November 21, 2011

Lisbon. November, 2010

Duas bicas, por favor. My Portuguese is not all that great, but it’s good enough to order us two rocket-fuel espressos and a pastel de nata at the wonderful Confeitaria Nacional on Lisbon’s Praça da Figueira. We have this theory: The further south you go, the stronger the coffee and the smaller the amount. (The strongest-smallest I’ve ever encountered was in a small cafe on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Enna, Sicily: it appeared to have been dispensed from an eyedropper and had the consistency of maple syrup. Terrific.) It seems the Nacional subscribes to this theory, too, serving us a bica that consisted of a scant tablespoon of very powerful stuff. Not a problem. Especially when Jay and I split the first emblematic custard tart of our visit. The first of many, needless to say, sampled at a wide range of pastelarias across the city. (We even bought some warm pre-packaged ones in a downtown supermarket to bring home with us. Not the best, naturally, but they still somehow disappeared within hours of our Boston return.)

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