Monday, April 09, 2007

Porto Part III

I can't believe I forgot to mention how the Portuguese have 'terrorizing' morning greetings. Every morning, everyone goes 'BOM DIA!' and you think there's a war going on or something. For those who are unfamiliar with the Malay language, bom=bomb, dia=him/her, literally. LOL

Anyways, we're up on exploring Ribiera in the day today, it's the place where we had 'Vacky' for dinner. The port is really beautiful, complementing the weather :) This is an initial view of the river, with the familiar Rabelo boat. The Rabelo Boats were the old system of transporte of Port Wine from the mountains to Porto. It's a pity they are not used anymore for this purpose, but they are still constructed on the old fashion way for tourist travels all along the river Douro.

And of course, I had to take the boat cruise for the sake of it! :) Probably not the best idea to do it at noon where the sun shines directly on you. But ah well, need to replenish the Vitamin D deficiency that I've been experiencing in the UK, so sun's up! This came at a price though, as I had sunburn marks on my face due to my sun glasses! And now I look like Baja Hitam or some silly housefly o_Oll

Lunch is up next, haha, finally the food part you say?! We randomly popped to a cafe that was opened which seems to be heavily sponsored by a funny sounding beer brand called 'Super Bock'. Here is a pic of the place with a jug of ice cool Sangria :) Perfect for a warm sunny day...

I finally ordered the Bacalhau, which is a Portuguese specialty - i.e. salted cod. You can call it the Portuguese version of salted fish (ham yu) hehe. This is a really nice starter, a fish ball mini version of it. Crispy, not too salty, and NOT soaking in oil (eeks), good stuff, in small doses only I should think, not much of a big fan of salty food.

The main course is probably the highlight of the day, as I've been reading/seeing pictures of it. Seems to be a local dish, but basically a modified (better + > sinful?) version of the traditional British ingredients of fry ups. Visualize this: toasts, fries, cheese, egg, steak, bacon, chorizo sausage+BEER=Francesinha Especial!

The beer appears to be hidden in the tomato-ey sauce that drenches the fries. Look at that giant pile of thing, it's just an amazing piece of mush. LOL Especially when you are hungry :P Too heavy for my liking, but still an interesting new dimension to the usual fry ups. Just when you think things couldn't be more creative with the traditional English breakfast .....

And finally, after some good food and Sangria, it's time for MORE alcoholic indulgences, hehe. Coming to Porto without visiting the Port factories is just a big SIN, you know. So off we went, walking about 10 minutes just across the bridge, where many famous Port wine brands like Croft, Taylor, Sandeman, etc are situated.

We went for Croft, and had a brief wait before the tour in English was conducted. Not a bad thing, as we were allowed to try their port whilst waiting! Most importantly, we tried something new and not found in the UK --> white port! It IS GOOD STUFF I must say, slightly sweeter than the normal red version (just like white vs red wine) and easier to drink. It's better than a dessert wine since that just extreme sugar overload.

After that, the tour began and the lady in charge was explaining the history of Port wine and Croft to our group. 'Any questions to ask regarding Croft and the wine?' she asked, after reciting lots of numerical numbers of historical dates and random Croft ancestors etc etc. All of us just looked possibly blank as we were not listening. Sensing this, her brilliant answer was 'It's just a story anyway' :P

These are the super old classic, and extremely expensive Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), which is probably decades old Port wine, kept in the cellar. Apparently Croft owners occasionally pop in for a bottle of it, LOL

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