I have always loved writing, and now that I am retired I thought I would be able to find time to write, but it seems that I still manage to fill my days with activities. I have however found that while I travel, I enjoy writing about some of the interesting things we do. I hope you enjoy reading of our adventures as much as I like writing about them.
Friday, April 26, 2013
We are enjoying learning how to cook
the local produce and seafood from the fabulous markets here in
Olhão, but the best way
to experience the local flavours is to go to the good restaurants and
sample food cooked by the local expert chefs.
Via e Volta
Pete & Linda went to Tavira; a town
up the coast towards Spain on April 25th to meet us with
some portuguese Bridge players (they are pretty serious bridge fans .
. . . although they ended up playing with another couple from BC . .
. . ) so Regis and I decided to make this a 'Restaurant Day'.
We wandered down to a little place
called Via e Volta that was highly recommended by Colin &
Suzanne. A little Family restaurant, it serves only seafood and only
at lunch. They have a menu, but it lists only two items; “Adult
and “Child 5.00 Є”,
along with prices for various drinks. They do not give you a choice
of fish; you get whatever fish was abundant at the market that day.
restaurant is located two blocks off the main Avenida da Republica,
but the neighbourhood is not especially inviting, There is a whole
row of deserted, run-down buildings at the end of the street and you
have to weave your way through a couple of bins full of construction
debris to get to the restaurant. Now as you may have noticed by my
pictures and descriptions of Olhão,
this is not that unusual, and part of the charm of the place, so we
were not put off and upon arriving we were greeted by a friendly
waiter who gave us the only vacant seat (in itself a VERY good sign).
We were asked what we wanted to drink, and a beer and glass 1/4 lt.
of white wine was ordered, but we were not even asked if we wanted to
order food – obviously everyone who comes here of course wants the
Keep those fish coming
restaurant is in a very tiny building, and there are very few seats
in the actual restaurant, the main seating is outside under a large
canvas room with roll up plastic windows. We have not seen anything
except sunshine, but I suppose they might need these windows one or
two days out of the year. To one side, against the actual building
there is a large charcoal grill where someone is constantly grilling
the fish. I could watch the fish being flipped back and forth until
they reached 'grilled perfection' and then four of five were put on
metal trays and taken to the next table waiting. Watching the fish
being grilled and waiting for your's to arrive , you were provided
with a delicious bowl of marinated olives and pickled carrots, a
lovely tomato, onion and cucumber salad, and a basket of bread to
hold you until your plate of fish arrived.
your first plate arrived, it never stopped. The waiters kept a
constant watch over your table, and when you reduced one plate to
fish heads, bones and skin, another was promptly placed on the table
to replace it. After three plates, we had had enough, but they kept
returning, looking positively heartbroken that you couldn't eat
another five hot-off-the-grill fish.
GIANT Scrimp Kabob !
evening meal did not start out so good. Linda had gone down the
evening before to scout out the possible spots to eat. I told her to
go down when it was busy at 7:30 and find the spots full of locals
enjoying their meals. She not only used this criteria, she also asked
about making things without tomato, and came back with news of Ria
Formosa which not only was popular with lots of locals, but she was
assured the kitchen could make their famous Seafood Cataplanas
without tomato. When we arrived however, the waiter wasn't sure about
the wine Pete wanted, they did not have white sangria Regis could
share with Linda, and the red which Linda couldn't drink only came in
a BIG pitcher, which would have meant we would have had to carry
Regis home. Then when Linda tried to order the tomato free Cataplanas
she was told “No, of course it couldn't be made without tomatoes,
they were part of the base.”
Steak on a Stone
the evening turned out great actually. Pete & I found a delicious
bottle of wine to share, Linda ordered a Tuna with Onions dish, Pete
got to personally meet his fish dish before it was cooked, Regis had
the most amazing giant Shrimp Kabob, and I got to try Steak on a
stone. They should have given us the meal, because people were
stopping to stare at Regis' giant shrimp, and the smell and sound of
my steak sizzling on the stone started bringing passing folks into
the restaurant. The Kabob was truly amazing, and I was served a
square, inch thick, lava-hot stone with a piece of almost raw steak
sizzling and smoking on it. I kept flipping it and cutting pieces off
as it cooked to how I liked it. A really spectacular meal.
did have to settle for a Coke, but she always enjoys that anyways.