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20150630_140209

Porto Day 4- Filled With Delicious Food!

July 1, 2015

So today was a good day… why you ask??? Well, because it was filled with delicious food.

Well, it started off with the usual yummy breakfast consisting of serrano ham, fried egg, a yummy roll and delicious coffee. The day itself was quite unstructured as we were all tired from roaming around yesterday… so we kind of had a late starte and headed to a town called Matosinho, which is a small fishing village near Foz where we were staying. We took a bus there and looked for a lunch place as that area is known for delicious and fresh seafood. We ordered the most delicious plates of sardines, prawns, swordfish and salmon. We ended with yummy creme brulee and of course had great Rose wine. It was a great afternoon filled with delicious food and great company.  20150630_14020320150630_143916 After the meal some of us headed to the city center and some of headed to take a siesta in the afternoon. My husband and and I wanted to go for some more Port tastings and as we were headed there in the bus, he realized he had forgotten his bag at the restaurant… so we headed back and luckily found it as the nice people there had kept it aside for us. So we took the opportunity and walked around the little town some more and decided to walk back to our apartment as walked along the ocean. It was a good 45 minute walk which built up a great appetite for the evening… as we were going to Pedro Lemos (http://www.timeout.com/food-drink/pedro-lemos-restaurant-porto/), which is highly rated restaurant in Porto and has a Michelin star!

One reason for our yearly trip with the whole family is to get together, but another one this year was to celebrate a couple’s 25th anniversary… so this dinner was marking the great occasion. Luckily the place was walking distance to our apartments. We walked over to a small, charming, cobblestoned neigborhood where the restaurant was in the corner. They welcomed us in and sat us in their beautiful wine room that had 2 walls filled with fabulous wines!

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20150630_15473720150630_154240-120150630_163213The whole evening was wonderful, filled with delicious food, yummy wine and amazing company. We reminisced about old times, the new generation and how important it is to spend time with family… especially if you are lucky enough to like them as much as we like each other!

One more day left in Porto…

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20150629_124707

Porto- Day 3

June 30, 2015

So, day 3 was a lot of walking and exploring… well, I guess as much walking and exploring 13 people can do who for some reason were not on the same eating, drinking and going to the bathroom schedule… so what that meant was that we essentiaally stopped every 10 minutes for food, coffee, wine, water and then of course bathrooms. That being said, we did see a lot of the main city today and I am convinced that I will be coming back to this place. I love the feel, the friendly peope, the reasonable food and drink. A glass of wine is as little as 80 cents. We ordered a house bottle of wine for 4 euros.

Lunch was a combination of a bunch of snacks we ate over a few hours. We also indulged in Portugal’s favorite pastry Pastel de nata (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastel_de_nata), which are delicious….

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We had dinner reservations at a very traditional Portuguese restaurant called O Buraco,

 

 

 

(https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=161956973839602&refsrc=https%3A%2F%2Fm.facebook.com%2Ffbrdr%2F274%2F161956973839602%2F&_rdr). The food was very delicious and the restaurant owners were very warm and friendly. I again ordered the sardines which were absolutely delicious… as we were enjoying the lovely dinner, there was another family enjoying their dinner… once they were done, a cake was brought to them as they were celebrating someone’s birthday. They clapped and sang the birthday song in Portuguese and we joined in and sang in English. They started to cut the cake and began to share with us as well… we were all so surprised and very touched and happily shared the delicious cake. It was a lovely meal and a great way to end the day. 20150629_194355

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20150628_125307

Porto- Day 2

June 29, 2015

So we are done with day 2 and I am thinking I really like this city and I want to come back… but for now let me tell you what we did…. I woke up by 8 and did a quick 10 minute exercise routine, got ready and ate a yummy breakfast, including cheese, rolls, fresh fruit, amazing yogurt and the most delicious freshly squeezed orange juice- the taste was like I was eating the juiciest oranges ever… and of course an amazing cup of coffee. It took a long time for everyone to get ready and leave the apartments… in fact we didn’t get out till noon… I guess when you have 13 people, it takes a while. We took a bus to the old part of the town and by that time it was time for lunch. We found a local restaurant in the big square… the meal experience was okay… everyone’s food took forever to come and when it did, it wasn’t so good. But mine was quite good, octopus with a side of fried potatoes. The octopus was grilled and lightly dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.. I really enjoyed it.20150628_152034

We then walked across the old bridge to the other side of river Duoro to Gaia which is another town. That is where a lot of the Port houses are… so we took an hour river cruise and then walked around and went for several Port tastings- including the Tawny, Ruby, White and Rose! All were delicious and we bought a few bottles to bring home to enjoy later. The weather was beautiful- mid 70′s to lower 80′s. We walked around and evetually made our way back and found a local eatery where I had the most amazing pan seared salmon and a bowl of charred Padron peppers which are kind of like shishito peppers but even yummier. We ordered a  bottle of rose which had slight bubbles.. it was all delicious and a finish to a very nice day! 20150628_21345320150628_214134

We walked back to the apartments and got together with some cheese and port and enjoyed another hour or so before it was time to call it a night. We discussed plans for tomorrow but couldn’t decide on anything… so stay tuned!

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20150627_165351

Day One in Lovely Porto

June 28, 2015

So, here we are in beautiful Porto after just a six hour flight- it really didn’t seem long at all. We flew TAP Portugal, which was nothing special.. service was okay, the food was nothing special at all and the coffee was worse than United- if that was possible… this coffee was watered down and luke warm… I just don’t get what the problem is with these airlines, they can’t even serve a proper cup of coffee. The good news is I had a delicious cup of espresso topped with whipped cream at the Porto airport. It was a small airport and we could smell the salty, ocean air as soon as we disembarked the plane. We made our way out of the airport and caught and cab and 10 minutes later we were at the apartments we rented. As we are quite a few people, I managed to find four apartments in the same building overlooking the ocean. They are beautiful, filled with sunlight and across the street from the beach. Some people in the family are beach goers… I like to explore and walk around so not sure if I will be sitting on the beach for very long. We unpacked and ventured out for a snack as it was still early, around 9 am and we were hungry. We found a place called Tavi (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189180-d790485-Reviews-Tavi_Confeitaria-Porto_Porto_District_Northern_Portugal.html), which was overlooking the ocean… so we walked in and got a table and ordered coffee and some mushroom and bacon croquettes as well as a turnip green and game meat pie. I have eaten croquettes before, many times but never tried mushroom and bacon ones.. they were yum and so was the turnip green pie… A good start to the trip so far…20150627_10412020150627_104125 After returning back to the aparment, most people took a siesta… I couldn’t so I worked on this blog post and enjoyed the surroundings. After a while some of the other family arrived and we headed for lunch. We walked out and found a hole in the wall called Cafe Concha (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g800271-d5587815-Reviews-Pastelaria_Snack_Bar_Concha_Lda-Sao_Martinho_do_Porto_Alcobaca_Leiria_District_Ce.html), it smelled delicious outside and there was no menu inside… perfect! Most of us ordered fish, I had the most delicious plate of sardines- yum! Some people had salmon which was great as well!20150627_144330
All the food was yummy… we walked out and found a store selling and sampling port. I tasted some white port for the first time and boy was it delicious! We immediately bought some to take home. The rest of the day was more walking around and enjoying the beautiful city and enjoying a delicious, fancy meal at a place called Cafeina (http://www.cafeina.pt/en/), which our apartment owners recommended. It was a lovely space and the food was yummy. I couldn’t take a good enough photo as it was quite dark. The restaurant menu had mostly fish and seafood. We had some delicious salads and I ate stuffed octopus with delicious shrimp. The dinner was amazing and the first day was a success! Looking forward to the rest of the vacation…

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Portugal, Porto

Porto, London and Edinburgh… Here I Come!

June 24, 2015

So, it is time to do some traveling again! This trip is with a big group of people- all family but we will be 15 of us in Porto. We have been doing a big family trip now for 3 years and it is a lot of fun. There is a lot of planning that goes into it but in the end, it is really worth it.

We have been to Lisbon a few years ago and it was wonderful. I loved the city, the people and the food. It was an easy trip to take and a quick flight helped as well! While coming up with a destination for the family, we had a few things to keep in mind- it had to be moderate temperatures- nothing super hot… otherwise one can’t walk around and sightsee, it also had to have a nice town and preferably close to the ocean. Our first choice was Majorca but then with the really hot weather and super high airfares, we decided to look for another option. Porto came to mind as it was easy to get to, has good weather and it’s home to Port wine!!! Sign me up, I thought, especially since we had such a great time in Lisbon!

So we will be in Porto for 5 nights and then we go off to London and Edinburgh. We have been to both cities before but some of the family members have not… so for me it will nice to revisit the beautiful cities and eat some delicious food… oh and spend time with family!

Stay tuned….

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Grainless Granola

Grainless Granola

June 23, 2015

If you are gluten free or just want to cut back on grains, etc, this is a delicious granola to have on hand all the time. I was buying a really delicious one from Whole Foods but it was expensive and so I thought why not make it at home!! I am not gluten free but I like to cut back on grains, etc where ever I can… so my usual lunch of yogurt and fruit is delicious with a handful of crunchy, yummy granola!

  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 2 cups raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup raw pistachios, chopped
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and keep aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add all the ingredients to a glass measuring cup and microwave for a minute. Mix well and add to the nuts. Transfer the ingredients to a large lined cookie sheet. Spread and bake for 20 minutes.

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

Take the granola out and add the pumpkin seeds, mix well and return to the oven and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

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Shrimp Enchiladas with Tomato Sauce

Deconstructed Shrimp Enchiladas with Tomato Sauce

June 22, 2015

These are soooo good! I saw some chef make a version of these on The Chew… and it looked yummy.. and very interesting as she added nutmeg to the tomato sauce- not something I associate with Mexican cooking…. So, I tweaked it to my taste and came up with this version. They are easier than traditional enchiladas as there is no assembly requires.. just dip the tortillas in the sauce and add the filling, fold in half and serve!!! Definitely make yesterday’s slaw with them…

  • 2 cups tomato sauce, homemade or store bought (14 ounces can of tomato sauce)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 jalapeno chili, sliced in half and deseeded
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Transfer the tomato sauce to a medium saucepan. Add the garlic, jalapeno, onion, nutmeg and salt. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes or till the vegetables are soft. Transfer to a blender and add the fish stock and blend till smooth.

Heat the same saucepan with olive oil and add the tomato sauce and sauté for a minute. Turn heat lower and simmer, covered for 15 minutes, till the sauce is thickened. Add the heavy cream, mix well and check for seasonings. Keep warm.

  • 1 pound medium shrimp, cleaned and cut into half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat a frying pan with the butter and olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes or till the shrimp is cooked through. Turn heat off and keep aside.

  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix the avocado, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl and keep aside.

  • 6 to 8 6 inch tortillas, heated in a toaster oven or stove top
  • ½ cup queso fresco, crumbled

Take each tortilla and immerse in the tomato sauce. Remove and place on a plate. Add some shrimp and avocado and garnish with some queso fresco. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.

 

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