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An Extraordinary Wine Dinner

A wine collector friend decided to have a party in order to share some of his best wines so he arranged a dinner at Gramercy Tavern.  There were 16 of us in the private dining room.

The Wines

Champagne “ Grand Dame” 1990 Double Magnum Veuve Clicquot made with 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay from the estate’s 100 percent rated Grand Cru vineyards. This is refined, elegant champagne with a hint of brioche and a smooth silky finish.

All of the following wines are Magnums

Batard Montrachet 2004 Joseph Drouhin made from 100% Chardonnay purchased from regular supplies. Hand harvest and a very slow pressing. Juice from the last pressings is not used. The wine is decanted directly into barrels. The wine is aged in French oak, 25% new for 12 to 15 months. The wine has hints of honey, almond, ripe fruit and a touch of wood. It has a great feel in the mouth with a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste.

Chambertin 1989 Domaine A Rousseau P&F Made from 100% Pinot Noir. The soil is limestone and clay and the vineyard is 5.3 acres making them the largest landowner in Chambertin. Following a cold maceration the must travels by gravity into barrels where it will stay for the entire vinification process lasting from 18 to 24 months. The wine is blended unfiltered. This is a structured, dense, powerful wine but it is not heavy and is a joy to drink. One on the two best Burgundies I have had the pleasure to enjoy. The other I also had with this same generous friend.

PommardLes Rugiens Bas” 1988 De’Montille made from 100% Pinot Noir from Les Rugiens Bas, a Premier Cru composed of 5.83 hectares. With 1.02 hectares, they are the largest owners. The soil is clay with the presence of iron. The wines are certified organic by Ecocert and they use biodynamic practices. This wine is balanced and elegant with nice fruit and will age for a number of years.

Ornellaia 1988 Marchese Lodovico Antinori made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon,16% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc.  The grapes are hand harvested. The grapes were de-stemmed and gently crushed and put into wooden fermenters and stainless steel tanks. Fermentation maceration lasted for 15 to 20 days. After fermentation the wine completed malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels.  The wine was aged for 11 months in French barriques 40% new and 60% once used. The wine was aged for 16 months in bottle before release. This is a full-bodied wine with with hints of dark fruit, violets and a touch of vanilla.

Brunello di Montalcino “Montosoli” 1990 Altesino made from 100% Sangiovese. Traditional fermentation. The wine is aged for 4 years with a minimum of two years in barrel and 4 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of wild berries, chocolate and tobacco with a touch of violets and vanilla.

Hermitage “La Chapelle” 1988 Paul Jaboulet Aine 100% Syrah planted in a diversity of terroir. The age of the vines is 40 to 60 years. The grapes come down from the slopes of l’Hermitage on small sledges and then are sorted manually and vinified traditionally in the cellars. The final assembly is made during aging in the cellars in wood for 15 to 18 months. During this time the wines are also racked. This is a complex and elegant wine with hints of black fruit, black cherries, spice and leather. It has a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste. A very impressive wine.

Chateauneuf –du- Pape Cuvee Reserve 1995 Pegau made from 80% Grenache, 6% Syrah 4% Mourvèdre and 10% other grape varieties allowed  by the AOP. There is a strict selection of carefully hand picked grapes. No de-stemming and the blend of 13 grape varieties are gently crushed before fermentation takes place for ten days in a cement vat. No added yeasts and no temperature control in this natural process. An absolute minimum amount of tartaric acid and sulphites are added. After pressing, the wine is aged for 2 years in select large oak barrels. The wine has hints of cherries, raspberries and plums with a touch of leather and spice.

Bordeaux 1983 Pomerol Chateau Lafleur made from almost equal parts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The vineyard is planted on 3 different soils: northwest there is sandy clay gravel, to the south and east clay gravel and in the heart of the vineyard gravelly sand. Vinification takes place in traditional cement vats. The vats go from 30 hl to 8o hl. The wine ages in French oak barrels and a portion of them are new where the wine remains for about 15 months. The wine has hints of cherry, blackberry, plum and spice. 1983 was a very good year for the Chateau and it is one of the best Pomerols.

Bordeaux 1983 St Julien Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. There are 10,000 vines per hectare. Vinification is in stainless steel vats of different sizes and malolactic fermentation takes place in concrete vats. Over 50% of the wine is aged in new French oak barrels for 18 to 20 months. The wine has hints of cherry and raspberry and a touch of tobacco and spice.

With dessert, we drank two 750’s.

Ruby Port 1963 Graham a fortified wine that is aged for 2 years in wood. 1963 was a memorable vintage for port. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of caramelized fruit, notes of plum, raspberry, blackberry and dried figs.

Madeira Verdelho 1966 D’Oliveira, a fortified wine made from the white Verdelho grape. It is drier then Bual but not as dry as Sercial. This is a lush and balanced wine with hints of roasted nuts and a very long finish and a lingering after taste.


In all, we enjoyed one double magnum of Champagne, one magnum of white wine, eight magnums of red wine, one 750 bottle of Port and another of Madeira.





Filed under Bordeaux, Brunello, Burgundy, Champagne, Chateaneuf du Pape, Jabpulet Hermitage La Chappelle, Madeira, Port, Uncategorized

Lunch with Dora

When Julia Griner asked if we knew of any traditional pasta makers in New York City that could be featured on the popular Pasta Grannies You Tube Channel, Michele had one thought, our friend Dora Marzovilla. Dora, who comes from the Puglia region of Italy,


makes several varieties of handmade pasta every day for her son’s restaurants, I Trulli and Ristoro del Cinghiale in New York City.

Julia, together with her husband Pino Ficara, own the Grano & Farina Cooking School in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome that we have written about before. Julia also began collaborating recently with Vicky Bennison, the owner and creator of Pasta Grannies.  Michele put Julia and Vicky in touch with Dora through her son Nicola Marzovilla, and they scheduled an appointment for Vicky to interview Dora in New York and make a video of her in action. Lucky for us, we were invited to join Vicky, Dora, and members of the Marzovilla family for dinner at Dora’s home afterward.

When we arrived, Dora was in the kitchen trimming baby artichokes and heads of broccoli. These she dipped in a light batter and fried in hot oil. They were hot and crisp and we ate them with our fingers as Dora sent out batch after batch from the kitchen

along with Dora’s freshly made tomato focaccia.

Next up was the pasta, handmade orecchiette, which Dora had made in advance. The little disks, made with semolina flour, were pleasantly chewy and the slightly cupped shape was ideal for holding Dora’s homemade ragu made with


and beef braciole which we ate after the pasta.

For our main course, Dora had prepared braised rabbit with tomatoes and potatoes, a Pugliese specialty.

The rabbit pieces were tender and moist and both they and the potatoes had absorbed the delicious flavors of the herbs and tomatoes.

With the meal we had two wines from the Marzovilla family’s Tuscan winery, which went very well with the food.

Massoferrato 2015 IGT made from 100% Sangiovese vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.

Massoferrato 2014 IGT  made from 100% Sangiovese from a selection of the best grapes and aged in custom made 20hl Slavonian casks.

Dessert was an assortment of Italian pastries, and of course, strong cups of espresso.

Dinner with Dora was a classic Italian-style family meal with lots of good food, wine and lively conversation. We were delighted to have shared it.

The Pasta Grannies video with Dora is not yet available on line, but we will let you know when it appears. Meanwhile, go to their website and enjoy some of the other great grannies in action.


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An Evening with Robert Mondavi Wines

Two Great Talents, One Unforgettable Night with Robert Mondavi Chief Winemaker Genevieve Janssens & award winning Chef Elise Kornack.

Genevieve Janssens and Elisa Kornack

Robert Mondavi opened his Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley in 1966 and changed the face of California wine forever.

Having attended previous Mondavi wine tastings organized by publicist Lisa Klinck-Shea, I was looking forward to this latest one, and the opportunity to meet the winemaker and the chef.

Reception: Carrot with Polenta and Sumac and Foie Gras with Preserved Vegetables.

Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc Riserve 2016 TO Kalon Vineyards Napa Valley. Made from a blend of 96% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% Semillon. The grapes were picked between August 5th and August 23rd. The wine has hints of white peaches, grapefruit and a hint of orange blossoms with a nice finish and aftertaste.

Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir Reserve 2015 Carneros, Napa Valley. Made from 100% Pinot grapes from selected blocks from Rancho Carneros (forty-year-old vines) and the Hyde Vineyards. The clusters were hand harvested and sorted. Portions of the grapes were destemmed. Fermentation took place mainly in small traditional open-ended fermentation tanks and the cap of skins was pushed down gently. Several days of cold soak prior to fermentation and extended maceration afterward added up to a total of 25 days skin contact. The wine went into 91% new French oak for malolactic fermentation and matured for 9 months. The wine has hints of red plum, cherry, a touch of vanilla and cinnamon and a fruity finish.

First Course: Celery, Turnip and Pear with Ginger, Almond and Sheep’s Milk Cheese.

Robert Mondavi Winery Chardonnay Reserve 2016, Carneros, Napa Valley. Made from 100% Chardonnay from the Hyde ranch. Grapes are hand harvested into one-half ton bins at daybreak, the clusters were gently pressed and slow cool native yeast fermentation took place in 100% Burgundian-style barrels. Seventy-seven were new French oak. As the wine underwent malolactic fermentation, each barrel was stirred twice a week, recirculating the yeast to gradually build in greater creaminess and further enhance the texture. When optimal balance of fruit and oak influence was reached, it was blended and transferred to neutral barrels with the lees to continue aging for a total of 12 months. The wine was bottled in October 2017. The wine has citrus flavors and aromas with hints of pear and apple with a touch of toasty oak and almonds in the finish.

Second Course: Beluga Lentils and Wild Mushrooms with Cranberry, Coffee and Truffles.

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Franc 2015, Oakville, Napa Valley Made from 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Grapes hand harvested into small bins and sorted in the gravity-flow cellar. The clusters were destemmed directly into traditional French oak tanks for cold soaking, fermentation and extended maceration for 32 days skin contact. The wine was drained, gently pressed into 100% new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The final blend was assembled after repeated tastings over 20 months of barrel tasting. The wine was bottled in August 2017. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of dark fruit, violets and licorice, nice minerality and a long finish.

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Oakville, Napa Valley. Made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Merlot. The wine was drained and gently pressed into 29% new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The final blend was assembled with tasting trials over 18 months of barrel aging. The wine was bottled in August 2016. The wine has hints of dark cassis, black cherry, and sage with a touch of vanilla.

Third Course: New York Strip: Rutabaga and a Sauce of Smoked Corn, Peppercorn and Mustard Seed

Robert Mondavi Winery “The Reserve” Cabernet Sauvignon To Kalon Vineyard, 2015 Oakville, Napa Valley. Made from 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4%, Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The grapes were hand harvested with 3 stages of strict sorting: on the vine, by individual cluster and then by single berry. There was a total of 37 days of skin contact. The wine was drained and gently pressed into 100% new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The final blend was assembled by repeated tastings over 20 months of barrel aging. The wine was bottled in August of 2017. The wine has hints of dried plums, cassis, black fruit, vanilla and a touch of tobacco.fullsizeoutput_2f2a.jpeg

Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2008, Napa Valley made from 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. The wine is blended from selected blocks from the To Kalon (highest beauty) as well as other vineyards within the Oakville Bench. Appellation 100% Oakville District, Napa Valley. Grape source 82% To Kalon Vineyard. Each vineyard block is hand harvested into small containers. The grapes are gently hand sorted and the clusters are destemmed directly into oak fermentation tanks using a gravity-flow method which eliminates the use of a must pump. After fermentation the wine goes through 40 days of maceration. To drain and press, the free run wine flows by gravity directly to the barrels and the pomace (skins and seeds) is conveyed to a basket press for a gentle extraction. Malolactic fermentation is in barrels. The wine is aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak. The wine was bottled in November of 2010. This is a well-structured wine with hints of blueberry, cherry and sage with hints of coffee and dark chocolate. The wine will age for many more years.

Dessert;  Apple and Fig Leaf with Seeds, Turmeric and Honey

Robert Mondavi Winery Moscato d’Ora 2017, Napa Valley made from 100% Moscato di Canelli. All the grapes were harvested from a single block on the Wappo Hill Vineyard in the heart of Napa Valley’s Stag’s Leap District. The grapes were picked between September 4th and September 14th. The hand-picked grapes were gently pressed as whole clusters, the juice was inoculated with a yeast strain selected to heighten the inherent floral character of the Moscato. The slow cool fermentation was stopped when the natural sweetness reached optimal balance with the acidity. The wine was bottled in February of 2018 to retain freshness and fruitiness. Residual sugar 76g/l and the alcohol is 8%. The wine has hints of nectarines, peaches, white blossoms and honey and is very refreshing on the palate.

It was an unforgettable night of wine and food




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Pizza at Sottocasa

I first met Luca Arrigini when he was with the master pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio at Kestè on Bleecker Street.

Luca opened Pizzeria Sottocasa in Brooklyn and Michele and I tried it several years ago. We really liked the pizza but somehow we did not have the opportunity to return.

Two weeks ago friends that live in Harlem said they have been ordering pizza from their local branch of Sottocasa and invited us to join them there. We were glad to go.

Luca is from Milan and now lives in Brooklyn where he normally works, but he told me he would meet me at the Harlem location when I came. His partner Matteo Prospiti and his wife Elena live in Harlem so they are typically at that location.

The Brooklyn Sottocasa is located at 298 Atlantic Ave (718) 852-8758. The Harlem branch is at 227 Lenox Ave (646) 928-2870. Both locations are on the ground floor of a brownstone, which is where the name comes from.

We started with gluten free focaccia because one in our party is on a gluten free diet. It crisp, tasty and very good.

Next we had a regular Margherita made with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. The crust was flavorful and well risen and a light dusting of semolina underneath gave it a subtle crunch. The toppings were good, too. The tomatoes were sweet and the mozzarella fresh tasting.

After that we tried the Napoli made with tomatoes, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano and basil which we also enjoyed.

Our friend ordered a gluten free Margherita, which was very good for gluten free.

The last pizza was a Laura, named after Luca’s wife. It was topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, mascarpone, speck and rosemary.

Luca said they make Neapolitan style pizza because he believes it is the best pizza of all.

The dough is made with Caputo 00 flour and rests in different stages for 48 hours, though it is usually never used before 60.

They use only Italian organic tomatoes for their sauce, freshly crashed and with just a little salt added. Fior di Latte mozzarella from Wisconsin is the cheese they use. They break the cheese by hand everyday to insure the right texture. The extra virgin olive oil is from Sicily, labeled directly for Sottocasa.

We also enjoyed the generous salads, which were lightly dressed and a good complement to the pizzas.

The wines 

Brunello di Montalcino 1990 from Livio Sassetti made from 100% Brunelllo. The wine was drinking very nicely, showing no signs of age and should last for a number of years.

Barbaresco 1971 from Produttori del Barbaresco made from 100% Nebbiolo. This has developed into a classic mature Barbaresco and is a pleasure to drink.

Both wines were a perfect complement to the pizza.

The cappuccino.

Matteo offered us two amaros and said because they were across from a school they did not have a liquor license and only could serve wine. The two Amaros were wine based.

The first was Pasubio Vino Amaro from G Cappelletti which was very nice but a bit too fruity.

The second, Cardamaro Bosca, was stronger and with more herb and spice flavors. We all really liked it.


Filed under Barbaresco, Brunello, Pizza, Pizza Restaurants, Produttori del Barbaresco, Sottocasa, Uncategorized

Grappa Brownies

By Michele Scicolone

For a spirited holiday season, I can’t think of a better dessert than these luscious brownies made with three of my favorite ingredients: chocolate, espresso coffee and grappa.

The chocolate takes two forms, unsweetened squares and semisweet chocolate chips and the coffee is dry instant espresso powder which deepens the chocolate flavor. But the grappa is the best part, adding a sophisticated warmth and richness which makes these brownies different from all the others. A clear, traditional style grappa is best for this recipe.

The brownies can be cut into small squares to add to a cookie tray, or into larger pieces to serve with ice cream, berries and hot chocolate sauce for a dessert. A splash of grappa on top is a nice final touch!

Makes about 16 to 32 brownies

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

2 large eggs

1/4 cup grappa

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

On a piece of wax paper, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.

Place the unsweetened chocolate squares in a small heatproof bowl or double boiler and set it over, not in, a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate has softened, stir until smooth.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer at medium high speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add both sugars and beat well. Then add the instant espresso powder, eggs, grappa and vanilla. Scrape the melted chocolate into the mixer bowl and beat until smooth and well blended. At low speed, stir in the dry ingredients. With a spatula, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake will still be very soft. Do not over bake.

Place the pan on a rack to cool. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container with wax paper between each layer.





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Tasting Port and Madeira

I have always enjoyed Port wine in its different forms as well as Madeira but until recently,  I have not had the opportunity to drink them.  Michele and I decided to go to Lisbon and I was looking forward to enjoying Port and Madeira there, but by coincidence, just before we left I attended a friend’s birthday dinner were they were served Then a few days after we returned, the Wine Media Guild held a tasting of Portuguese wine.

At a special dinner at Gramercy Tavern

D’ Oliveira Reserva Verdelho 1966 Madeira The grapes are harvested, crushed, pressed and then fermented in stainless steel or oak. With the Verdelho grapes the skins are removed to produce this dryer style of Madeira. The winemaking process involves heating the wine. Fermentation is stopped with brandy and the time of adding the brandy depends on the grape variety. Verdelho gets the brandy on the fourth day of fermentation. The wine is put into large wooden casks which stand in a heated room. The cellar master tries to keep the characteristic taste of the shipper when blending different wines together. The age given on the label indicates the youngest wine in the blend. Blended wine with the name of the grape on the label must contain at least 85% of this grape. The other 15% can be other varieties, usually Tinta Negra Mole.

Vintage Port 1963 Graham Declared by all major Port houses, 1963 was a monumental vintage against which others are now judged. This is a classic vintage port, which will still last for a number of years.

In Lisbon

Niepoort Vintage 1978 Vintage Port This was not a generally declared vintage but it was a year in which many Single Quinta Vintage Ports were produced. This was a great way to end a meal as the finish and aftertaste of the Port went on and on.

Quinta do Noval unfiltered single vineyard port 2012. Made exactly like a Vintage Port with only noble grapes from the Quinta. The grapes are crushed by foot and the wine is unfiltered. It is aged in casks for 4 or 5 years instead of the 2-year aging for Classic Vintage Port. The wine has nice flavors and aromas of black fruit and a touch of prune. It can be drunk now but will improve with age.

Dalav Colheita Port 1985 Port from a single year harvest. Instead of an indicator of age like blended tawny (10,20,30, 40…) the year is always on the label. It should not be mistaken for a Vintage Port because the Colheita must age for a minimum of seven years in oak casks. This is an elegant wine with a lot of aroma and flavor of dry fruit, spice, honey, nuts, cinnamon and a very pleasing finish and aftertaste. I really liked this wine and a brought back a few bottles. The wine does not develop significantly in the bottle.

Kopke 20 years Old Tawny Port matured in wood. Grapes are hand picked, destemmed and crushed and made into wine by a careful maceration to extract the color, tannins and aromas, enhanced by constant churning during fermentation. Fermentation takes place in vats (lagares) at a controlled temperature (29 to 30 C )until the right degree of sweetness (balumè) is achieved. Grape brandy is added to create the final fortified wine made by blending different vintage to achieve the typical characteristics of aged Tawny Port. The wine is then matured in casks.

Valriz Porto 20 years old Tawny Port made from Tinta Amarela, Tinta Roriz and Tounga Franca. Aged in large chestnut casks. The wine has hints dried fruits, almonds, hazelnuts and spice. We had the 10 year old and the 20 year old side by side.  The 20 year old was well worth the extra money.

Wine Media Guild tasting of Portuguese Winw

The speaker was David Ransom WMG member and co-host with his wife Melanie Young of the “Connected Table”

Quinta do Vallado 20 year Old Tawny This is a fortified wine made mainly from Touriga National, Touriga Franca and Tinto Cä from old vines plus 5 other indigenous grapes. The grapes are handpicked from the estate vineyards. Because port wines are intended to be sweet, fermentation is arrested half way through the process, before all the residual sugar has been fermented. Fermentation is halted through the addition of grape spirits, thus producing a fortified wine. The wine is aged in 600-liter old oak casks and other oak vats for years during which time the complex aromas and flavors can develop. It is a rich, nutty wine with aromas of dried fruit and a touch of smoke. The alcohol is 20%.

C.N. Kopke Porto Colheita 2007 (White Port) Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats where the grapes macerate and are churned with their skins on at temperature between 16 to 18 C. This produces a wine with color and structure that can sustain a prolonged aging in oak. The fermentation is halted by adding grape brand and thus creating a fortified wine. A Colheita wine matures in oak barrels for a period of time that can vary but never less than 7 years. It is bottled and sold according to the demands of the market. The wood aging is a perfect combination with the stone yellow fruit and the hints of citrus. There is mingling of the acidity and sweetness, which gives the wine an elegant and delicate finish. This was the first time I had a white Colheita Port and I will drink more.

Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellas 1986 Single- quinta (single vineyard) vintage port is produced only in exceptional years in which a general vintage is not declared. Quinta de Vargellas has the highest percentage of old vines of any quinta in the Duro, with 60% over 75 years old. All of the grapes undergo the traditional foot treading method. Fermentation is halted by the addition of grape spirits before all the sugar has been fermented producing a sweet fortified wine. The wine is aged for two years in wood and then bottled unfiltered and will continue to age in the bottle for years. This is a wine with black fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of prune. 1986 was not a generally declared vintage.

Broadbent Boal Madeira 10 year old made from a white grape. The alcohol is 19%. This wine is about $30 and it was so smooth and velvet-like that it was almost too much!











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Eating and Drinking in Lisbon

For a number of years Michele and I have been talking about going to Lisbon and this year we finally made the decision to go

We statyed at the Hotel Portugal and it was in a great location for walking and for transportation to restaurants and all the major attractions.

We asked friends do give us recommendations for restaurants and came away with a very long list.

Here are some of the places we really enjoyed:

The first night we went to restaurant Gambrinus, about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. This is an upscale restaurant with very good attentive service and it was a true dining experience.

Michele and I shared some fried calamari to start.

Then I had grilled lagoustines.

while Michele had the roasted hake baked with coriander seeds, garlic and olive oil.

For dessert, I had a typical cake called Toucinho do Ceu.

At the end of dinner I ordered a glass of 1978 Port , fantastic!

and then finished with coffee made in the restaurant’s unique style.

The next afternoon we went to The Wine Cellar for Port. The waiter, Ricardo, was very knowledgable and we had a long discussion about the different types of Port. Ricardo suggested a few and and I tried a glass of the 1985 Colheita. I liked this so much I bought two bottles to bring home.

Ricardo suggested an unfiltered  single vineyard vintage port 2012 for Michele. This was  the first time I had a single vineyard unfiltered port, it was very good but needed much more time to develop.

We also tried the 20 year old tawny. 

We had some excellent aged sheep’s milk cheese with the Port.  It was accompanied by quince jam.

The next afternoon we went to a restaurant Bica Do Sapato about 1 mile from the center along the water with a great view. It is partially owned by the actor John Malcovich. The service was friendly and the wine person was very knowledgeable.  

I started with fried Calamari, but it was done in a completely different style from the previous day.  It was accompanied by chopped tomato and onion salsa. 

Michele loved her starter: roasted figs with toasted sheep’s milk cheese on toast, drizzled with a fruit sauce.  

She followed this with had giant red shrimp.  They were tender and very tasty.

I had roasted cod on a bed of creamy beans cooked with peppers and bits of pork.

The wine person suggest this wine and it was perfect with the food.

For dessert I had almond cake with figs and cream cheese ice cream.

Michele had quindim, a coconut pudding with passion fruit ice cream.

At Sea Me restaurant we sat at the counter and spoke with the bar tender about wine, food and Lisbon.


We shared one Tiger shrimp and two giant red shrimp, so that we could compare them.  The tigers were a bit chewy, but both were excellent.

Then we had roasted octopus with roasted potatoes.  The whole dish was topped with a generous amount of garlic sauce.  

The wine was an excellent combination with the food.

We each had dessert.

I had ice cream.  There were 3 flavors:  ginger, hazelnut and ginginha, made with a sour cherry liqueur that the Portuguese are very fond of.

and Michele had nut cake with ginger ice cream and almond crumble.

On the afternoon before we left we went to Cantinho do Avillez, one of several restaurants owned by the chef Jose Avillez.

We had 3 starters.

Tempura fried green beans, came with two sauces for dipping.

Little pheasant pies.

Melted sheep’s cheese with honey, and rosemary, topped with presunto ham.

We both ordered the giant red shrimp which was served in a Thai sauce with rice.  Once again, they were great.

We had the Pluma Reserva which had more body than the other whites we tasted.  It was a good match with the shrimp.

For dessert, I had the restaurant’s signature dessert,  A salty hazelnut mousse.


We really enjoyed exploring Lisbon and look forward to returning once more.







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