Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Travels Continue: Lisbon and the magic of Jose Cid

FunicularMy beloved and I went to Lisbon in January. We largely succeeded in having a good time all of the time. One great thing about Lisbon is that the place is full of cake shops selling their wares for half nothing. If you like custard tarts* then Lisbon is the place for you.

Portugal has a reputation as something of a black hole when it comes to the general culinary arts. I cannot say we saw too much evidence of this, as we ate a great many tasty meals while we were in that country's capital. We did eat one total duffer, though, so perhaps the quality is a bit variable. One thing I would want to do if I was there again is explore the city's vegetarian options, as you could get a bit fed up of tasty fish.

While we were there we met people we know from the (now defunct) Bowlie forum. They bought us back to their place and regaled us with tales of having a future Nobel laureate as a neighbour. They also played us various pieces of Portuguese music. One fellow who sounded most fascinating was this Jose Cid chap. He released some prog rock madness album in the late 1970s called something like Between Venus And Mars (only in Portuguese). The excerpts we heard of this were amazing, though oddly familiar – basically the bits of Air that were not knocked off from Serge Gainsbourg come from here. Sadly this space-rock classic is out of print.

Jose Cid continues in music, but he seems to have mutated into some kind of weird Portuguese Joe Dolan figure. They played us some later single by him. This had our Portuguese hosts falling around laughing (the jazz cigarettes might also be a factor here), but it seemed like the lyrics (about how he loves to go picking up widows because they are always on for it and tend to have loads of money) were pretty rofflesome.

Oh yeah, do not do a Google image search for Jose Cid if you are easily shocked.

Our Portuguese friends also pointed us in the direction of this ginginha drink, some local cherry brandy. Brandy with prefixes is usually terrifying, but this stuff was the nom.

An inuit panda production

*Which the locals call pastéis de nata, unless said locals are in the Belem area, in which case they call them pastéis de Belem; as the nicest ones are in Belem they maybe have primacy.

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