Thursday, January 10, 2013

OK! Fine! I’ll write about food.

My Aussie husband thinks I may be a little too obsessed with fireworks and has gently suggested that I pick another topic to write about.  By this, he means pick something he is interested in.  And so, we turn to food.   Specifically, swanky food we ate in Madeira.  When we travel, we are usually drawn to the smaller, local, family-owned places to eat because the food is usually decent and it is a good value.  Plus, we like to think we are helping to support the local economy directly.  On this trip to Madeira we were going to be there on Christmas so my Aussie husband thought we should find someplace special (and open) for our Christmas Day dining.  We had several options surprisingly, and decided to go for lunch at The Vine, rather than the 150 Euro feed at Reids Palace because that would have required fancy clothes.  We were on vacation!  We were not going to pack fancy clothes for one meal.  The restaurant at The Vine hotel turned out to be a fine choice as the view was lovely, the presentation impressive, and the food very tasty.  They had 3 courses with a choice for the appetizer and the main and what was described as a “Christmas trunk” for dessert.  I think they may have meant “log” instead of “trunk”, but it was very chocolaty and Christmas-y anyway.  I forgot to take a picture of it, but I did take pictures of the “venison and chicken pate’ in crust and duck foie gras” appetizer and the “roasted Alentejo black pork loin” main.  (I need to mention that anytime pork is on the menu, that is what my Aussie husband will order.)  
venison and chicken pate’
Pork 2 ways

Most of the rest of our meals in Funchal were of the tasty, homey, platter-o-food variety which was fine by us.  Except for this one.  It was our last day on the island, and we were struggling to find a place to have lunch as it was also New Years Day.   We wandered down a side street that we had previously avoided (because it looked “touristy”) and were relieved to find a place open.   I was intrigued when I saw an item on the menu that was roughly translated as “oven roasted banana in bacon” and had to order it.  It was incredibly delicious, and beautifully presented.  I didn’t care if this was a tourist place or not – I was in love!  It was a little sweet, a little salty, and the diced onion and red capsicum added a perfect bright note.  The reduction on the side tied it all together.  I think it might have been a Madeira wine reduction rather than a balsamic one, but no one in the restaurant could answer my question that day.  I am going to try to duplicate it at home.  Soon!

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