Before the school year ended, one of the teachers organized a large group of us to attend a traditional dinner at a restaurant on the other side of the island. I was excited because I write a local blog for the island and I wanted to get a chance to eat at this restaurant. I was also very excited because there were about 30 of us going and it was nice to be able to spend time with many of my friends from work and their families.
The drive there was amazing in itself.
I had no idea that 3 of the island in the middle group of the Azores could be seen so clearly at that time of day. I have only ever been able to see Sao Jorge and Pico in the distance, but this was the first time I could see Graciosa. Not just could I see the island, but I could REALLY see the island. The shape was so clear. It was a beautiful view. It is hard to see in the pictures, but if you look closely you can see the island in the distance.
The name of the restaurant is Ti Choa and it is family run.
Since we were a large group, the food was the same for everyone and they just kept bringing out dish after dish. Knowing it would all be meat, I had requested fish in advance, and that was a good thing because they only had meat for the entrees. That was OK because I had expected nothing less.
The starters were great too. We had cheese and jam, along with bread. The bread was fresh baked and kept up in the front of the place, warm and under towels.
They brought us sardines, which many people joked about but still tried. It is hard to just eat the whole fish.
These were some veggies, like onions and peppers.
Two different kinds of sausage. They are very into their sausages here.
Dinner consisted of the meat alcatra, which is a specialty of the island. It is very fatty, very juicy meat cooked in the oven in a clay pot, which also bears the name alcatra (pot).
Along with this came some beans.
This was pork, or so we thought, and there was also liver in this dish.
Ribs were brought out too. Like I said, the meat courses just kept coming. Lots and lots of plates of each to feed everyone in the party.
The starches included rice and french fries.
I was served the abrotea, which is known in English as forkbeard. I get this often, and I will say that it was pretty good at this place.
Some but not all of us ordered dessert. For the most part everyone was stuffed.
After the meal, I went around looking at the decor, admiring the old pictures and traditions demonstrated in this place. Pictured below is a fountain near their bathroom and then the bar.
Towards the end of our stay the local part really picked up. The music was playing and there was singing. I was told that ordinarily the locals all get up and dance, but with the large party we had it wasn't really possible. The locals that were present did take part in singing too. Everyone was having a great time.
Even more so once we were given this homemade blackberry liquor. As a gift to us and our party (and passing along the word for others to visit), the gracious hosts gave this to me to share with our group. They just kept bringing all the shot glasses they had in the place.
After a fantastic meal and good time with friends, we went outside just as the sun was setting and got in one more final view of the beautiful west side of the island.
I will miss these traditions once we have left the island but I am thankful for the memories we have made while stationed here.
QUESTIONS: Ever attend a traditional dinner (any religion or culture)? What is a traditional meal for your family?