Pink glamour

September 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

Lula, Rui Barreiros Duarte, ink on paper, 2012.

The squid is a sea socialite, always hopping from shrimp to smelt parties, elegant and glamorous in its pink-dotted design gown. This cephalopod has in recent years become a globe trotter. Every day, billions of squid travel by road, sea and air to the menus of fashionable restaurants around the world. But all this roving takes a toll on the delicate mollusk, which arrives tired and frozen, long on frequent-flyer miles and short on taste.

If you’re in Portugal, don’t miss the chance to try some fresh squid. The best way to cook it is “Algarve style” (lulas à Algarvia):  the squid is lightly fried in olive oil, garlic, and bay leaves. It’s a simple preparation and yet, it produces sublime results that do justice to the squid’s diaphanous freshness.

Sweet Algarve

September 3, 2012 § 9 Comments

Algarve is much more than gorgeous beaches and perfect weather. It is also delicious sweets made with eggs, almonds or figs. The most famous are the Dom Rodrigos. But the prettiest are doces finos (fine sweets) like the ones shown in the photo, made with the wonderful marzipan that only almonds from Algarve can produce. These local treats are one more reason why life in the Algarve is so sweet.

The doces finos in the photo are from Pastelaria Beira-Mar, Avenida Infante Sagres 61-A, Quarteira, tel. 289 314 748.

António Tá Certo

November 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

It is always pleasant to have lunch at a beach side restaurant, with sea and sky as backdrop and the sound of waves as soundtrack. And, when you find a restaurant like António Tá Certo that serves freshly caught fish, just off the boat, the experience can be idyllic. Tá Certo is located on the beach of Vale do Garrão, close to Faro in the Algarve. It offers an impressive assortment of robalos (sea bass), douradas (sea bream), garoupas (grouper), and pargos (red snapper). If you ask the staff why their fish tastes so great, they smile and answer: our fish slept in the sea. There is only one problem with enjoying these simple moments on the seashore: you might never want to leave.

Rua Maria Etelvina Teodósio, M21, Praia Vale de Garrão, Almancil, Loulé, 8135-012, tel. (289) 396-456. GPS: N’ 37.03815 / W’ 8.04699.

Star olive oil

July 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

So many people come to Portugal looking for the perfect vacation. We see them arriving at the airport, impatient sun worshipers ready to experience the country’s radiant beauty. For some of these visitors, what starts with a few days of relaxation turns into a lifetime adventure. Detlev von Rosen, a Swedish entrepreneur, came to Portugal forty years ago and he never left. He bought farmland in the Algarve and began to learn about the soil, the water, the wind and the sun. He first used this knowledge to cultivate flowers. Later, when he felt ready, he planted olive trees. He discovered that the olives had to be picked by hand and pressed shortly after the harvest. He searched for ways of extracting the oil that would keep it pure.  His results are extraordinary. We could tell you that his customers include Carla Bruni and the Queen of Sweden. But this is not a gossip blog, dear reader, so we will refrain from name dropping. Von Rosen’s olive oil is hard to find in stores, but you can buy it through his website. So, if you are looking for a special gift for a loved one, forget Chanel No. 5 and try van Rosen No. 1.

Boia Bar

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

At Boia Bar, a restaurant in Salema, near Lagos, Algarve, we always feel we are in a movie set. Everything is too perfect to be real. The restaurant is right on the beach. At dinner time you see the sky drowned in yellow and the sea getting ready for sunset, covering its dark blue color with washes of lighter hues. The warm air and the fresh sea breeze create the perfect temperature. Then, the wine and food arrive. The best item on the menu is the “robalo” (sea bass) grilled Algarve style. Before grilling, the chef makes diagonal incisions on the fish and fills them with thin slices of garlic and some olive oil. It’s that simple. But simple things are often the hardest. You have to have the freshest fish. You have to know the right temperature for the coal, the right amount of salt to use, the right moment to take the fish from the grill to the table. It’s this perfection of simple things that you can enjoy at Boia Bar.

Rua dos Pescadores 101, 8650-199 Salema, tel. 282 695 382, email: boiabar@mail.telepac.pt, click here for website.

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