Today i was taken by my friends here in Porto Portugal to a working man’s restaurant seemingly in the middle of nowhere by a river with big trees not unlike those in California looming outside the windows of a industrial style huge dining room with a wood oven and long banquet type tables all with dishes set upside down as is the custom here.True enough clumps of working people huddled down at disparate distances in the dining room over mysterious bowls and plates of steaming food.
A basket of homemade bread still warm is set on the table and is delicious and nutty and dense and proves a great complement to the ubiquitous bowl of olives present everywhere in Portugal.
A plate of homemade chorizo mysteriously black and a type of sausage appeared and i declared it the most delicious i had ever tasted.
I am in the hands of my friends so i let them order and what comes is a tripas dish without the tripas .Tripas is that unique dish to Porto that i had once.It is the guts of the animals and cooked in a stew with beans and other meats like chicken and pig.Thankfully this dish came without the guts which i will forever forego and instead came with chunks of boiled beef.This resembled what i know as cholent ,the unique Jewish dish we eat sometimes on Shabbat .The tripas without the guts dish hails from Tras O Monte,the ancient Jewish area where Jews lived before the Inquisition in peace until all hell broke out .My dear friend here hails from that region and has Jewish origins.
The other dish ordered was chicken and rice mixed with chicken blood .Portugal cuisine is not for the faint of heart and because i am the intrepid traveller i feel i must indulge in everything without reserve.The other day on my wanderings in the city i came upon a menu where i spied grilled groundhog.Right there i drew the line but when i went back to my friend voicing my incredulity at their eating habits she readily and laughingly told me it is the name of an eel like fish which is served with it’s tail in it’s mouth.I decided to pass on that also.
The chicken boiled in a soupy stew and mixed with the dirty rice was delicious,chicken blood not withstanding..
We drank a bottle of vin vert or green wine ,a typical wine from Minhos ,a northern region.This is a fresh wine one can usually only drink a glass of and helps with digestion.
The end of meal was french pudding ,made with 12 eggs and Oporto wine .Delicious .We finished off with espresso and a homemade grape spirit with honey which was on the house .The last drink blew the roof off my head as i relaxed in the languor of a fine meal……The total was about 15 dollars each
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