Category Archives: Food

Old Bastard’s

No the title of this post does not refer to the two ‘young at heart’, fabulous fellows I am sharing my house with here in Praia da Luz. Ol’ Bastard’s is the name of a great little fish and chips place in Lagos just up the road from where we are.  Dave heard it was highly recommended and so we decided to try it last night which happened to be the first night it was open for the tourist season after being closed for several months. 

 Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day – our warmest and finest since arriving in Portugal and I headed into town an hour or so ahead of the guys so I could hike the 4 kilometers along the ocean at a more leisurely pace– stopping to smell the pine and listen to the waves….. but also to do a little shopping in Lagos. I have Easter baskets to fill and friends and families’ birthdays to recognize when I get back home to Canada. 

The guys joined me at Ol’ Bastard’s.  The host who opened the door and greeted us looked exactly like the fellow on the sign over the front door, but he was anything but an ‘ol’ bastard.’  He was a thirty something young father who spent our entire visit walking around the restaurant with his six month old baby while supervising his friendly staff who provided us with a tasty meal.  

Dave and Rudy both had American fish and chips (you can also order Australian or British fish and chips) and I had the fish tacos.  Dave and Rudy suggested to our waitress they might want to try offering Canadian fish and chips and serve the fries poutine style. 

They were playing 80s and 90s tunes on the restaurant soundtrack and Dave and Rudy spent some of our dinner hour trying to identify the names of the different artists we were hearing . 

Ol’ Bastard’s lived up to its hearty recommendation.  

Other posts……….

The Walk That Wasn’t and An Authentic Portuguese Lunch

Goose Necked Barnacles and How To Catch An Octopus

First Supper in Lisbon- My Husband Has Great Instincts


Filed under Food, Portugal

The Walk That Wasn’t And An ‘Authentic’ Portuguese Lunch

On Monday we decided to do another road trip I had cobbled together from information online.  Rudy punched all our destinations into his Google Maps and off we went.  First destination we’d head to was Barragem da Bravura, according to my sources a lake created by a dam and surrounded by a nice hiking trail. There was a restaurant at the site which was well recommended.  I planned for us to have lunch there after our walk. 

Despite Rudy’s excellent navigating we didn’t find the lake right away but did find a dead-end.  We turned around and it wasn’t long before we arrived at the lake.  The restaurant was closed for the season and that put a little damper on the hike idea, since there would be no delicious Portuguese repast awaiting us at its end.  Despite this we hiked gamely down to the dam, stopped to appreciate the vistas of the lake it provided, walked across the dam and set off on the hiking trail.  It was a nice morning and we walked along for a while until we met some German tourists.  Our friend Rudy engaged them in conversation and they told him the hike around the lake took ‘three days’.  We were not prepared for a three-day hike so the guys decided we should turn around immediately.  They were hungry and we’d need to do a bit of driving to find a lunch spot. 

We drove all the way to Silves where we planned to tour the castle in the afternoon.  After driving up and down most of the streets in town we settled on a little restaurant that looked ‘authentic’.   We wanted to have some real Portuguese food.  And I think we did.  Dave ordered Cozido à Portuguesa a Portuguese stew that had lots of cabbage, potatoes and carrots, different kinds of sausages, meats and animal fat. It had all been cooked in one pot.

I opted for Frango no churrasco piri piri, basically barbecued chicken glazed with a spicy sauce and Rudy had Bacalhau com Grao which was chick peas and cod surrounded by boiled potatoes and eggs.  The portions were more than generous and we were decidedly full!! We just didn’t have room for dessert.  Later however Dave bought some juicy oranges at a roadside stand. They were so cheap he bought two big bags, so we’ll be having oranges for dessert for a while. 

I did look up the lake trail we aborted and contrary to the German man’s information it does not take three days but rather eight hours to walk around Barragem da Bravura. The restaurant at the head of the trail is opening in the middle of February.  We may have to do this part of our road trip again in the coming weeks. 

Other posts………….

The Mink Bay Happy Jack Trail

The Wave- Art in the Interlake

I Got Lost Twice Yesterday

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First Supper in Lisbon- My Husband Has Great Instincts

which restaurant lisbon

Dave checks out one of the many restaurants he considered for dinner.

It took Dave a long time to decide where he wanted to eat supper our first night in Lisbon. He checked out a whole bunch of places but finally decided on a small restaurant near our house run by an elderly couple. restaurant owner lisbonThey couldn’t really speak English but we managed to communicate quite well with hand gestures and pointing to menu items and the owner helped us pick out what to have after supplying us with a plate of olives and a tray of bread. 
making our sangria lisbonThe owner left to buy the tuna and sea bass we had ordered from a nearby fish merchant. We watched his wife prepare our pitcher of Sangria step by step. She chopped oranges, splashed in wine, added other fruits she had already diced, threw in ice cubes, and then tasted the Sangria herself to be sure she’d got things right. Just then the owner  returned with our fish and his wife took it and bustled into the kitchen to cook while the man chatted with all kinds of people from the neighbourhood who stopped in to visit. 

restaurant lisbonThe meal was AMAZING!  The fish was flavorful and the homemade potato fries done to perfection.  

tuna steak lisbon

My tuna steak was so spicy and tender

There was a plate of salad for each of us included as well. We ordered a carafe of white wine for our meal. The portions were so hearty we simply COULD NOT find room for dessert although our host really wanted us to. 

restaurant owner and marylouBefore we left I asked our host if he would take a photo with me.  I wish I had taken one with his wife too. She came out of the kitchen just before we left and we told her how great the meal had been and she smiled and said some stuff in Portuguese that sounded happy and pleased. 

orange tree lisbonWe did stop on the way home to get a bag of oranges.  There are orange trees everywhere in Lisbon. oranges lisbonThe man who sold us the oranges told us they’d be sweet and was he ever right!  He also taught us to say obrigado which is thank you in Portuguese. 

little restaurant lisbonLater I looked up the restaurant which was called O Tasco Do Vigario on Trip Advisor and everyone just raved about it saying what a fabulous full course meal they’d had with cocktails and wine for two people for only around 20 Euros. Everyone gave it four or five stars! Our experience exactly!

Kudos to Dave for choosing the perfect place by instinct!

Other posts……..

Plumb Tuckered Out in Lisbon

Home Grown in Newfoundland

Meet You At the Folio

Celebrating Our Marriage History in a Historical Building



Filed under Food, Portugal, Restaurants

Food Rules

food-rules-illustrated-editIf you are like me you may have made a resolution to eat healthier in the new year.  Here I’ve illustrated six helpful rules from Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules. 

breakfast at sidewinder

Breakfasting at the Sidewinder Golf Club in Gold Canyon Arizona in 2015

Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and eat supper like a pauper.  

women having coffee

Having a coffee at Winnipeg’s Parlour Cafe in 2013

Get your caffeine in natural ways from tea and coffee. 

bread vendor new york city

Bread Vendor in New York City in 2012

The whiter the bread the sooner you’re dead. 

meal with students at korean restaurant

Eating with some of our former Hong Kong students in Toronto 2012

Try not to eat alone.

dad and his tomato plants

My Dad with harvest from his tomato crop in 2006

Eat mostly plants. 

enjoying an ice cream cone

Dave having ice cream on a food tour in Toronto 2012

Avoid foods with sugar as one of the top three ingredients.

Other posts………..

A Meal in a Novel

Cooking Together

Wined and Dined at a New Restaurant


Filed under Food, Health

A Meal in a Novel

At my writers’ group Christmas party on Thursday night we each had to bring food for a potluck. We were supposed to prepare something that was related to a novel we have written.  I have just finished the first draft of a middle grade novel about a boy who travels by train from Kansas to Saskatchewan in 1907.  Here is the excerpt from my novel that I used to plan my potluck contribution.

meal for writers group

My contribution for the potluck

The next day at the station Mama doesn’t say anything about me getting on the train. Sometime during the night Papa must have convinced her to let me go. She hugs me and two hot tears slip across her cheeks and slide down my neck as her arms squish the air out of my lungs clear to my ribs. Before I turn towards the boxcar with Prince and Gypsy inside she hands me an old sugar sack that smells of spicy pickles, smoked sausage, buttered bread and her dried cinnamon apples. I can tell Mama wants to say something. She gnaws her lips and opens them so wide I can see all of her teeth right to the back of her mouth, but only short frightened gasps come up from her throat. Papa shakes my hand strong and steady like I’m a real grown man and then he puts his arm around Mama’s shoulders and leads her away. She doesn’t look back at me.

Other posts………..

So Much Hard Work

A Quick Five

I’m In Chicken Soup Again

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Cooking For Picasso

cooking for picassoI just finished reading Cooking for Picasso by Camilee Aubray.   I wouldn’t give it a thumbs up.  Yes the descriptions of food and food preparation are tantalizing and seductive. And it is intriguing to read about the beautiful young French woman Odine who in 1936 could have been the subject of one of Picasso’s famous artworks Woman With A Watch. 

woman with a watch picasso 1936

Woman with a Watch by Picasso 1936

But my loathing for the way Picasso treated the women in his life wasn’t mitigated at all as Celine the modern- day narrator of Cooking for Picasso tells us how she discovers her grandmother Odine not only cooked for Picasso but also had an affair with him.  Celine finds out Picasso is her grandfather.  Although that means she inherits one of his paintings and a great deal of money, it also means she inherits the knowledge that she is the descendant of a man who considered himself ‘a beast’ in his relationships with women, a man who said he liked his women to be “submissive and shorter than he was.” 

still life by picasso page84

Still Life with a Pitcher by Picasso another Picasso painting featured in Cooking For Picasso

As I read the book I thought about how maybe even a year ago I would have liked it  more.  But last summer as I did research for the tours I gave of the Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery I learned  just how misogynistic Picasso was and what toxic relationships he had with women. That changed my view of his art completely. 

I also read Cooking for Picasso just when the news was filled with stories about famous men being taken to task for inappropriate sexual behavior.  Picasso would never have survived such scrutiny. 

So while Cooking for Picasso is about two things I love- food and art it is not a book I would recommend. 

Other posts……….

Picasso -Not Really A Family Man

Picasso’s Grandmother is Canadian

A Slightly Tipsy Bullfighter


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Filed under Art, Books, Food

Cooking Together

The United Church Observer carried a Thanksgiving article by Anne Bokma. She has always felt it was her duty to make good nutritious meals for her family. She figures she’s singlehandedly made more than 10,000 of them since becoming a mother some twenty years ago. She is realizing now she probably should have insisted her husband and children help out more. She decided this Thanksgiving she was only going to make soup for the holiday meal because she just expends way too much energy making a full turkey dinner on her own.
I was fortunate to spend Thanksgiving at our children’s home in Saskatoon. They hosted a holiday dinner for members of both sides of their extended family. Unlike the woman in the United Church Observer article their meal preparations were very much a team effort. Both my son and his wife made shopping trips to various stores for meal ingredients and we did some errands as a family on Saturday morning.

My father carving the turkey at our house last Thanksgiving. 

My son roasted and carved the turkey and my daughter in law made the mashed potatoes and green beans. My daughter-in-law’s sister had brought the soup and salad and my husband purchased the wine. My five-year old grandson even got into the act helping his mother to whip the cream for the pumpkin pie.

In our household I have always done the bulk of the meal preparation although my husband is an excellent cook and now often makes his signature dishes when we have guests.

dad and dad cooking

My Dad and my father-in-law frying rollkuchen for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebration.

I applaud the cooking model my children have adopted. In their home,  meal preparation is a team effort. I love the way they are involving their children too! Even my one year old grandson helps put the ingredients in the blender when his Dad makes our breakfast smoothies.  

In her article Anne Bokma references food author Louise Fresco who says that families cooking together makes for good relationships because it provides an opportunity to deal with tension, show tenderness and establish common routines and rituals.  Cooking should be a family affair!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Other posts……..

A Thankful Weekend

Family Thanksgiving



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