Tag Archives: marvelous food

Castelo de S. Jorge – Lisboa, Portugal

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The Castelo de S. Jorge is a Portuguese National Monument and sits high above Lisboa.

The Castle was built by the Moors in the mid-11th century and was the last defensive stronghold for the elite who resided on the citadel. After the first King of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques conquered Lisbon on October 25th, 1147, the Castelo de S. Jorge began its golden age as home for the royalty.

Once the Portuguese kings had transformed the Castelo de S. Jorge into a royal palace in the 13th century, it was chosen to receive many notable Portuguese and foreign figures, as well as hold festivities and coronations during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.

We so enjoyed walking the Castle grounds and the views of Lisboa were simply breathtaking!

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I imagined all sorts of grand events being held here…

When Portugal became part of the Spanish Crown in 1580, the Castelo de S. Jorge took on a more important military purpose.

Archaeological research conducted in various areas on the grounds in the late 20th century unearthed remnants of the past which are now on exhibit in the Castle…

The grounds are so very enchanting and peaceful…

Of course all that walking about worked up an appetite..

off we went to Cervejaria Ramiro,  a most famous restaurant in Lisboa …. http://www.cervejariaramiro.pt/ serving some of the most divine seafood on the planet..

Anthony Bourdain  evidently has visited Ramiros and done a piece about their marvelous food  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cndgqkH5SsE

Ramiro himself waited on us, even though the place was packed and a line over 2 blocks long was outside waiting in the rain to get a table!

I was so very impressed by his passion for service and food!  He had the servers bring us all sorts of sea creatures to look at and decide what we wanted…………they were all alive!

This was a tremendous experience!

Our First Course was Marvelous Steamed Clams……


Followed by Warm Water Lobsters……..


Followed by Giant Spider Crab……


It is traditional to have a steak sandwich for dessert………but we just could not have another morsel..

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Lunch on the Beach – Ristorante La Pineta : Marinella di Selinute – Sicily

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The weather was perfect, about 70 degrees, the sky clear and the Mediterranean breeze so very refreshing.  We were off on an exploration and my senses were heightened with anticipation of what we might encounter. 

We pulled the car over to the side of the road, at the edge of a cliff, sloping steeply to the beach below, as I peered over the edge the most beautiful, isolated beach came into view.

 
It was then that my companions turned to me and informed me that I was in for the culinary experience of a lifetime…………all I saw at the base of the earthen staircase was a small unassuming building with some beach chairs outside. I thought perhaps that we did not share the same culinary visions…………….but I trusted, so off we went to Ristorante La Pineta

I was reminded about so many beach front restaurants that I have visited in the past…………extremely casual, relaxed and promising below mediocre food and service. Inside I groaned and thought of all the other wonderful places on the island of Sicily we could now be. Then it began………….
A pure symphony of food and service…………I nearly swooned and soon forgot that there were any others in my presence; I so became one with this culinary experience. The very lines between reality and the tastes, smells and vision of the most marvelous food became blurry and the air around me seemed to shimmer with the perfect harmony of smell, taste and sight. This was nirvana!

I had been transported to a celestial table and Edesia herself was presiding over this magic.

The notes awaiting the skillful hands of the Chef to arrange them into a marvelous symphony

The antipasto arrived one dish at a time………..here they are nestled together…..

Octopus – Swordfish – Anchioves – Shrimp

…but now it was time……..the orchestra had warmed up and the room filled with the fullness of the majesty of the symphony…..

The melodic sweet and light clams dancing like the notes of the woodwinds in front of the uplifting notes of the French Horn – Trombone and Trumpet Pasta entwined by the Drums – Snares and Tympani of the Olive Oil and Herbs

……….the composer does not rest……….. he completes the symphony by joining the complex movement of Mussels – Shrimp – Clams into a euphony that brings the participants to a near euphoria….

the eyes are rolling back, the palms sweating profusely………the heart no longer rhymthic….the conducter senses that the audience must be calmed and introduces

a simple melody of fresh fruit to return us back to the earthly plane……..


………..we slump in our chairs and hold on to the fleeting glory that just passed us ……… like satiated lovers…..

we wander into the sunlight and delight in our experience….