As Nossas Ilhas, traditional meal

This past Sunday night was like a Saturday night because Ryan was off on Monday and I had work in the afternoon.  With our extra weekend night, we headed to Angra.  Our original plan was to go to this restaurant just above the beach area.  We had never eaten there before but we did stop in once to get a look.  

The problem with Angra is that it can easily turn into a maze.  I can't even imagine how old some of these cobblestones streets are and then they are one way streets and on hills.  Plus, they are super narrow.    The last time we went to Angra we tried to find a new way to get around and be headed in the right direction for the parking.  I try to avoid as many illegal left turns as possible, but the main driving road in Angra makes this very hard to do.  Well, in an effort to not break the law, we have resorted to driving around and trying to come back down the road so we can make right turns.  It is not that easy, I swear!

So on Sunday night, we made the decision to go straight at this one road where the last time we turned left in order to park on this hill where we had parked once before, and we know this is a decent place to park.  Straight is was!  Wow, how the heck had we never been down this road.  Not one, but two new (to us) restaurants for us to try out.  After scoping out the menus, we selected As Nossas Ilhas, which means Our Islands.
One of the reasons we picked this over the other was the English menu printed and hung by their window.  We knew right away we could navigate the menu.  The second reason was the name sounded familiar because it was on our list of restaurants that were participating in something similar to restaurant week back in the States.  They had a sign on their door denoting they won an award during that time for their food.

First up we had some bread.  This was slightly different from the usual bread we eat, and it was very good.
Fresh goat cheese and butter.  Isn't it nice when even the butter is local.
Olives, which were really good.
This is a pepper sauce.  Usually this is eaten with the cheese and bread.
We ordered a bottle of wine.  The server spoke limited English and we have had this wine before, so it was an easy choice.  It is local to the Azores, but from a different island.
One thing that was neat about this place was the proximity to the major market in Angra.  Their menu boasts all fresh foods because they are next to the market.  At this point the little light bulb came on and I realized that this area below was the market.  Ryan and I were just talking about the market and how we have yet to find it.  Ok, now it's found!  Since it was Sunday evening, nothing was open, but I could see into the fish market below.  I could also tell that they had various things around this market and I look forward to going back when they are open.  It is hard to tell in this picture, but this is looking out to the market area.
Then our dinner arrived.  A typical Azorean dish is the clay tile prepared fish.  I think it comes in meat too, but we have always ordered it with fish, for obvious reasons.  This was a little different because it was in a cream sauce.  The cook this whole clay tile and then it stays warm so the food stays warm too.  It is usually sold as a dish for 2 people.  It was also interesting to see the handles.  The covered them with dough and then it baked into bread.  The potatoes were served in a dish below.
This dish had 3 different fish inside.  Ryan and I must eat a lot of fish and go out in the ocean often because we were able to identify 2 out of the 3.  We could tell the boca negra by the red scales (some scales did remain) and then the cherne (AKA wreckfish) because this is a meatier fish, not a flaky fish.  After the meal we asked the server which fish these were and we were right about those 2.  As for the third, we did not recognize the name, so I still have no idea.  At least they were good.
The meal ended with a coffee.  I was pleased to see they served Nicola, which is my favorite brand of coffee on the island.
This was adorable.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that some restaurants bring the check in a box.  Here the box had a tile on the top with a map of the Azores, hence the name Our Islands.
When we finished, it was still light out despite being after 8 pm.  This picture I actually took on the way in, so it looks a little lighter, but you will see in the other pictures how light it was after 8.  It may have even been closer to 9.  I took this picture because I thought it was crazy looking.
After dinner we took a walk around the neighborhood.  We spotted a spirit house at the top of this hill and since Monday was a Portuguese holiday, there was something going on here.  They set off these fire crackers and have get togethers at these spirit houses during this time of year.  I know it is religious in nature, but I am not sure exactly what is going on.  I have tons of pictures of these and I plan to do a whole post on them sometime soon.  They look like mini-churches, but I believe the were Pagan when they were built.
Then we found a church.  I like how it was clearly marked.
Then we turned the corner and started to head back down the hill to our car.  I loved this view.  You can see Angra off in the distance, and then the ocean.
I zoomed in some to see the backside of my favorite church.
As we got closer to the car, we spotted another, more quiet, spirit house.
Oh, before I forget, one more thing.  I am getting ready to celebrate the big 3-0 in just over 2 weeks.  My mom and step dad are coming to visit me and then we are going to mainland Europe (more details to come).  The sad news is that Ryan can't get off from work to go with us, but I hope to travel with him later this summer.  I plan on posting while I am away, but I do not think I will be able to do this every day.  Technically, I am still working while we are gone.  I teach online, so I will have papers to grade and other work.  So, I would like to ask if anyone is interested in guest posting on my blog while I am gone during the second part of June.  Please email me if you are interested.

QUESTIONS:  Any travel plans this summer?  How did you celebrate your birthday this year?  Any great gift ideas I should think of to ask for when I get asked "what do you want for your birthday"?


Shannon said...

What an amazing place to live..not only is it beautiful, but there is so much fresh seafood!

Sounds like a great birthday you have planned! So glad your parents can spend it with you :)

No big travel plans for me this summer. We are moving into our new house in July and settling in, and then I will be in my 3rd trimester and not really wanting to travel. I'll live vicariously through you :)

Simply Life said...

oh my gosh, I love how fresh everything is! what a great time!

Beth said...

Ooh so where are you going?

I'm going to Denver in a week for work, and then my Dad and I will be staying for a few days near Vail. Then in August we're going to a beach house in Maine for a week!

Anonymous said...

That goat cheese always kills me - I could eat the whole thing by myself!

I am only going to Hilton Head, SC for a long weekend in June - just by myself, for a family reunion/80th birthday party for my great Aunt and god mother.

Other than that - not much - just lots of grilling in our back yard!

Have a great weekend - can't wait to hear about your 30th and travel!

Ameena said...

I love how your meals look so fresh! Goat cheese is one of my favorite things ever.

Happy early birthday to you! How I wish I was in my early 30s instead of nearing my mid-30s!!

Your guest post was great. :)

Mari said...

Oh I am turning 30 this summer too! I asked for a new camera ha

I WISH I was going away for the summer but that is not feasable right now =/. I have not been on a vacay in FOREVER! sad panda

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