We'd gotten into the habit of taking a break and having a snack and some espresso when we were feeling a bit confused or tired. We ended up calling this the "Lisbon Rule" and it was time for that rule to come into play. So we headed down the hill from the Roman Temple, thru Rua de Vasco da Gama.....
We stopped to admire #15 Rua de Vasco da Gama......why? Well, according to what we read, Vasco da Gama lived here after returning from his first voyage to India. So.....Vasco da Gama really "slept here"...
A short while later, we were on Praça do Giraldo, for all intents and purposes, Evora's main square. This is where you'll find the older men chatting, talking politics, young people hanging out, drinking coffee, tourists mingling among them.
The square is named after Giraldo (Gerald) the Fearless, who drove the Moors out of Evora in 1165. It is a nice open area with the Church of Santo Antao and a rather quaint fountain from the 16th century. All this sunny brightness belies the supposed 22,000 condemnations that occurred here during the Inquisition or that John II sanctioned, then watched his cousin Fernando II's decapitation here in 1483. No, nowadays it's a whole lotta sunshine...and snacks....
At Cafe Arcada......
We decided on sitting at one of the outside tables to people watch....
Praca do Giraldo 10
It was easy picking out the locals from the tourists, from the students.....probably just as easy to picking us out....
We noticed an interesting "gap" of sorts....there were many young people in their late teens and early twenties and an equal amount of folks older than 50. We figured that the university brought the young people here, but most all leave after their education, as does most of the young people.
Feeling refreshed, we headed west and outside the walls of the town for the first time...well not including the taxi from the train station.
We headed West and found a nice walking path around the perimeter of the walls of the town. Outside the walls, Evora seemed a different town...more modern, more traffic. Really, what should we have expected?
It was a bright sunny afternoon and we were enjoying ourselves.
As we turned the around the Southwest corner, we noticed a playground for children and also that the area on the inside of the city walls seemed to be level with the top of the structure.
Working our way back through into the town vis Rua da Republica we found ourselves in the Jardim Publico......the Public Garden. It was a nice place for a break, plus there was free WiFi in the gardens.
I noticed this bust of Flobela Espanca, poet, feminist, and all around tragic figure. I'm not sure why it's here.
After a nice rest we headed back to our little sanctuary called the Albergaria do Calvario. Did you notice that we didn't have lunch? Well there was a reason for that. After a short rest, we headed back out. In just our two evenings here, we noticed something interesting about life within the town walls. Most businesses closed at 7pm. At 730, the restaurants started opening. The rather busy streets are sedate and quiet at 715....
Perhaps it was too late for the older locals, all of the day-trippers are gone, and too early for the students, which were probably fortifying themselves with the Portuguese equivalent of instant ramen for a late night of partying....which probably didn't happen within the city walls anyway.
We walked on over to the old Moorish Quarter where Botequim da Mouraria is located. I had been looking forward to eating here from the time we finalized plans for our trip. The folks at Albergaria do Calvario were nice enough to get us reservations here.
No, this isn't some Michelin wannabe, though it only had ten or so tables.
There isn't a menu per se....you trust Zé Dias. This is just Evora's version of Omakase..... There's basically one sitting per evening. The meal is 25 Euros per person. You will have reservations. You eat what they serve you. You are not vegetarian. You love pork and rustic, local food. If you can answer "yes" to all of the above, you'll enjoy yourself.
Quarta-Feira serves a fixed menu, whatever they deem to be in the mood for on that day. It's a family run operation. The front man has his caricature on the bottle of wine they serve, Zé Dias. He was quick to gesture to us......not much english spoken here, by patting his belly that this is/was perhaps a flattering profile of the man.
You be the judge. The wine itself was not bad...it lent itself to the food we were served. It is also included in the meal and when Zé Dias noticed we had finished our bottle...the Missus really enjoyed this bottle, he brought us another, all included in the price.
It's imperative that you have reservations here. Four groups of folks came in during our meal, all were turned away because the one sitting they had was booked. Second big thing I noticed, it's probably a good idea to get there early. Some items are prepped ahead and you won't get the full enjoyment of the dish if you get there later. Look, there are those of us who believe that the customer (usually "I") is the "center of the universe", but sorry Charlie, this is a small operation......this is nothing like the "typical Roman service" of "you are blessed to eat here" that we encountered in Rome. By the way, those are quotes from a resident of Rome.
Things started out with bread....of course. And some Porco Preto. I've mentioned the Black Iberican Pig
before. So it's an obvious starting point for a meal in the Alentejo.
And some nice oven baked cheese......
Along with this, we got some very tasty mushrooms with chives and olive oil. I'm thinking there was some garlic as well as these were packed with flavor.
At about this time a group of three gentlemen sat down on a table next to us. Two of them were locals with a visiting professor from the University. We'd find that a seal of approval during our trip would be the phrase "very typico, very typico" to indicate local cuisine and specialties from the residents. This was where they took folks to sample local cuisine....like I'd take folks to Ono Hawaiian Foods......
We were brought two small dishes. The fried item was intestine....which was totally delici-yoso. It was so amazingly savory, yet very clean in flavor. The roasted peppers were fine, but I was infatuated with the guts... I would have been happy with a plate of that.
The main course was roasted Black Pork.
Anyway, this was local stewed pork shoulder. Having had so many doses of the "other white meat" this was amazing. I just loved the fact that pork in Portugal tasted....well....like pork! This was simply stewed, the flavor of swine coming through......pigs fed on acorns and pasture raised, this is the standard here. You don't need to mess around with it.
The pork was moist, tender, full of flavor, and not very oily.
What was really funny is that we don't recall the flavor of one...which is to the right, and still think of the other, a version of esparregado, a spinach dip of sorts, as memorable, full of herbaceous flavor.
Dessert was served.......
And a bottle of Vinho Licoroso was placed on our table. A Digestif called Vinho Licoroso. we were specifically told, in one of the few English phrases of the night "no Porto....no Porto". But this really tasted like a nice port.
This was a nice way to end our time in Evora....in fact, the Missus was kind of angry that I didn't schedule more time for us here....but how was I to know?
I'm thinking we'll be back.....
Taberna Tipica Quarrta-Feira
Rua do Inverno 18
Here's a panoramic photo of Evora from Largo da Porta de Mouro.