived because it said 1/2 portion on both of our dishes. I like to think that maybe it was a special anniversary thing because if that was half portion, I'd hate to see the whole one!

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