Hello all! Since the world won't stop being a dumpster fire, I decided to start adding some levity back to the area I can control, which is my blog! We have been living here for over a month and have had such a wonderful time. There are so many things to discuss that I thought we would start with food, and in the next blog, we will discuss all the fun tech changes!
So the question I have gotten repeatedly from people in the United States is, "How is the food?" To say that the food is delicious is an understatement. For those who do not know, food is an experience for me. One of the most exciting parts about moving to Europe was me finally making my meal a production; have all the courses, take my time, savor every bite. I can honestly say I like food more than most people, haha. To slow down my toddler created an eating technique he calls 1)Take a bit 2)Lay back and relax. We are not used to having time to enjoy things so we have learned to be more relaxed when we go out.
With quarantine, my love for food and lack of movement has hurt the waistline, so luckily, all we do is walk here, so that should help take off some of the pounds...kilograms? I will get into that in another chapter, but thank you, the U.S., for not even kind of preparing us for the measurements that the whole world has ughghg.
Another note about me. I am not PICKY (hate that word). I like what I like and don't want anything else, haha. I fully started to prepare myself for expanding my palate, especially when it comes to seafood, as I can be....PARTICULAR about my tastes hehe...I am one of those annoying people who say, "I like to eat fish, just not if it's too fishy." I understand that is obnoxious, and fortunately, due to getting fresh everything, there haven't been too many issues... Ok, without further adieu, let's talk food!
Moving to Europe is like dying and going to Charcuterie heaven. By far, my favorite treat for myself has always been a glass of wine and some charcuterie. We are about a 15-20 minute walk from the beach...Although I like to say it's a European 10 min walk and an American 20 min walk (remember the waistline issue).
There are a few fantastic restaurants that we have tried so far. There will be a price difference between some of the more touristy beach locations, but it's a steal compared to California. The charcuterie board above, a two-person board, is about 20 euro, compared to California, which would have been closer to $45.
Also, can I mention how friendly and patient everyone we have met so far is! My Portuguese is nonexistent, and yes, I will get into that in another post as well. Luckily most restaurants have menus in about a billion languages, and you can point to what you want. There are also different styles of charcuterie, as pictured above; a fantastic breakfast sharing plate at Bruch Rio with a healthy and fresh smattering of bruschettas, croissants, etc.
Everything is ridiculously fresh. My only issue is I have been outmatched by how fresh everything is. I can't believe I am saying this, but everything is so fresh that my sliced meat almost feels like raw sushi, which can be a little overwhelming for me, and I am way too much of a wimp for some of the cheese. Trust I am not complaining, just working on adjusting to my new environment (also, I refuse to come off as some entitled brat, so Johnny and I make sure to eat everything even if we have to swap with each other or don't like it haha).
There's No Place Like Home
You are not going to believe this! So here we are walking on the beach to check out our local castle.....yep....you heard it.... a freaking castle and come upon this restaurant. I almost fell over!! I moved overseas to a whole new country, and low and behold, I wind up right back home. I grew up in Escondido, California, and here right before me, is the restaurant Escondidinho. No matter where I go, I can't escape that place, haha.
As you can tell, the view sitting here is terrific! We can have some food and drinks while Jackson digs in the sand and take in the breathtaking views. Again, everyone who works here is so sweet and patient. There are some great food items such as the prawns and some of the best lasagna I have ever had (totally different than what I'm used to but so creamy....yummmmm). Johnny also loved the fish and chips!
Be prepared to get your hands dirty. If you're from some areas of the States, you are not used to ripping shrimp heads off that are covered in sauce. We apologized to the staff for making such a mess, and the sweet owner made sure to reassure us, stating, 'We are messy here."
Going back, a few fun facts about my Escondido. 1) Eric Clapton has an album called Road to Escondido, 2) it's a hidden spot for celebrities, 3) and in 1980 it was known as the meth capital of the world aka Methcondido as we liked to refer to it. Why am I mentioning this? Because I found my two greatest addictions served here at this Escondidinho. They are not exclusive items to the restaurant but condiments that I am obsessed with!
My Greatest Joys in Life: Hot sauce and Cheese
Condiments could be a whole post in itself, and I will probably make one, but in the meantime, I introduce you to my new best friends! Hot sauce is a huge part of my life. Growing up in Southern California, being so close to the border of Mexico, has meant that Mexican food has been an all-consuming culinary experience. I was very nervous about moving away from all my yummy. So much so that we brought a bottle of Tapatio with us.
As we tried new food, we kept coming across dishes made with Piri-Piri. We decided to give it a try, and man, was it life-changing. Piri-Piri has a tabasco-like vinegar taste which I usually don't like, but this is so much better! It has a little thicker consistency than Tabasco and warning the spice level is out of this world! It will mess you up if you're not careful. Because we are us we decided to get Piri-Piri extra which has an even better kick! When you ask for hot sauce at the restaurant, this will often be what they bring you.
My other new obsession is a little cheese spread that was offered with our bread and olives. It has a smoothness like margarine butter, a creaminess like a melted brie, with a slight cheesy flavoring. I AM OBSESSED!!! Something that seemed weird to me, as there I nothing like it in the States, is now my favorite snack on bread. And don't worry, there is a ham-flavored version, if you wondered, that my husband loves!
Crap, I am not organized and am jumping all over the place per usual...where was I? Yes! Back to dining in the Ferragudo. There will need to be multiple posts as every restaurant we have gone to is amazing, and I'm not trying to make this post into a novel!! I think I have enough focus for maybe one more restaurant, and I will make another post in a few days to add more.
You may find that my posts are a little more distracted than usual ( I call it my shiny, you know, like "Oh, look something shiny!"). We have not established an MD yet, so I'm off my Wellbutrin and Adderall, which equals a lot less focused and motivated Tiff, but we'll work it out! To be honest, if I had an editor (man, I wished Johnny loved editing, haha), I would write every day and then have someone come in and do all the parts I loathe, proofreading, spell checking, ughghg...who knows, one day maybe I'll be famous and can hire one........ : D
Pastel de Wata?
The last restaurant on this disorganized list, is a restaurant about a 3-minute walk from our place. They call themselves a snack bar, but they have a full restaurant and pastry shop. We adore the staff here who have been so welcoming and patient with our very energetic toddler. I couldn't get some of the photos to load or there would have been more...I need a person for tech stuff too, haha ....anyway, here are a few of the yummies.
It was here that I got to experience the fantastic pastry that Portugal is known for called the Pastel de Nata. I have heard everyone online talk about how great it is, and it was better than described!! This custard pastry is soooo yummy, and I love to sprinkle some cinnamon on top, and dip it in some whipped cream with chocolate on it. Pair it with some coffee and it's perfection!
On to the next dish pictured. Remember the fish conversation above? Johnny is the one who orders the fish meals in case I am too much of a wimp, and I get to taste test and see if I like it. The fish was delicious...Not only is it delicious it is a comedic performance as we are not used to eating fish on the bone and with a face... watching Johnny trying to figure this out was hilarious! If you come to Ferragudo and see a family of Americans watching you eat, just know we are trying to figure out how to go about it!
How will you know it's us? Don't worry about finding us...we are a spectacle. We are 3 out of maybe 5 Americans (United Staters) that live in Ferragudo, so we get a lot of looks due to our accents haha, and likely confused expressions.
To sum it up, the food here is off the charts great! We have been so fortunate to be welcomed here with open arms and have been trying to learn so much. There will be many posts to come, and soon the addition of videos linked to the youtube page I just started. Please continue to follow us crazy ex-pats as we navigate everything from tech to culture, share some laughs, and hopefully develop friendships and family along the way (if you don't get sick of us first)!
Please comment and share!!
March 16, 2022