Tag Archives: Portuguese

Restaurante Bar LBV 79 (Pinhão, Portugal)

Compared to the rest of the Douro, which generally is quite calm and free of a lot of tourist traffic, Pinhão is the epicenter of activity in the Alto Douro; almost every day there’s at least one river cruise ship coming or going (day trips from Porto are popular, as are cruises headed further up the Douro to Spain), and it’s also the largest concentration of both hotels and restuarants (although the Douro valley still seems to be catching up with tourism; most Quintas having to implement reservations, and several places having recently added accommodations). Enjoying the sunset After completing a tour and a very enjoyable port tasting at Quinta do Bomfim, and eyeing the bountiful picnic baskets that some other guests had reserved there (we’d come back and do that later in our trip), we were actually getting a bit hungry, so as the sun started to set we were looking around Pinhão’s harbor for dinner. The first place we looked for, Bar Restaurante Veladouro, apparently was temporarily closed (they were open the next weekend when we returned to Pinhão), so we ended up at the place next door, Restaurant LBV 79 (run by the same people running the LBV Guesthouse that we were staying at up the hill… if you are wondering about the name, LBV is short for “Late Bottle Vintage”, a regular Port wine term).

Continue Reading ...

Ó-Por-Co (Pinhão, Portugal)

After a night in Porto, it was time to head out for the main purpose of our trip, a week-long hiking trip in the Douro Wine Valley. After waking, having a pleasant breakfast at our hotel, and heading out to the train station, we hit the first complication: a “greve” (Labor strike). All of the trains and ticket offices were shut down, but the folks arranging our trip at Portugal Green Walks were able to easily arrange alternative transportation, so instead of a scenic train ride up the Douro river valley, we instead had a surprisingly scenic drive across Portugal, seeing the Serra do Marão mountains and passing through the recently-opened Marão tunnel and Vila Real, getting dropped off at our guest house in Pinhão mid-afternoon. In all that shuffle, we hadn’t really had a chance to grab lunch, so we headed down into Pinhão to try and find a light snack to tide us over to a later Portuguese dinner. This is always a bit of a challenge in Portugal, since while various travel guides insist that Portugal doesn’t do the siesta of neighboring Spain, especially in the rural parts of Portugal, they essentially do observe it: the vast majority of restaurants, and a good fraction of other businesses, will be closed in the afternoon, with a smattering of cafés starting to open in the mid-afternoon if you want to sit around drinking coffee or beer while watching futebol. But we found one major exception to this on just down from Pinhão’s train station: Ó-Por-Co, a simple little café serving an assortment of wine and petiscos (small plates).

Continue Reading ...

Taberninha Do Manel (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal)

Carol and I try to pick a different, quirky destination every year to continue our geographic and culinary exploration. Originally, we planned to do a trip to the Azores this year, but various scheduling and logistical issues kept that from happening during the ideal weather months. But the idea of visiting Portuguese islands got us thinking a bit, and when looking into alternative destinations, we realized that October was actually quite a good time to visit Porto and the Douro river valley. So, with the assistance of Portugal Green Walks, a touring service that arranges itineraries and manages luggage transfers between hotels, we booked a two-week stay in Portugal. If you are into “walking holidays”, I highly recommend them. Arriving after a rather long day from a red-eye flight from Boston to Madrid, followed by a long layover and a short flight to Porto, we soon found ourselves settled into a hotel in Porto and setting out to do some modest exploration and dining before calling it and evening and leaving for Pinhão the next morning on the train. After a short walking tour checking out Lello (the famous bookstore), seeing the old city and Ribiera, and crossing over on the Dom Luís I Bridge, we spend our early evening relaxing and drinking port wine, and then decided that before we keeled over from hunger and exhaustion, we should probably get an early dinner and head back to the hotel. For those that aren’t aware of it, the Iberian peninsula is renowned for their generally late hour of dining, so looking for a table around 7pm is more than a little early, but being a tourist town, we found Taberninha Do Manel

Continue Reading ...

Rotisserie Coco Rico (Montreal, QC)

Every once in a while you run into one of those places that you’ve passed by a gazillion times, every time vowing that next time you’ll actually go in and check it out? Well, in Montreal’s Plateau neighborhood, one such place is Rotisserie Coco Rico. We first noticed, not because of the food, but because Coco Rico has a long tradition of having elaborate graffiti-style wall murals. I no longer remember what the mural was like the first time I saw in in 2002 (on the way to Schwartz’s down the street), but by 2007 it involved a simple spraypainted chicken adorned with hearts. By 2010, it involved a group of singing chickens. And by 2013, that had been in turn replaced by an elaborate “Conquistador Chicken” mural. But that’s not what made us stop. No, lingering to look at the mural also immerses you in the intense aroma wafting out of the store, of multiple marinated chickens roasting away on their rotisseries. So on this visit in 2015… we finally had a chance to stop in and visit.

Continue Reading ...