There are two kinds of travel destinations: the ones you go to for the food and those you go to despite it. Experiencing what and how other people eat reveals so much about a place and culture.
Having visited Lisbon, Spain, Croatia, and Italy so far, experiences with food have been mixed. There are so many restaurants ready to gouge any tourist with high-priced disappointing fare while some research or good intuition will uncover never seen before deliciousness.
We’ve tried to balance eating out with staying in, for both health and budget reasons. Shopping in a foreign grocery store or market is always an adventure and cheap way to explore new foods.
Here are 3 things we’ve discovered that will be added to our cooking repetoire.
1. Portugese Chorizo-Steak:
We wandered into a butcher in Lisbon without knowing what to get and also not being able to cook anything to complicated due to kitchen restraints. While mulling over our selection, the woman in front of us ordered a chunk of beef that the butcher deposited in the meat grinder. Then he cut off about 2 inches of a chorizo and tossed in there as well, grinding the two together.
When it was our turn, we asked for more of the same and it was amazing pan fried as meatballs. I look forward to replicating this at home by combining ground beef and fresh chorizo or finally freshly grinding meat in my culinary robot.
2. Olive Oil Plus Salt.
We were eating dinner at the Paradores in Bielsa and the bread basket arrived with a holder containing 2 types of olive oil and a salt shaker. Putting two and two together, we poured a pool of oil onto the appetizer plate and sprinkled it with salt before dipping the bread in. The salt elevates the taste of olive oil and adding a smooth finish.
3. Grilled mussels.
At Sidro in Rovigno, the waiter suggested ordering 2 mixed fish plates, one grilled and one fried, to get the full range of options. It’s the first time I ever enjoyed grilled calamari but the mussels were a revelation. The texture was firm and juicy with a hint of smoke.
Can’t wait to try this out with some of Canada’s finest mussels at the cottage grill.