Meta dos Leitões and Pedro dos Leitões: Mealhada, Portugal: suckling pig


Thankfully, Portugal is a small country (smaller than Pennsylvania and a only wee bit bigger than Maine!), so getting from the largest city to the second largest city doesn't take more than a few hours.

We shipped out of Lisbon mid-morning. Destination: Porto. And as usual, we didn't have a plan beyond that.

Finding an interesting place to eat wasn't going to be a problem. This we knew for sure. Finding such an outstanding meal in such an interesting town, well, that was a bit surprising.

During the journey, the missus was poking around the internet, trying to find some food about midway between Lisbon and Porto. The stars aligned that morning, and we discovered an article on the town of Mealhada. What is so special about Mealhada? Suckling pig is what's so special about Mealhada. And lots of it. Stopping for lunch in a town in the middle of nowhere for a local delicacy? We couldn't have designed this morning any better.

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Meste Ze: Cascais, Portugal

Dining room at Pestana Palace, not Meste Zé

Those who ask "why did you go to Portugal" far outnumber those who don't. Which is odd to me, because our thought was "why not go to Portugal."

A while back, during a lazy lunch at Dylan Prime in Tribeca, we decided it was time for a vacation, pronto. Portugal as a destination came up, for no particular reason, and we did some quick research on the iPad. Within minutes of getting home we were booking the flights. In 6 quick weeks we landed in the fabulous city of Lisbon, pretty much having no idea what to expect, and certainly in a foreign land with strange food, not to mention a somewhat baffling language (tip: forget the very little Spanish that you think you know. Italian and French won't help, either).  Hell I couldn't even figure out how to open the trunk on the rental car. But off we went, around a roundabout twice, with reckless abandon, to the stunning Pestana Palace for a night or two. A hotel that lives up to its name.

Lisbon is fabulous, but I'm here to tell you about restaurant Meste Zé, in Cascais, which is about a 30 minute drive due west of Lisbon. With cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, this old fishing village happens to be one of the westernmost points in mainland Europe (the westernmost being just north in Cabo da Roco, Portugal).

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