From the moment we walked through the sliding glass doors of Lisbon Portela Airport my nose was overwhelmed with new aromas coming from every street corner on the 2 and a half mile bike ride to our flat in Lisbon. Freshly off our 13 hours of flight time, our stomachs yearned for something other than what the airline called "pasta" for dinner and wannabe banana bread for breakfast.
After quickly unloading our gear, and a short nap later, Ryan and I set off on a quest for some authentic Portuguese cuisine. Meandering through the maze of people in Baixa District of Lisbon, we stumbled across a tiny back alley "restaurante" and grabbed a table. After glancing over pictures of what they had to offer, Ryan ordered some sort of seafood stew and I went for the grilled prawns. What we ended up sharing was a smorgasbord of seafood paired with an unexpected 22 euro bottle of wine that my immature palate would say was some of the best wine I have ever had. After the complete misdirection of flavors from what I am used to, two very shot-like glasses were placed in front of us while the waitress mumbled something in Portuguese, while all we understand was "port." We knew a little about what it was but had never tried it, and then wanted the rest of the bottle, but after that little glass we knew that was all that is necessary.
The next morning, after waking up to fresh bread and café our humble and very Portuguese host Zè Mariana made for us, Ryan and I walked down our street on Rua Tenente Caprica and stumbled into a classic cafe/snack-stand and told the waiter we were hungry, wanted meat, and something traditional, which resulted in a traditional Portuguese meal only served on Fridays called Feijoada Transmontana. Let me break this down for you. This was a very special meal of beans, cabbage, "beef", pigs feet/cow foot (not sure which), and blood sausage. And of course, like Anthony Bourdain would do, I dug right in. The beef was tender, the fatty animal foot of some-sort melted in my mouth, the blood sausage was gamey yet wonderful, and the beans were so good even Pedro's tacos could not compare (little shout out to my San Clemente people). It's all an adventure so whatever meal is put in front of me, I'll take it.