Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sopa Portuguesa

Picture this: I'm sitting in Accra, Ghana, with coworkers, staring at this blog post blankly for a good...let's say 20 minutes. I had uploaded pictures, put a title on the entry, and sat there occasionally eating a shrimp and all-casionally looking like I had died about 6 hours previous. I complain for the blankth time that I can't make myself type anything, make the most pathetic face at Tyler (sitting across from me at the time) and say "you write it." Imagine my surprise when she held out her hands for my laptop and then didn't stop typing until we left for the airport. The result was a true delight for me to read, and she so perfectly captured our soup-related culinary exploits in Portugal last week. There's even going to be a cat involved, so get ready for a treat! And after you fall in love with Tyler's writing, check out her blog too. Okay, I'll shut up (minus a few notes thrown in) - too many pretty things for you to see ahead!

[Ed. note: Our tour guide, Yuri, points Nicole and Tyler in the direction of soup probably.]

Hello, Soupruary fiends! This is Tyler. You don't know me, but if you follow Corrie on Instagram, I'm the one who stands in front of things and smiles. After a very long (and wonderful) week in Ghana, Corrie is feeling a little drained creativity-wise. Totally understandable. I mean, did you read that James Franco soup-related blog yesterday? I laughed uncontrollably, and also put a few items on my DIY list.

Along with accompanying Corrie to Ghana, I was also along for the ride in Portugal and therefore am very qualified to discuss the soups that we encountered along the way. Will I be able to wax poetic about the mouth feel of vegetables you can't pronounce? No. But we can't all be Corrie Loeffler.

[Ed. note: I'm going to let Tyler say nice things about me a few times in here. And no, before you ask: Tyler is not a figment of my imagination, invented to make me feel like I'm cooler than I am.]

This lil soup was served on our TAP Portugal flight from Newark to Lisbon. According to the fancy little menu they give you in business class, it was called "Yellow Lentil Soup with Lentil Ratatouille," but I just considered it a bowl full of yum. As someone who doesn't regularly dive into things like "lentils," I can't tell you if it was truly as lentil-heavy as the title suggests, but Corrie seems to think there was a lot more flavor involved [Ed. note: Curry], and I tend to agree with her about these sorts of things. What I can say is it was very smooth and lovely, and the ratatouille was surprisingly delightful for something that was poured into my bowl from a thermos.

When we finally made it to Lisbon, Corrie was on a mission to find some good soups to share with you all (she really is pretty serious about this whole Soupruary thing). We stopped at this cute outdoor cafe for a coffee and a snack between shopping and walking tours, and the perfect opportunity presented itself.

Here I am, modeling "Creme de Cenoura" like a champ. That means cream of carrot, and it was magical. Definitely more potato-based than I was expecting or than you would probably imagine based on the color of the soup, but as usual, I was not disappointed by ordering "what she said." 

Here's a fun photo from when Corrie, Nicole, and I ventured outside of Lisbon proper to explore Sintra, the must-see city that's a short train right away. My function on these excursions is to wait for Corrie to say "Tyler, stand in front of that," but this time she got in the photo with me! Truly an exciting moment.

Instead of paying 5 euro each to have someone drive us up to the top of the mountain, we were super money savvy and took the long was up, walking/hiking/climbing/struggling through a winding path that resulted in my Fitbit congratulating me multiple times throughout the day for the 8.9 miles, 21,942 steps, and 88 floors that we endured. It was my favorite day in Portugal (mostly due to the effort of getting up to the Castelo Dos Mouros) and was totally worth it!

[Ed. note: Tyler was looking for soup probably.]

Corrie's basically my personal photographer and gets the best photos of me when we're traveling together. We also tend to finish each others' weird, long sentences by the end of a trip, but I won't go into that here because soup. LOOK AT THAT VIEW. WE EARNED THAT VIEW, FOLKS. EARNED IT.

[Ed. note: Tyler swears she never used to write in all caps, and has been known to blame the change on me. I hope the reason is that I do it too often and she got used to it, and not that I've caused some substantial raising of her blood pressure.]

[Ed. note: This cat was a garbage at helping us find soup.]

 When we finished with our super exhausting climb, we realized that we were in fact adults who could more than likely afford the 5 euro back down to the bottom of the mountain, and as a bonus, our driver hopped out of his car and literally sprinted to a little lunch spot that exceeded all of our expectations. (There's about a 98% chance he was illegally parked, but I don't remember people really following many traffic laws in Portugal, so...) Corrie and I each got a different soup, and I enjoyed mine but promptly forgot its composition after eating it. She says it was a green cabbage soup with tons of veggies (but mostly potato), and now I vaguely remember eating something yummy like that. Those little green pieces were probably very healthy, though the amount of cream might have cut that health factor in half.

[Ed. note: I genuinely don't think there was that much cream, it was just super smooth potato-y fake cream. They're, like, potato experts in Portugal. This is what the biased media isn't telling you!! The cabbages, they love them there. We went to a grocery store and they were one whole produce section top to bottom! And they're beautiful, and they even make a staggering array of cabbage-inspired dishware that I wanted to bring home.]

 Corrie's had all the things that make her happy: broth, bread, eggs and garlic. (The broth may have had some furry/feathery/previously alive creatures mixed in, but she was willing to let it slide because it was delicious.) It was traditionally Portuguese, but I don't remember the name and surprisingly neither does she. 

LOOK HOW HAPPY SHE IS. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN SOMEONE SO HAPPY?! (Humble brag, I captured that photo.) [Ed. note: Cross-reference.]

 If you've never been to Portugal, I can't really describe how lovely all of the buildings and tiles and just everything is. What I can say is Corrie pointed and commented on all of the things, and she also took all of the best photos, per usual.

Side note: According to everyone in Portugal, it rains roughly 30 times a year in the beautiful city of Lisbon, which means we experienced 10% of the yearly rain during our trip. I lived in my rain jacket, Nicole ruined an umbrella, and Corrie wore the most attractive shoes you've ever seen despite the cold cold temperatures.

[Ed. note: This is Tyler making fun of my hideous, VERY COMFORTABLE shoes. Do not be fooled.]

Our last night in Lisbon, Corrie did that thing she's known for, which is looking online for restaurants and immediately settling on the city's culinary gem. For us, that was A Cevicheria. Did we have to wait two hours for a table for 3 because they literally could seat 12 people in the restaurant? Yes. Was it still worth it for what we ate? Totes. 

You could tell it was a legit seafood place because 1. they had seafood on ice chilling (hah) behind the bar, and 2. there was a giant ass octopus on the ceiling. Because what kind of a seafood restaurant doesn't have a papier-mache seafood creature hanging above its patrons?

[Ed. note: Five seconds of googling can seriously make you seem incredibly good at picking restaurants. I'm just grateful people are willing to go along with me sometimes!]

Corrie documents everything that she eats, which allows me to tell you this beaut includes mackarel, celery, ginger, tapioca, and green apple. (Though Corrie thinks there must be green tomatoes in it, too, and I smiled and nodded like I knew what I was talking about, too.) This meal was the best we had in Portugal and scores in the top ten of my life, so it was legit. Nicole loved the "pearls" in the soup, and Corrie loved the apparently-there green tomatoes, and I loved being with coworkers who I love, so we all had a blast. And soup because it's Soupruary, and this blog is ostensibly about soup.

[Ed. note: Maybe it should be a blog about sardines, though.]
And that's all from me. That'll do, pig. That'll do.


Thanks so much, Tyler! This made me SO happy. Tomorrow: Ghanaian soup! Then back to home, my kitchen, and all-new recipes.

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