P11# Ins and Outs of Eating In or Out on the Algarve Coast, Portugal - American Expat
Uggghh so re-reading this after 2 weeks of procrastination made me realize how boring informational posts are ughghg....so keep reading for the plot twist at the end!!
Hey all! I was thinking about writing more food reviews, but I think I will save that for a different day. I decided it may be helpful to write some of the things we noticed eating at restaurants and cooking at home. First, let me mention that many of these differences will only apply to those of us coming from the US since a lot of the food and eating practices are more common across Europe, but hang out with me anyways!
Tip or Not to Tip
My new thing is when I write in italics it's because It took me forever to come out with the post so I am adding thoughts. With that being said I wanted to make so many inappropriate penis jokes with this but was trying to be more appropriate, which is also boring, so here is an inappropriate meme
Coming from the US, it is almost sacrilegious not to tip, and to throw the change as a tip is a big skrew you. So the tipping debate was a really tough thing for us when we got to Ferragudo. We were always going to tip because that's just in our nature but how much was a question.
The first week we were there, we decided to live like we were on vacation. We went to some of the nicer restaurants, ordered expensive bottles of champagne, and tipped a good 15%. Now 20% is the norm for good service in the States so this was us easing into it reducing the amount. In my opinion, it helped us show our appreciation for our new country, helped leave a good impression, and allowed us to feel better about lowering that amount in the future.
After the first two weeks, we transitioned into "we live here mode." We started connecting with the community and letting them know that we aren't just tourists on vacation. This was when we began tipping more closely to what had been suggested. For the most part, we still tip 5-10% as the bills are pretty low that a few euros end up working up to that much.
******Always have cash as often the card readers don't work, and you are left to run off to the ATM. The other perk of making a good impression is that a few places let us come back later to pay them.
Another cool thing is that 1 euro comes in change form, not paper form, so it's easy to throw a few euros in the box in which they present your check. They bring you your check in a cute little box so you can discreetly see your bill and don't have to show what you tipped to other patrons.
It's still crazy for me to see how crappy some patrons are, especially tourists, to the wait staff and there's no consolation for them knowing that you at least can get tips for having to deal with them.
To go or not to go aka To-Go Boxes/Take away boxes
In the States, I feel like I use a To-go Box for every meal. I have noticed here in Portugal that people do this less often. I think that people here tend to not over-order, and because a meal may last hours, they are more likely to finish everything on their plate.
We are still getting used to slowing down at a meal, and I'm more of a grazer, so I usually need to take food with me. The boxes are called "Take Aways" and we often got a confused look when we asked for To-Go boxes. It was also super funny to see the look on the waiter's face when I asked to have the yummy herb butter included with my steak also put in the box. I guess people don't ask for the condiments to take home as well, haha.
I have started getting a Take Away everywhere we go because even if think the portion is so big that it is beyond human consumption in one sitting, the servers will be very concerned that the food was terrible or that you didn't like it. I always make sure to reassure them the food was excellent. I can't eat a lot in one sitting and will enjoy the rest at home or I offer it to our local homeless man (yes the only one we seem to have in town).
Coffee Coffee Coffee
The coffee here is fantastic!!! With that being said, I fully realized one reason why a lot of Americans are obese, when I was ordering coffee here. Our Carmel macchiatos with extra caramel, sugar, and fatty milk are not a thing here. I order my coffee etc., and there is no sugar or usually milk added to it. They will give you a few sugar packets and you add them as you will. Fortunately, the coffee is so good that I found I don't need the bells and whistles I usually do, but still need my milk and sugar.
To go coffee has not been a thing I have noticed here either. The lack of having to rush here is so refreshing. In the bigger cities, they likely have coffee shops that offer a quick coffee, but here it is just part of the experience to stop in, have a pastry and coffee and take a break for 10-20 min. Also, for my Americans, when we go for breakfast in the morning (10 am, haha), it is customary to have your coffee at the end of the meal, not before. I'll explain below.
Big Beer, Small Beer. Red Wine, White Wine, Green Wine?
I feel like Dr. Seuss over here, haha. I do not like green wine and ham; I do not like them, Sam I Am....but I actually do, soooo good. One thing that has been very surprising to me is how beer and wine are served here. I come from the land of wineries, breweries, and taps in California. So my husband and I shared a few looks when we went to order a beer or wine, and the options were literally BIG BEER or SMALL BEER, and the wine options were red, white, or GREEN!!
With that being said, a few restaurants offer more options, and to be honest, every wine we have tried has been incredible. It's somewhat hard to know what to buy when you go to the grocery store since each restaurant's red, white, etc., is different and has no name, haha. We try to grab any Portuguese person we can and have them pick our cheese, meat, and wine for us until we learn our favorites.
I'm not going to lie; I am a little bummed regarding beer, as is the husband. Plus, the whole losing weight thing is a little more challenging when I don't have my White Claw, haha I know it's such a Basic B**** thing to drink, but it does help keep the calories off.
I want some coffee with a side of alcohol
I miss bottomless mimosas and brunch buffets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Once Quarantine is over I hope buffets exist again and I hope I can find one in Portugal
Since it took me about two weeks to write this, which is ridiculous, I figured I would add this last bit and then finally post it. I have never drank more coffee in my entire life. It is not only amazing; it really is a way of life here. Fun Fact for those Americans out there who use coffee like lifeblood, they don't tend to drink it here until after the meal.
The protocol typically is orange juice in the morning, or beer/wine lunch onward, during the meal, and then coffee at the end to help digest the food and or alcohol. So we again got some lovingly curious looks when we ordered our coffee first. You basically end up having a table with like 13 drinks on it because you will also be getting your juice, water, and wine simultaneously, haha.
Our fix is we make coffee at home to get us ready to go get coffee, haha. Also, for my brunch lovers, mimosas are not a thing here, so you must improvise! Take that beautiful fresh-squeezed orange juice that comes with meals and an order of sparkling wine, combine, and now you have your own homemade (restaurant-made) mimosa... it takes some practice to not spill it all over the table (cough cough Johnny).
Oh and before I forget, you better finish the orange juice because they literally hand squeeze it and seem very sad if they think you don't like it. My son, who loves orange juice, just died and went to heaven as he gets whatever we can't finish!!
Okie dokie, so I was going to write more about grocery store buying and eating in such as the title alludes to however, I don't want to. Why not change the title then? Because I like it and I don't want to change that either haha. For my professional bloggers and writers out there I'm sure you want to strangle me but it's not your blog so there hahahahaha.
There's a new sheriff in town
Anyways I realized I have been treating my blogs lately like they are homework and explaining to you my teacher/readers how the dog ate it and now I can't turn it in. I realized that as much as I am supposed to write top ten articles, reviews, etc to get the clicks I really hate writing like that and I start to avoid it like the plague (too soon?). So I decided to start writing how I used to during the Spain Saga. If you have hung in there this long, you'll remember how much more fun it was.
Writing informational articles is for the birds and I have begun to hate Grammarly for being such an asshole and telling me I'm too informal. Informal is the point! I started this to make friends share some laughs and maybe be discovered by some trillionaire who wants to sponsor my life to travel all over the world. No one wants to do that with the know it all who loves the sound of their own voice.
So there you have it back to the good old days. Hope you decide to hang on for the ride but if not I won't know anyway so buzz off I guess. I get that I'm an acquired taste, a green wine you might say, and am not for everyone ad that's ok. If you write for others, just like music, it loses all the good stuff anyway (makes you a lot of money haha) but then what kind of artist would I be (had to throw a little pretentious in to make it seem like it's not just laziness haha).
I miss chatting with you all and getting your comments and/or reviews so throw some love or "constructive criticisms," my way!! And I swear I have videos I need to post but I haven't learned to be comfortable yet so unless I'm drunk in it (the bidet one) I am super awkward and not at all the fun-loving self so be prepared for a little forced until I get my momentum going.
April 8th, 2022