The One Hungry Pickle Guide to Lisbon–Where To Eat

SONY DSCIt wouldn’t be a Bhabha holiday if much time wasn’t spent deliberating over where and what to eat and planning our activity schedule accordingly. Located right on the coast, Lisbon is a bastion of fresh seafood, so many fish and crustaceans were consumed during the course of the week. Of course, we couldn’t escape many bites of the local specialty bacalhau–salted cod. I’m a sucker for Port as well, so I took it upon myself to finish many a meal with a glass of the sweet, dense stuff. Without further ado, a peek into our alimentary adventures:

SONY DSCCafe Lisboa was our first stop in Lisbon, and it shook me out of my plane haze immediately. The gorgeous outdoor setting–in the middle of a picturesque square in the city’s Bairro Alto neighborhood– combined with the delicious food and thrill of reuniting with my parents on vacation made this a perfect stopping point. It’s one of a slew of restaurants by local celeb chef Jose de Avillez. More on him later…This here is some shredded potato with eggs, bacalhau and some casual spherical (read: liquid filled and crazy) olives on top.
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As I mentioned, seafood is a deliciously unavoidable part of any trip to Lisbon, and we got a crash course in the freshest catches and crustaceans at SeaMe:

SONY DSCDon’t be alarmed by the service staff’s cheesy t-shirts (they say something like “rock and roll and sushi”) or the abundance of tourists–the food is excellent, and the locals are also fans, if less obvious ones. Missing the sardine (also a local favorite) nigiri is not an option: SONY DSCand I particularly enjoyed scoping out all the fresh fish before selecting our meal. SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

If you go to Lisbon without trying a Pasteis de Nata, you’re basically a psychopath and will be relentlessly mocked by any person that has ever visited Lisbon. These classic Portuguese custard-filled pastries are the sweet emblem of the city, and not to be missed under any circumstances. While they are made throughout Lisbon, there is one bakery in particular, in nearby Belem, that has been preparing the universally accepted archetype of the pastry: Pastéis de Belém.SONY DSCAfter waiting in the interminable line, you tell the counter person how many orders of six you’d like. At the speed of lightning, you have a tubular carton, filled with six little dreamtarts. Slightly singed on top, they are still warm, and best served with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Hot custard in a flaky crust…you can’t leave without one…or six. SONY DSC

After an extended stroll through the bougie-chic Principe Real neighborhood, we happened upon this extremely classic, down to earth Portuguese restaurant Tascardoso. No frills, and no need for frills, because it was precisely what we needed: tasty, affordable, and authentic. We all had grilled seafood–I went with octopus, and of course, the ubiquitous boiled potatoes that I’d been gorging myself on throughout.

SONY DSC SONY DSCDid I mention they serve house wine in a jug and present you with melted cheese before your meal has even started?SONY DSCSONY DSCAs I mentioned before, José de Avillez is the Thomas Keller/Grant Achatz/etc food boss of Portugal. Following our delightful experience at Café Lisboa, we managed to score a lunch reservation at his two star Michelin spot: Belcanto.SONY DSCIt was definitely a gastronomical extravagance, but a fabulous one at that. The food was extremely innovative and the vibe, though fancy, was still very warm. I’m still thinking about having a gin apéritif served to me within a orange hard shell (excuse the lack of focus!) SONY DSC, the otherwordly orange sauce accompanying suckling pig heaven and potato chips (top right) whose bag was made of potato starch and thus edible…yeah. I ate the bag. SONY DSCand this “mandarin” dessert my Dad ordered.SONY DSC  I left with every sense satisfied, and wishing that black garlic caramels were a frequent snack in my life (middle right)SONY DSC

Massive food halls have become a trend worldwide in recent years, and Lisbon’s Mercado da Ribeira on the seafront, housed in an old marketplace, is a delightful place to spend an afternoon.SONY DSC On one side is the grocery section, which I’ll get to in my “Where To Shop” post, and then in one massive room are numerous food stalls, many of which are outposts of Lisbon restaurants. We ate a pastry that weirdly resembled a circus peanut, both in texture and appearance: SONY DSC And checked out the salumi area: SONY DSCOur final meal in Lisbon was at a three-story restaurant called Solar dos Presuntos. I was thrilled and surprised to find a plate of cheese and charcuterie already waiting at the table–why is this not a custom elsewhere?! SONY DSCThe standouts at the meal were stewed baby goat (not pictured, alas) and squid ink rice with seafood. SONY DSC

One last place that I sadly didn’t take pictures of: Pap’Açorda. It’s simple, excellent, and the chocolate mousse will blow your socks off. Order the Açorda–it’s a local specialty of stewed bread and various ingredients. Get the tomato one.

And there you have it, fantastic food everywhere.

Cafe Lisboa
Largo de Sao Carlos 23, Lisbon 1200-410
211914498

SeaMe
Rua do Loreto 21, 1200 Lisboa
21 346 1564

Pasteis de Belem
Rua Belém 84-92, 1300-085 Lisboa
21 363 7423

Tascardoso
Rua de O Século 242, Lisboa

Belcanto
Largo de São Carlos 10, 1200-410 Lisboa
21 342 0607

Mercado da Ribeira
Avenida 24 de Julho 50

Restaurante Solar Dos Presuntos
Rua Portas de Santo Antão 150, 1150-269 Lisboa
21 342 4253

Pap’Açorda
Rua da Atalaia 57, 1200-037 Lisboa
21 346 4811

The One Hungry Pickle Guide to Lisbon–What To See

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SONY DSCI spent last week in Lisbon, Portugal, which, to put it plainly, was a dream. The tiled buildings, ethereal (and seemingly un-capturable) light, magnificent cobblestone streets and sea views would have been enough to entrance me, but add to that great hospitality, relative affordability and wonderful food and I was totally sold.

Without further ado, here’s a list (in no particular order), of the places, sights, and experiences I most enjoyed in Lisbon. Where to Eat and Where to Shop to come!

1.Pena National Palace in SintraSONY DSCSONY DSCI was completely taken with this magnificent multi-colored palace located just 30 minutes outside the city. Tiled walls abound, of course, in addition to yellow turrets and crazy sculptures and shapes everywhere. It was built in the 19th century at the direction of King Ferdinand II in the romantic style, but has both Moorish and Manueline influences–also there’s a real awesome courtyard. Why don’t I live here? The views are sensational, and the town of Sintra itself is charming (if touristy.)SONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSC

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2.The tiled walls and cobblestones—duh!SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC
They are everywhere in Lisbon, so you can’t miss them. But make sure to pay attention to all the different varieties, shapes and colors both on the buildings and beneath your feet. Also, there’s a lot of very interesting street art, so keep an eye out!SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

3.Jardim do São Pedro de Alcantara SONY DSC The whole area of Principe Real is a glorious place to stroll—great shops and even better views. We posted up at this expansive park to take in the views—right before a group of rambunctious Italian tourist teens showed up and I had to immediately vacate. Keep going up and head to the Jardim do Príncipe Real where you can see a huge, very old tree and the rest of the botanical garden.

4.Praça do ComercioSONY DSCJust a beautiful sight to behold—and so many lovely streets right around there.

5.Museu AntonianoSONY DSC Just go. It’s a quick walk through and gorgeously curated.

6.San Jerónimo MonestarySONY DSC We went at night and were so taken by the architecture. I can’t vouch for the inside, but…I mean…look at that! Plus there were no people and crowds are gross.SONY DSC

7. Lastly, if you’re in Lisbon before August 2nd, don’t miss the incredible Sebastião Salgado exhibit at the Galeria do Torreão Nascente da Cordoaria Nacional. His work is breathtaking.Salgado2 salgado 1

[Salgado photos courtesy of Unicos & Olhares]

….stay tuned for eats and shops in Lisboa!SONY DSC

A Weekend of Festivities

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Apologies for the delayed post, but times have been busy!

Most years, my family attends a passover seder. This year, however, was the first time we hosted it–in my brother’s home in DC, where my best friend and her fiancé also live (in the basement apartment-family affair, I know.) My friend and I decided to cook our first solo seder, skipping only the brisket, but making the classics.

I decided early on that I wanted to make both types of Charoset–the classic Ashkenazi version with apples and walnuts, and the Sephardic recipe with dates, bananas, and dried fruit.

Sephardic Charoset

Sephardic Charoset

Ashkenazi Charoset

Ashkenazi Charoset

Lauren made super-moist, wonderful classic Jewish meatballs, which I sadly didn’t photograph, and a gorgeous flourless chocolate cake.SONY DSC I took it upon myself to prepare my own horseradish which was surprisingly easy. My brother let me in on an interesting tip–the longer you let the blended horseradish sit WITHOUT the vinegar, the spicier it will be. The vinegar stops the heating-up process (or something equally scientific), so when it’s reached the spice level you’re happy with, add in the other ingredients.SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC

Having purchased a small pascal lamb bone, we had to figure out the roasting, as the oven was permanently occupied. The solution? A toaster oven.SONY DSCSONY DSC

We also made matzoh ball soup–my favorite–and I put together my go-to Minestrone for those who aren’t matzoh ball inclined. As usual, my Dad reminded us of the old Marilyn Monroe tale–when she asked Arthur Miller’s family, at her first seder, “are the balls really the only part of the matzoh you can eat?” SONY DSC SONY DSCWe ate poached salmon and roasted veggies for the main courseSONY DSCSONY DSC

The next day, my father prepared a big lamb stew for Easter…what a weekend!IMG_9024

Funnies and Food Forever

Since I grew up watching cooking shows, and still firmly believe there should be a channel only devoted to episodes of The Barefoot Contessa, it’s not a surprise that I’m a huge fan of cooking webseries, namely these two: Meals with Mary and The Katering Show. Both are hilarious in a delightfully inappropriate way, and one is produced and directed by my exceedingly talented brother… Watch these NOW and your Monday will suck less!

Azn Mailbox Surprise!

March-Skoshbox-ALL1-1024x1024So these days, everything comes in a box. Dog toys, beauty products, healthy snacks... Recently a lovely friend signed me up for the only kind of mail subscription box I need: Skosh Box. Each month, a cardboard box decorated with drawings of origami arrives in my mailbox (it fits in the mailbox, too! No creepy neighbors stealing my stuff, like my steak costume…but that’s another story) packed with brightly colored and expertly decorated Japanese treats including chewy candies, cookies, and once something called “corn potage snack” which tasted like instant soup seasoning packet–yum!

It satisfies both my sodium and sugar monthly quota in one go, and makes me really, really happy and look like this:giphy
Go get your Skosh on here!
*photo courtesy of Skosh Box