A romantic proposal

February 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

AB 2013_382- Casa do Gato Cinzento

Perhaps you found your true love and would like to propose in a romantic, unforgettable way. If, after watching numerous black-and-white movies you still have no ideas, we have a suggestion.

Invite your loved one for a weekend in Lisbon. Without revealing your intentions, drive to the location in the photo in the end of the afternoon, an hour or two before sunset. Take a bouquet of flowers tied with a ribbon that has two pieces of lead (one to use and the other to keep as a memento). Each piece of lead should have your two initials carved.

Find the perfect moment to say: “When ancient Greeks made eternal vows, they threw a piece of lead in the ocean and promised to keep their vows until the lead floated. I want to do the same; I’ll love you until this lead floats.” Throw one of the pieces of lead in the ocean with a dramatic gesture. Take some beautiful photos and celebrate with some great Portuguese espumante.

The gazebo in the photo is part of the Casa do Gato Cinzento estate, located between the Consolação and the São Bernardino beach. It is private property, so please ask the caretaker permission to let you in. 

The indispensable Summer vacation

February 9, 2014 § 2 Comments

A do Mar_92- Praia de São Julião

Praia de São Julião (St. Julian’s beach)

When you spend a Summer vacation in Portugal, it’s easy to face the Winter. You can brave the polar temperatures, the wind and the snow, because you’re still warm from the Summer. You can remember waking up to the sound of the waves, strolling on the beach, bathing in the salty ocean, dining outdoors at sunset. And Winter is just a reminder that it’s time to plan the next Summer vacation.

One day we’ll go to Viana

February 4, 2014 § 2 Comments

Loiça de Viana

Minho (“meeño) is a region in the north of Portugal where mountains and valleys, rivers and sea join forces to create lush landscapes. It is a land of ancient traditions, influenced by the celtic tribes that once populated the area and by the roman invaders who thought these were the Elysian fields.

No one understood Minho better than the poet Pedro Homem de Mello. His famous poem, “One day we’ll go to Viana,” describes the allure of visiting Viana do Castelo, one of the gems of the region.

If you’re lucky enough to fulfill the poet’s dream and go to Viana, look for the beautiful LRV pottery. Local artisans paint these elegant pieces with the patience and care of an era gone by, when time flowed slowly and it was hard to travel to Viana.

“Havemos de Ir a Viana” was set to music and became a hit in the voice of the great fado singer Amália Rodrigues. Our version of this song features Cecília Fontes on voice, Evandra Gonçalves and Teresa Mascarenhas on violin, and Sergio Rebelo on guitar. The piece was mixed and produced by Pedro Rebelo. It was recorded in Chicago, at a time when violinist Evandra Gonçalves was missing her hometown, Viana do Castelo.

Traveling with Julia Kemper

January 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

Julia Kemper

The Dão is one of the oldest Portuguese wine regions. It is a place where granitic soils force vines to work hard for their sustenance, producing small grapes that are full of flavor. We heard wonders about Julia Kemper, a new Dão producer, and we finally got a chance to try her wines.

We first opened a bottle of red wine made with Touriga Nacional, the queen varietal of the Dão region. The taste took us back to hot Summer days in the Dão valleys, when the sky is indescribably blue and everything is at peace.

We then opened a bottle of white made with Encruzado, another emblematic Dão varietal, and Malvasia Fina. The taste reminded us of cool nights in the Dão plateaus, when all the stars come out to worship the beauty of the Estrela mountain.

What a privilege it is to drink wines that take us on a journey to their terroir!

Smart dining

January 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

Raposo

Do you want to know a secret?  Do you promise not to tell? Raposo, a neighborhood restaurant in Lisbon, serves wonderful food for a modest price. They use the freshest ingredients prepared with no shortcuts and offer a wine list that perfectly complements the flavors of Portuguese cuisine. You can dine on delicious prosciutto, fragrant clams, cuttlefish with ink, fish rice with monk fish liver, and many other delicacies.

Raposo means fox, an animal with a reputation for being smart. A female fox is the hero of the popular book “The Romance of the Fox,” written by author Aquilino Ribeiro in 1924 as a Christmas gift for his son. It chronicles the adventures of a fox who always ends up feeling happy with her choices. And that’s very much how we feel dining at Raposo.

Raposo is on Rua Passos Manuel, 60, Lisbon, tel. 21-353-1059. It closes on Sundays.

Sea life in Lisbon

January 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Oceanarium

If you’re visiting Lisbon with kids, don’t forget to go to the Oceanarium. It is a beautiful aquarium where you can see up close the wonders of the sea. You’ll find a large sample of marine sea life: scary sharks, elegant manta rays, cute penguins, fragile sea horses, and much more.

The Oceanarium is located in the Park of Nations, a large public park by the river, in the north of the city. The best way to get there is to take the subway. You’ll arrive at the most elegant subway station in Lisbon, a light, airy structure designed by Santiago Calatrava, an architect who often turns to sea life for inspiration.

The Oceanarium is open every day except for New Year’s and Christmas. Click here for more information.

Party cookies

December 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

PipaBolacha

We’ve all been there. We’re going to a party and would like to take something special, but we ran out of ideas. There’s an easy solution to this problem: just call Pipa Bolacha, maker of brilliant, handmade cookies! You can personalize your cookies by choosing shapes, colors, and designs.

Dinner with an actor? Take cookies with greek comedy and tragedy masks. Lunch with a pilot? Bring cookies with cloud shapes. Breakfast with a poet? Order cookies with words that can be combined into poems. Date with a chemist? Chose symbols from the periodic table (earth metals if the relationship is serious, helium if your feelings are volatile). These delicious cookies will be the life of the party!

You can contact Pipa Bolacha by phone (962 691 389) or email (pipabolacha@gmail.com). Click here to see photos of her recent cookies.

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