Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lisbon Eats, and How I Can Travel

Before a Lisbon tour, one of my favorite topics: the food!

I lunched at Oriente Chiado, an all-vegan buffet I'd read about on HappyCow. Lunch was 9.80 euros, not including drink (I choose free tap water) or dessert. I arrived just 20 minutes before it closed for the afternoon, but still found some wonderful items.

A sampling of quiche, couscous, grilled tofu in a curry-spiced sauce, pasta salad, beet salad, and more. Of course I had seconds! Seitan in a savory sauce was also divine.

Left for dessert were mango or chocolate mousse or coconut pudding. The winner: chocolate mousse, 3.40 euros. My sweetheart, a chef who is not shy when saying he doesn't like something vegan, said this was the best vegan chocolate mousse he's ever had, and that it could pass for the real, non-vegan, thing.

A couple from Denmark we met recommended Botequim, a local cafe we would have never found.

I asked for whatever they could come up with that was vegan: I like they way they think! For 6 euros, a bed of couscous with cherry tomatoes and capers, spinach, arugula and red leaf lettuce, and drizzled with olive oil.

To end, a glass of ginginha, a sweet liquor made from the sour cherry-like ginja berry, sugar, and schnapps. I also tried the port wine here too.

There was an enormous line outside of Casa Pasteis de Belém for good reason. They are the birthplace of pastel de Belém, these warm cream filled tarts. Sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar, just 0.90 euros each.

Both nights in Lisbon were rain-soaked, so I took advantage of dining in at the adorable Alfama Patio hostel I stayed at. This was my favorite place we stayed at, and I recommend it for location (in the historic, older quarter); price; hospitality; and all the fun events they put on.

Saturday night they offer a bbq with a dj, for 7 euros a person. Golden potatoes with paprika, a green salad with corn, tomatoes and onions, pasta salad, a few chips and a roll and what I didn't eat in the assorted meats I made up for in consumption of their tasty sangria.

Sunday night is their 2 euros per person pasta night (they use a meat sauce, so I requested vegetarian). My comforting pasta in tomato sauce with garlic, with a glass of sangria, 1 euro, savored under a fleece blanket by candlelight on their (thankfully) covered patio. Isn't some of the best food sometimes the most simple? I adore pasta nights at home (and so frugal too!)

For breakfast at the Alfama hostel, European-style pancakes with cherry jam (breakfast was included with our stay).

Sipping on a Lipton Andulicia tea (with citrus fruits and orange blossom) on my last night.

Grateful and blessed for my time traveling. We had a good laugh at the airport over some thinking we are rich because we travel (as I was reading my library book, wearing my $2 thrifted jeans and $6 second-hand sneakers, a clothing swap top and sweater). This is where we spend our money for the year. No anniversary, Valentine's or Christmas gifts (maybe something little for birthdays). If we need something, we buy it ourselves. I love you doesn't mean sending sweethearts to the mall for overpriced jewelry or gadgets we don't need. I have a 10-year-old-plus television set, an ancient cell phone no one would ever steal, I get almost all my clothes through swaps and second-hand stores, get $15 haircuts at SuperCuts, use the library extensively, brown bag lunch as often as possible and more, not only to save money for the future, but to indulge in my passion for travel. We also stay at budget-friendly places we find on and other sites (I recommend TripAdvisor as a source for reviews).

One last post coming on Lisbon, and then I'm excited to share some fun events since I've been back: my Farm Sanctuary walk in New York City, my latest clothing swap, and some other seasonal happenings.

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