Two years ago, I almost went to Portugal for spring break. I had the entire week planned out: fly into Lisbon, venture into the eastern countryside, then take the train south to Faro and beach town-hop before venturing back to Alsatian France. I never did take that trip. Instead, Liz and I galavanted from Ireland, to Hungary, to Italy. It wasn't the worst of alternatives ;). Since then, however, it's been at the top of my still must see European destinations, similar to Prague, Iceland, and the Nordic region, amongst others.
Last night, I experienced a little teaser. After Leslie and I enjoyed complimentary glasses of wine at City Winery, (and then got a reminder as to why we've decided not to go back again, 'tis an unfortunate story that will not be shared) we rounded the corner to another ScoutMob delight. Pão! is Portuguese for "bread" and the name of a small, unassuming yet fantastic restaurant on the edge of quiet Tribeca.
Behind a heavy wooden door, the warm, authentic atmosphere was a welcome change from the evening chill outside. We sat at a communal table and was greeted by the waiter, manager, owner, waitress, and busboy. Not all at once, of course, (that'd be odd), but throughout the meal. In two words: great service.
I had read about the vinho verde before, and both of us were equally as intrigued to try it. Unfortunately, it was a white derivative--youthful, light, and fresh, and totally inappropriate for a winter dinner. We enjoyed our tasting, however, and then promptly ordered glasses of full-bodied reds. I hope to return in the heat of summer, then, and only then, will I risk a headache for Portuguese green wine :).
The Pão! menu boasted Iberian specialties: fish and meat. We settled on seafood fare with Peixinhos Da Horta, or "little fish from the farm" fresh breaded green beans over black eye pea salad, and Vieras Em Tomatada Com Xarope De Porto, or sea scallops on tomato compote with port wine syrup. We also requested Esparregado on the side for the green factor and for our curiosity towards the broccoli rape mousse. Unfortunately, they were all out, and so we settled on sautéed spinach instead. I wish I knew the Portuguese word for that one.
As we enjoyed our meal of fresh ingredients and simple flavors, we discussed the complexities of our lives. It wasn't particularly dark and deep, but it did match the familial, broken in, and comfortable ambience. It made me happy we were friends.
I've never regretted taking the chances I've taken. Not by the big ones like spending a year abroad or falling in love at the wrong time, nor the smaller ones like experimenting with a different cuisine or attending blogger events. It was at a Beam Green one that I met Leslie, a girl could relate to my passion food, health, and travel, and continue to inspire me to pursue them all.
We ended our meal sweetly with a dessert of "Chocolate Salami." Captivated by it's name? So were we and we inquired about it's contents before ordering. Graciously, we were offered a sample of the rich chocolate fudge with sprinkled with pieces of Maria cookies, in addition the special of the day, a warm chocolate cake with homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Both were delicious. And, the entire dinner came to a total of $18 each. Did I mention I love ScoutMob?
Living life in itself is a risk I suppose, yet that should never deter us from living it to it's fullest. Yesterday I took a chance with Portugal, tomorrow I might take a chance on a date, but tonight, tonight I will play it safe, cautious, (maybe even boring,) and stay in. Sure there are experiences to be had and people to share them with, but even I cannot handle constantly living on the edge of excitement ;). Take care, my darlings. I'm taking a well-deserved night off.