The adventure continues! Did you enjoy the many food pictures from Lisbon in Part One earlier this week? Well let’s get even pictures of blue skies, flounce and food on the go then…
We spent the Sunday wandering around the beautiful Palacion National de Queluz, the Lisbon version the Palace of Versailles. So you can image the insane amount of flounce going on between those walls.
My Dad (Captain Oddball) tried to teach me ballroom dancing in this room. Life lesson one – flip flops are not appropriate footwear for a ball.
I tried to get this chandelier back in my suitcase but didn’t quite fit…
After strolling through the Palace and the gorgeous garden, with hardly anyone milling around with us we were greeted by a wall of people. there was a medieval festival going on! There were ceramic painters, a barber lathering up 6 year old boys faces and shaving them with a blunt cut throat razors, plague victims walking around, a king and queen on their thrones away from the peasants. When my bro bought a bottle of water it had to be in a brown paper bag to not break the feel of the festival!
The festival was also the home of where we discover THE BEST CUSTARD TART IN THE WORLD!!!!! No exaggerating, I mean seriously good. From Pastelaria Marianita, flaky and rich but without coating the roof of your mouth with the fat from the pastry which some of the cheaper ones do. And the custard. Oh man the custard. Not a hard set but a sexy softness that is only good to be devoured at record pace. With a healthy dusting of cinnamon and icing sugar, a certified way to make your smile all that much bigger. And the mad thing was that these morsels from heaven were only a euro each!!! I would of paid with my first born child for more of these tarts. That’s how good they are.
Stepping back into the present time, we got all dressed up and headed to Santa Bica for my favourite meal of the holiday. Set just off the street, from the bustle below is a courtyard to get away from the heat and eat some fantastic traditional food.
Being a hot day and evening we started our meal with a Gin & Tonic and surprised with the absolute goblets of gin that arrived at our table with bobbing crushed juniper berries.
As you can tell I was rather happy with my drink selection….
We picked a nice selection of dishes to go for, some of the smaller sharing and larger mains which we also shared. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take a picture of the Coffee Steak, as it was incredible. A tender steak with a cream coffee sauce, with a rich deep flavour that compliments the meat.
Fried Potato Skins with a punchy garlic dip, which was polished off fairly quickly but that might be due to a need to soak up some of the gin as well as being delicious!
Pump juicy prawns with sticky garlic, simple but perfect.
Since trying Padron Peppers in Madrid last year I’ve been obsessed with these sweet whole peppers grilled to tenderness with plenty of rock salt. I nearly finished the plate myself!
Scrambled eggs with asparagus and chives, were light and creamy and loved the addition of vibrant asparagus to lift the dish.
My mom went for the whole sea bass. It was incredible, fish tends not to be my first choice but this was divine. Buttery and gently cooked to make angels sings. After my mum had pretty much finished as much as one would think was on the bones, my brother went to town and can only be described as an alley cat not leaving a scrap of flesh on the bones.
The prawn risotto was one of the best risotto’s I’ve ever had, a slight tomato bouillabaisse flavour with complimented the fresh ocean flavours.
When all the bass skeletons and prawn shells had been picked clean, we were presented with the dessert menu. After our table had been groaning under so much food you would of thought we wouldn’t of had room to fit another morsel in but hey we are the FoodNerd family and of course we have room for dessert! We went for one of each to try out.
A rich and bitter but lighter than air Chocolate Mousse, again simple but done of so well.
Leite Creme, a Portuguese version of a Crème Brulee, but tends to have milk than cream so a lighter dessert but still with the decadent feel to a dessert you want. A good crunch on top too.
The last dessert was great, fresh strawberries for the flavour of Summer, crushed wheaty biscuits for crunch and lashings of condensed milk. Of course a touch of whipped cream on top. Like a deconstructed cheesecake. And who doesn’t love condensed milk??
Finishing the meal nicely with a healthy measure of Ginjinha liqueur, made from sour cherries so not as overly sweet as kirsch. A great way to end a great day and great meal. Also the staff were incredible friendly and helpful explaining what some of the dishes were and the waiter was even swapping band recommendations with Captain Oddball.
On the day of my parents anniversary we headed by train to the Unesco World Heritage site of Sintra. Disney- style palaces and castles sit amongst dense beautiful forests.
We found amongst the woodlands a small secluded spaces surround by moss covered boulders for my parents to renew their wedding vows. My brother walked my mum down the ‘aisle’ and I walked behind as her bridesmaid. My parents had written vows to each other for the next 35 years of marriage. True to form in my family there were tears and was lovely to be a part of my parrents special day. I won’t share the pictures of the renewal as afterwards we realised the secluded space did look with the boulders a pagan sacrifice alter, which just adds to the uniqueness and very much a weird factor my family tends to attract.
At the top of the hill in a cover of mist was the Palácio Nacional da Pena, which had a really eclectic mix of architecture which looming in the clouds added to the magic feel of the place.
I got a bit jealous of all the copper pans, again my suitcase was too small to smuggle one back…
So seems that Lisbon have some stunning buildings, we continued our adventure to Belem on the last day to explore the Jerónimos Monastery. The ornate cloisters bathed in morning sun light made it really hard to leave such a wonderful city to catch our plane home to the rainy Bristol.
I had a fantastic time away with my family. My dad had put so much effort in to make it a great trip for all of us and pleasing seven adults is never going to be easy. It was a trip that all family holidays should be great food, wine, too much loud laughter, time together away from constant technology, exploring small side streets and of course mountains of custard tarts.
As an extra bonus, the below gallery is of all the times my amazing brother got in the way of me taking pictures for my blog. But to be honest I can never be too cross with him for long with his cheeky smile…