Sip Trips #138: Exploring Europe (Part 3)

Our arrival in Porto, Portugal, unfortunately occurred on a Sunday afternoon, meaning all stores and most restaurants were closed. We didn’t let that deter us though, finding Bao’s Taiwanese Burger. I had the Pulled Pork Bao, while splitting an order of Fries 101 with Mrs. Sip. To drink, I had a bottle of Opo Gyroscope IPA and we both finished our meal with a Happy Ending Shot, made with Licor 43.

As we ate, our laundry was going through a wash cycle at a nearby laundromat. So, as we waited for the load to dry, we popped into Café Candelabro for a beverage. There, I had a bottle of Cristal Preta, while Mrs. Sip enjoyed a glass of wine and Baby Sip gnawed on a drink coaster!

Laundry.jpg

The next day, we went on an excellent Food & Wine Tour. The trek began with traditional egg tarts at Manteigaria, before cod cakes and veal pockets with a generous serving of wine at Imperio. Next, we were off to O Pretinho Do Japao for a charcuterie platter and more wine, followed by Port tasting (white, red and tawny) at Pouriga. The main event was a fantastic bifana em pao sandwich, paired with a Super Bock Lager at Conga. This sandwich, with meat marinated in a mix of beer and peri-peri sauce, was the highlight of the tour, as far as Mrs. Sip and I were concerned. McDonald’s actually has their own version, which I also tried, but obviously it was just not the same.

Following the tour, we made our way to the city’s riverside area, where we joined an English tour of the Calem Port Museum. The tour and five tastings cost us 27€ for me and Mrs. Sip. Unfortunately, Baby Sip was being really fussy during this tour, so we didn’t get to fully enjoy it, but the tastings kind of made the difficult experience a little more tolerable.

Looking to get back on track, we continued along the riverside, ending up at Sandeman Cellars outdoor patio area for some Port cocktails. Mrs. Sip had their Vau Nilla (Sandeman Branco Port, apple, vanilla syrup, lemon juice, bitters), while I went with the Club Ruby (Sandeman Ruby Port, red fruit puree, pepper, lemon juice, mint). The drinks were delicious and the setting spectacular.

Wine Flu

Sadly, our short stay in Porto was over and we were onto the capital city of Lisbon via train. Upon arriving, we ventured to LisBeer, home to a variety of Portuguese craft beers. En route, we passed a Napoleao wine and spirits shop, so decided to have a looksee. There, we found a bottle of Sharish Blue Magic Gin to bring home. While I have yet to use the liquor, it apparently turns pink when you add ice, tonic water or another mix to it. When we finally made it to LisBeer, we selected a pair of 8a Colina Brewing products in the Urraca Vendaval IPA and Ze’ Arnaldo Porter. This bar had a very relaxed atmosphere and we enjoyed our brief visit.

For dinner, we made our way to Lisbon’s Hard Rock Café. The busy restaurant provides priority seating for guests with babies and young children, which was a nice bonus. I ordered the Original Legendary Burger, with a pint of Sagres Bohemia Beer, while Mrs. Sip had the Tupelo Chicken Tenders and a bottle of Sagres Bohemia Wheat Beer. Our food was very good and the staff at the eatery were top notch in our books.

We wrapped the long day with some cherry liqueur tasting at Ginginha do Carmo. While I enjoyed the booze straight up, Mrs. Sip had hers out of a chocolate cup, adding a whole new element to the experience. While these venues are very small, patrons are able to enjoy their drink outside the establishment. Our next morning also began with cherry liqueur, this time from A Ginjinha Registada, the oldest of these hole-in-the-wall shops.

Pace Yourself

Our main tourist activity on this day was a two-hour walking tour of the city. Afterwards, we joined the guide and a few fellow tourists for a drink at Noobai Café. Upon entering the place, I spotted what looked like a beer tasting opportunity, so promptly ordered that menu item. My flight was comprised of four Super Bock Seleccao 1927 varieties, including a Munich Dunkel, Bavaria Weiss, Bengal Amber IPA, and Thames Porter.

We wrapped our second day by visiting a marketplace in the center of the town, sitting down to a plate of various sausages and glasses of red and white sangria. We also picked up a bottle of Rose Wine, which the vendor opened up for us right there, allowing us to walk the stalls of the market with glasses of vino.

Before travelling to Belgium, the final stop of our expedition, we visited Sintra, Portugal, a beautiful little town, highlighted by Pena Palace and a Moorish Castle. Given all the pushing of Baby Sip’s stroller I was doing up and down cobble stone streets, I enjoyed a couple Super Bock cans to reward my efforts.

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Portugal – Saint Valentine

A Pirate’s Life for Me

The Pirate Code was introduced by Bartolomeu Português of Portugal in the 17th century. From there, each captain adjusted the regulations to fit their desires and sometimes even changed the rules for each journey. Each crew member was then asked to sign an agreement ratifying the code, before swearing an oath of allegiance to the captain and ship. All the expected stuff was there, such as how to split any booty (wow, that came out much more sexually than I had intended) and what punishment was to be expected for abandoning the crew in times of battle. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting items the code produced:

Article: Rights to fresh provisions and strong liquors, unless they become scarce

Nuts to the provisions, let’s go straight to the strong liquors! I’m sure an argument could be made, even if supplies ran low that you were simply trying to fend off scurvy and needed whatever booze was available. Granted, other ingredients are needed to fight the disease, but pirates wouldn’t have known that.

Pirate Code Guidelines

Article: Lights and candles are to be put out at eight o’clock at night… if any crew wants to continue drinking, it must be done on the open deck

Eight o’clock doesn’t seem very badass and not what I expected from buccaneers, but at least you can continue getting your drink on if you were so inclined. I would have expected pirates to stay up until at least 12, maybe even 13, singing songs of the sea and setting towns ablaze to light their parties.

Article: Not allowed to fight on the ship, but save it for land, using swords and pistols duel style

The pirates duel was kind of crazy. After their paces, they were allowed one shot with a loaded pistol and if that failed, it was a race back to the starting point where cutlasses were used until blood was drawn. That sounds like the makings of a hot new reality TV series, which I’ll soon put into production.

Article: To compensate any injured crewman, according to the severity of his injury

We’re always told that pirates were in it for themselves and nothing else, but this article proves they were willing to look after each other. A lost limb usually meant a payout of 600-800 Pieces of Eight, while more minor inflictions were judged on a case by case basis. Interestingly, in some codes, a right arm or leg was worth more than a left arm or leg… take that sinister ones. Hands, fingers, and even eyes were the least valuable body parts. Who needs their vision, right!?

Caribbean Pirate

Article: If a crewman betrays the ship, he will be marooned with one bottle of water, one bottle of powder, one weapon and one shot

I gotta say, I’m greatly disappointed that the pirates wouldn’t at least include a little flask of booze for the disowned crewman, but that just leaves more for those still aboard the ship. If I was the marooned pirate, I would ration that bottle of water to the very last drop, hoping some other ship passes and takes me into their crew.

Article: To be amorous with a woman without her consent should be punished by death

This kind of proves the Pirates of the Caribbean (where most of us have learned the entire extent of our pirate knowledge) women chasing scene all wrong. They say that there is no honour among thieves, but this may counter that theory, although the bad acts towards women probably still occurred regularly.

pirate-cat

Article: Whoever sees a sail first, shall receive the best pistol found aboard the vessel when plundered

This is like an epic game of ‘I spy with my little eye!’ Problem is most pirates were probably so out of their mind drunk that their blurred vision couldn’t win them this awesome prize, had they even wanted it. On a side note: I have to incorporate the word plunder into my vocabulary more regularly.

Article: Anyone drunk during pirating will be punished according to what the captain and majority of the crew see fit

This could end with the Sip Advisor walking the plank. It also begs the question: Is there any reason to be a pirate if you can’t be shitfaced most of the time? Being a pirate is about breaking the bonds that normal folks are tied to and going on adventures… and many of those adventures should be of the inebriated variety!

Portugal: Saint Valentine

Saint Valentine Martini

  • 1.5 oz White Rum
  • 0.5 oz Port
  • 0.5 oz Grand Marnier
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

In a perfect world, we would still live according to the Pirate Code and I would thrive and flourish in that society. I’m good at following the rules, as well as getting deep into drinking, making me a prime candidate to work my way up the pirate ladder and eventually becoming a captain of my own ship. Perhaps I should explore career options with today’s Somali pirates!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was strong (not too strong, mind you), but had a very nice taste. The citrus notes, such as Grand Marnier and Lime Juice were particularly pleasant, as was the Port. I actually used Cachaca as my Rum addition and I think that helped with the whole blend.

Portugal – Maria McClaire

Fatal Attraction

The Portuguese are big into fatalism and it has even spawned the country’s national music genre, called Fado. They are quick to use the word “oxalá”, which translated means “if only” or “hopefully”. Let’s check out some of the most popular quotes on fate and see if we can join the Portuguese and get our heads wrapped around this cosmic concept:

“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.” ― Lemony Snicket

I think this quote has to be my favourite of the bunch because it greatly describes how so many different people (“the waiters”) can play varying roles in your life and can push and pull you in different directions, some of which you’ll want to travel and others you’d avoid like the plague.

Fate Cat

“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…” ― John Lennon

Leave it to John Lennon to confuse and interest you all at the same time. This great lyric comes from The Beatles classic, All You Need is Love, and while it’s been proven time and time again that you, in fact, need a little more than simply love, it’s certainly a wonderful start and can be the impetus for your greatest adventures!

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote would seem to say that we have more power than we think in our own lives. That the universe will follow suit and fix itself accordingly to our wishes and desires. I hope that this is accurate. I’d like to think that I drive fate and not the other way around. I’m probably wrong, but I refuse to stop believing.

“Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that’s a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events — the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there — that must also be a miracle. Just because it’s not nice doesn’t mean it’s not miraculous.” ― Terry Pratchett

Mrs. Sip and her sister are huge fans of Terry Pratchett and even I must admit that I dig this quote. It’s so true that the word fate gets tossed around mostly for moments of tragedy. I tend to use it much more in the positive light, such as the fate of love, friendship, and great occurrences during one’s life.

Tempting Fate

“Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him.” ― Groucho Marx

I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Mrs. Sip does most of our planning and that has resulted in the Sip Advisor living a charmed life, with folks regularly saying they want what I have or being interested in my activities because I lead a fun-filled, fascinating lifestyle. Keep up the good work, Mrs. Sip!

“What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.” ― Donald Trump

So, if we are to believe The Donald, I guess he didn’t react too well to fate in the following situations where he turned out to be a mega loser: the death of the United States Football League; his multiple failed marriages; and worst yet, the bungling of Trump Vodka. Gotta give the guy props for always trying, though.

Tempting Fate Kitty

“I believe in luck and fate and I believe in karma, that the energy you put out in the world comes back to meet you.” ― Chris Pine

I’m a huge believer in karma. It guides most of what I do and when things take a downturn, I’m quick to examine what I may have done to cause my own misfortune. Finding a perfect balance in your own life is something I think all folks chase and if they don’t, they end up suffering and being miserable.

“Just because Fate doesn’t deal you the right cards, it doesn’t mean you should give up. It just means you have to play the cards you get to their maximum potential.” ― Les Brown

This reminds me of the old adage: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. You have to roll with what you are given and turn bad into good. If you’re lucky enough to largely get good right off the bat, then you have to embrace that and turn it into as much positivity as possible, staving off the bad as long as you can.

Portugal: Maria McClaire

Maria McClaire Martini

  • 1.5 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Port
  • 0.5 oz Campari
  • Dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Garnish with Peach Slice

What are your thoughts on fate? Did these quotes inspire anyone out there in the Land of Sip? Did I inspire any of you to be better people? Probably not, so let’s just enjoy a quick drink together and go our separate ways!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
If you’d like to check out more Port recipes, check out this great site. When I originally made this cocktail, I had a bit of a mind lapse and used Irish Creme instead of Irish Whiskey… let’s just say things turned out much better when I realized my transgression and corrected the recipe.