Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Taste of the Azores

We ventured into East Providence in search of the Azores.

This O Dinis wall reminded me of Texas

The potatoes were creamy beyond belief
O Dinis restaurant is Portuguese fare touched with the spiciness of the islands. Well, that's what our firecracker of a waitress said when she heard us wondering about the difference between the food of the Azores and Portugal.

She helped us sort through the lunch menu, suggesting the daily specials as being absolutely fresh. I thought the tripe soup interesting but decided instead on the fish of the day: fresh cod. I've been sampling cod at several restaurants recently and wanted to see how they did it. The cod was OK and it came with a side of boiled potatoes, which were a delightful surprise. I was thinking they would be like New England boiled dinner, bland and white. Instead they were creamy and formed a tasty base for the fresh onion sauce recommended by our server. 

Prawns in shrimp sauce
Anita tried the prawns, since she knows she likes shrimp. She discovered this on a fall cruise through the low country when I got into casting for shrimp. At every opportunity I would head off in the dinghy to twirl my net in the hope that it would be a pancake rather than a lump. 

I saw lots of boys aged five or six who could make that odd contraption of mesh and lead weights float out onto the air to form a perfect disk that landed on the water, just so. They clasped one of the weights between their teeth, gathered the bulk of the net in one hand, and gave it a twirl with the other. How hard could it be? 

Harder than it looks, for sure. I think having a big gap where two front teeth were growing in must have been the secret. After lots of practice that included stepping backward off the dinghy a couple of times I could occasionally rake in enough shrimp to return with a partial bucket, which we would immediately devour. 

Then one day as I eyed my net, we both said enough. Fresh shrimp had become too much of a good thing. We found the prawns most tasty, given the passage of lots of time since my last cast.

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