Discover more from Expat in Portugal
Those Crazy, Funny Americans Part II
An Eating Adventure in Coimbra
We started last week in Porto. We spent Wednesday through Friday in Aveiro, then met friends in Coimbra on Friday night. We had tickets for Andrea Bocelli that night and plans to spend the weekend. I promise to check you up on all these adventures in future posts, but today I want to share another crazy/funny American story.
Our First Course
Our concert on Friday night started at 2215 and ended about midnight. It was a great concert, though later than any of us expected. We slept in Saturday morning and lounged until noon. We then identified a place for lunch that was woman-owned, gay friendly, and offered tapas. Perfect. We walked for about 15 minutes…found the restaurant but it was closed. There was street/stair construction that prevented them from opening. (The hills in this section are so steep that on occasion the cobblestone streets become granite steps.)
But this turned out to be our good fortune. We found another tapas place about 1 block away. The small cafe, Fangas Mercearia Bar, provided one of the best lunches we have enjoyed to date. Our 50€ (for four) lunch included a 1.5-liter pitcher of red sangria and;
Eggplant and garlic bruschetta;
Chestnut and caramelized onions;
Mushroom and white bean stew; and
Duck with figs and beets.
Though the meat-eaters all agreed the duck was their favorite, the mushrooms and white bean stew was a very close second. I am bound and determined to figure out how this simple dish was made as it appeared to contain only beans, small portobello mushrooms, and garlic.
Our Second Course
After lunch we walked about half a block, having no clue where we were going. We passed a chocolate shop that offered a bar of chocolate and wine/Port/Ginga or coffee pairings. The shop was beautiful and the chocolates were calling our names. (It didn’t matter that we had just completed a very satisfying lunch one minute earlier.) Rita, the woman working in the shop said pick what you want, I will make a platter you can have along with a drink of your choice in our private dining area. We selected milk chocolates with pink peppercorns … white chocolates with hazelnuts and pistachio … dark chocolates with sea salt … milk chocolate with mixed nuts. We also selected a tawny port.
We retired to the backroom as our platter and plates were prepared. A wooden platter with the chocolates we had selected was placed in the center of the table. We each were given a plate, dusted with chocolate, a truffle, a chocolate straw, and our port. For the next hour, we laughed and tasted and slurped and laughed. I’m pretty certain we were a bit louder than their typical Portuguese guests.
Americans are the Best
As we were leaving we took some time to speak with Rita. She mentioned that in her experience Americans were the funniest and most outgoing guests. In fact, she planned to move to America with her boyfriend, an American that had studied at the University of Coimbra (the oldest university in Portugal). When we asked where we learned she was planning to move to Denton Texas … the birthplace and family home of DJ. (You may recall DJ as the monolith seeker/Portuguese driver who is one of our official posy and traveling companions and provided expert photography for this post.)
With a population of approximately 140,000 Denton is not exactly “Mayberry RFD” but it isn’t New York or Chicago either. How odd that she was moving to Denton. And yet another example of the great experiences you have when you take the time to be those crazy, funny Americans.