Well, there’s a first time for everything and today I bring you the very first guest post on Tastes Better With Friends. Appropriately enough, the post was written by one of my very best friends Jonathan. There isn’t much need of a lead-in, Jonathan took care of that for us. I hope you enjoy the post!
My Lisbon Food Experience
I’ve known Ethan for a while and have always admired his passion for food. What’s more admirable is that he transmits his passion to the people around him. Ethan has visited my family cottage on several occasions and has left an impression on many of the Kennedy’s. He’s connected over food and euchre with my grandmother and she even shared a treasured family cookie recipe known affectionately as jam-jams. This desire to make others happy with food and share his food experiments has always been innate to his personality, even long before this food journal was born. His blog has simply enabled his passion to reach a wider audience, doing exactly what he has always done.
Ethan and I have had the chance to travel together and share different food experiences around sporting events, late night street food vendors (the legendary Boustan) and the memorable Taco Factory in Mexico where we overdosed on taco al pastor. T is for Taco!
I recently moved to Portugal from Montreal to work, travel and expand my circle. A by-product of travelling is the ultra unique food adventures that you find yourself experiencing. Before moving to Europe, I spent some time reflecting and educating myself about the origins of food, how it’s produced and the effects of mass food production on our health and the environment. I have become a much more conscious eater with the influence of movies like Food Inc, and authors like Micheal Pollan and Jonathan Safran Foer. I have chosen to make my own food rules by absorbing the bits and pieces that work for me.
That said, whenever I find myself in a cool foodie situation, I think ”What would Ethan say” and most of the time, I wish I had a camera to boast about it. Having the god-given gift of breaking and losing cameras, I rarely have one on me to capture the moment. On a recent trip to Lisbon, I stumbled upon this picturesque 100% Biological Cafe called Quinoa. I loved it so much that I thought it would make a great guest post on TBWF.
After arriving into Lisbon by train, I was exhausted and hungry. I checked into the Lisb’on Hostel (I would argue one of the nicest in the world). The Hostel staff pointed me to the Quinoa Cafe so off I went. The newly opened cafe is located in the Chiado district, just down the street from the world-renowned Bairro Alto, the nightlife mecca of Lisbon. Just inside was an old staircase which was beautifully restored and the entrance door seemed to be salvaged from an old church. I walked in and just knew it would be a cool experience. Fresh breads filled glass casings by the cash, a selection of Kusmi tea lined the back wall and Portuguese gourmet products were stacked nicely on shelves. I knew this would be one of those true European experiences. I felt like Ernest Hemingway in ”A Moveable Feast”.
I sat down and ordered a glass of house red with the few Portuguese words I’ve learned since I’ve been here. I picked up my trusty ”Off The Beaten Path” travel guide and just took it all in. The house wine was fantastic at 4 Euros. A 2007 Dona Ermelinda, a red wine produced from the Castelao grape grown in the Palmela area of Portugal. It was full-bodied, complex and rounded tannins (thanks to Gary V, I now know what that means). In this case, the wine tasted even better thanks to the setting.
I spotted something on the menu called the ‘’trilogia de hamburguer biologicos’’ (The Bio-Burger Trilogy). What a cool name! I ordered it without hesitation. I never feel too good about eating meat unless I can be certain there is a discerning mind producing and preparing it. I felt good about this. The three burgers, more like sliders, were accompanied by a fresh green salad and Portuguese kettle chips and served on mini Kaiser buns. One topped with homemade mustard, one with caramelized onions and the third with two thin slices of cheese goodness. I tried not to devour them and took my time sipping my wine and appreciating the plate. I made a point to chew every mouthful at least 6 times. The meat actually tasted good. Lightly spiced and medium well, I will go out on a limb and say they were the best burgers I have ever had. There, I said it. I wondered what Ethan would think at that moment. Luckily, this time I had a camera and I felt no shame in taking a photograph of my plate. The photo can’t express the goodness – but hopefully, this entry might get him, or one of you visit Quinoa the next time you find yourself on this side of the pond.
Thanks Ethan. Without your influence, I doubt I would be as open to appreciating food on this level or even going as far as guest posting about food adventures.