Portugal: “You’re not gonna wear that, are you?” My buddy just stepped out of the cab onto Dundas Street in Portugal Village wearing a Germany football jersey. Portugal plays Germany in the World Cup next week. Shaking my head we climb the stairs to the Lisbon by Night restaurant.
Jose our waiter pretends not to notice the jersey as he recommends the seafood rodizio – an all-you-can-eat succession of fish dishes. The sea is boundless, but our stomachs not so much, as we worked our way through cod, salmon, shrimp and other varieties. It’s good but ultimately too much. Meanwhile, the banquet hall fills with guests from two confirmation celebrations – one kid in a suit and bow tie posing for pictures with his cross-shaped cake. The surprise delicious kicker at the end is roast pineapple, flavoured with cinnamon – tudo de bom!
Korea: Nothing says “authentic Korean” like shrieking 80’s hair metal rock. So we ordered our bibim bap and bulgogi to the agonizing strains of “Unskinny bop” by Poison. I lived near Korea town in university and that’s where I had my first taste of spicy kimchi (a fermented cabbage). Fittingly, my dinner companion was a friend from that era. Over our stone bowls of rice, grilled beef, egg, and vegetables, spicy side dishes and Korean beer, we compare notes on being double our age, pet care, family vacations, hangover remedies, and pole dancing (her venture not mine).