Mourão and Monsaraz
Delicious Postcard Materials
It’s like watching a movie and nothing matters but the movie. No interruption will be entertained. The loyal attention is present, alert yet dreamy. Highly anticipating what’s next but afraid we reach the end too soon. That’s how I associate our Alentejo road trip as we drove past Broccoli-like trees through the hot dusty air on the never-ending road all to ourselves.
Don’t be fooled by the desertedness. If you travel with É or me, you will be fed like a pig. We are the kind of globe-trotters who would go miles just to hunt down a good restaurant – something I noticed both our families do too. I see it as a blessing that we both enjoy making food an important part of our trips – just imagining how miserable I would be if my traveling partner was the kind who wants to settle for gas station grubs make me cringe.
From Évora we drove about a kilometer southeast, making our first calescent Alentejo stop at Mourão. What we did here exactly was eat and well, eat. Think rustic Alentejo cuisine homecooked using locally sourced ingredients served in traditional earthenwares. Which brings me to my first highlight:
Restaurante Adega Vieha
Who would have known that in a sleepy town like Mourão, hides an amazing restaurant which used to be an old wine cellar? É asked for a table and the reply he received was “This group of 10 fucked me up” – end of the conversation. So we waited patiently but desperately with a whole lot of people, lingering with a Superbock in hand at the roomy entrance.
After what felt like an hour, our fatigues were refreshed by a one of a kind COLD red wine and our famish slowly diminished as we devoured what we saw along the way e.g. the farm animals and the water that fed the farm animals.
Anything you order here is mostly a safe bet. We LOVED the chickpea stew where mint is used, a reminisce of Arab influence and house specialty partridge served with homemade fries. 10/10!
Restaurante Adega Velha
Address : R. Joaquim Silvestre de Vasconcelos Rosado 9, Mourão, Portugal
Phone : +351 266 586 443
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 6 – 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., closed on Mondays
After all that feast, I found my food-coma self at a castle which I wouldn’t be able to climb up if not for the wine so generously served at lunch. The steps are crumbly and battered, like the base of a New York Cheesecake. Nonetheless, I made it to the top and hid in a corner, taking scenic/panoramic photos from where I stood.
Back on the road is where I learned that one can find quite a few towns stopped-in-time in Portugal. We passed by a dead town ala Pompeii, great for photoshoot purposes I suppose, and a little town called lamb’s head.
The town we chose to explore welcomed us with happy andorinhas fluttering playfully against the wind.
It was a lovely town with white-washed brick walls, dressed in blossoming bougainvilleas.
Here’s a little secret I don’t mind sharing – É felt sick after too much food during lunch so we waived the plan to explore further on foot. But it didn’t matter because we had 2 more weeks to go and a town made of marble waiting patiently for our arrival.