Monday, September 6, 2021

Bacalhau Score

All Portugal trip reports in chronological order:

Oddly Bookended Food Day in Portugal (Nepali and Goan in Almada)
My Portuguese Rosebud (questing for a second helping of the arroz de mariscos that changed my life 30 years ago)
Bacalhau Score (glorious restaurant version of a homely grandma dish in Almada)
Grappling with Chowhounding Hubris (good-not-great pork cheeks in Sintra)
Taskinha Do Chef (Torres Vedras, Portugal) (exquisite family-run restaurant in Torres Vedras)
False Friends, Inadvertent Penetration, and Coimbra (diagnosing the Coimbra Problem)
Solar dos Amigos (rustic culinary splendor in Caldas da Rainha)
Burguezia do Leitão (the best roast suckling pig palace near Coimbra, in Casal Comba)
A Casa do Jorge (smashing wine country steakhouse in Santana, near Azeitão)

If you're new here, you'd be smart to question how I, a stranger blasting through quickly, could claim to have found some of the best possible bites in lots of different places. You might be satisfied by my explanation that I'm a professional with a preternaturally good nose, 40 years of experience, and a reputation for making killer finds. If that's not persuasive, I understand. I, too, wrestle with the presumptuousness and hubris of it all.

I arrived at Galeria Restaurante in Almada, Portugal at 2:59pm, a mortal sin in Southern Europe. It was out of the way and generic-looking, but I’d sniffed out a single obscure lonely tip online and deemed it legit. "Are you still serving?" I asked the peevish waitress, who glanced at her watch and looked up at me like the culmination of every terrible thing that had ever happened to her. But I was seated and handed an enormous menu, which I ignored.

I told her that I knew the restaurant is a little bit famous (completely redeeming my earlier transgression) for certain dishes, and I wanted one of those. She began listing some, starting with "bacalhau com broa", a homey old-fashioned dish, seldom seen in restaurants, of codfish topped with crunchy buttery garlicky toasted crumbs of heavy cornbread. Yes! Stop listing now! I want that!

The following work of art was produced in like seven minutes:

If you don't mind a brief cry, go ahead and blow up the photo.

Extra detail (you’re welcome):

Spud shot!

I returned for dinner (maybe the fourth doublehitter in my lifetime) with friends, and we ordered a bunch of stuff without asking for recommendations, and it was merely good. I think every element of the above story was necessary for my lunch success.

1 comment:

George Reis said...

I hate to gush, but I have the sensation of having waited my entire adult life for this post.

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