Friday, July 20, 2012

If you haven't been to the market...

...you haven't been to the city at all! Is my motto when it comes to discovering new destinations. In this case, we are talking about the market in Lisbon. 



I headed there for a long weekend which, considering the fact that it has been raining more or less for the last 5 weeks in Berlin, was just about the best thing one could do. It was three days of summer weather with 30 °C in the shade and a light breeze. Lisbon is a beautiful town, spread over seven hills which allows you to stroll from one magnificent viewpoint to the next. The small streets and lanes of the older parts of town are cozy and the narrower the more shade the provide. We bought fresh nectarines, apricots, cherries and plums at a small fruteria. Taking the first bite of a nectarien made you envision the farmer who with a smile on his face picked the fruit from the tree that very morning - the fruit was that ripe! Not like in Berlin where you have to buy the nectarines 4 days before you want to eat them because they were picked before fully ripening.
We enjoyed breakfast at pasteleria Suica in the sun.  I couldn't imagine a better start of the day.  There pastel de nata were excellent, but there pan de lo was a true gem. It was basically just a small biscuit de Savoie, but what a fluffy one!  
At praca do Comércio, we enjoyed freshly squeezed orange juice in the evening sun, overlooking the river Tejo. And of course we ate fish which is a must when you're in Portugal! 
Something which took me by surprise was the delicious icecream that Lisbon has to offer. I just didn't think of Portugal as an icecream-country. At Fragoleto, try the dulce de leche ice cream or their fruity flavors such as plum which they make from organic fruits. Good icecream is a bit on the pricier side of life, but I am always willing to spend an extra euro if the quality is right. You'll find the place in rua da prata 80, quite close to praca do Comércio in Baixa. 

 
 How come even the mail boxes look better a 1000 kilometers from home?


The best icecream though is to be found in Belém at Moo & You. When I was a child, my favorite flavor was cassis ( I have mentioned before that I was a weird child) and at Moo&You they had cassis which tasted just like the one I had as a child. Another flavor which totally blew me away was their poppy seed ice cream. I have had that flavor before, but mostly there was more ice and less poppy seed. Here however, the ice cream really tasted poppy seed! The owners were super friendly and quite happy to see us stop by again after two hours...I guess it doesn't happen too often that poeple are as food crazy as we are and eat 3 scoops in 2 hours....




But, as I said, you don't really know a city until you have been to one of its markets. That's why on Saturday morning, we headed to the organic market at the local parc of Príncipe Real. What a gem! You could buy teeny weeny tomatoes, ripe plums, fresh herbs and bottled juices. I bought some dry oregano as a souvenir. I am sure whenever I will spice a dish with it, it will take me back to this little market.




Behind the market is a cute little café where you can enjoy a decent breakfast. We shared their ham and cheese toast (nothing beats melted cheese...) and had the obligatory freshly squeezed orange juice.


There is another rule when it comes to exploring foreign places. If you havn't been to the coolest book store of the place, you don't know the city either, it goes. Therefore, on Sunday, we headed to the LX factory which used to be an abandoned textile factory and now has been taken over by creative industries. 
 

It's buzzling with cute shops, excellent restaurants (most of which were unfortunatley still closed on a Sunday morning) and every Sunday, they host a small flea market. We had brunch at the cute café na fabrica under the shade of some old trees. 




Then, we headed to the book store Ler Devagar in LX factory. It is a huge book store, spanning over several floors and in the center, they left an old textile machine. It was such a cool bookstore that I really regret not speaking portugese and therefore not beeing able to buy every third book on the shelf...They do have a small selcetion of foreign  (french and english) books though, a cute café on the second floor (which since we had just had so much food at the bruch unfortunately couldn't try) and the location itself is resaon enough to go there!



Copyright of all photos j.