For lunch today João took a few people from the department to Restaurante Arafate. A traditional Portuguese restaurant so named because the owner is a dead-ringer for Yasar Arafat - the added "e" in the name being a Portuguese modification of the spelling.
I know Peggy will feel jealous for missing this one. I ordered the "yellow beans with beef feet" - think pig trotters but from cows. Missing in the translation was that tripe (cow stomach) was really the main protein ingredient in this dish. The whole trotter is there mostly for flavoring the broth, but some portions of that meat are also cut up into edible pieces.
It was really good. This was my first trip down "tripe avenue" but I liked it and would order something like this again. It is very tender, almost like pork belly, but not so obviously fatty. This is a traditional dish from the Minho region, but tripe is also a specialty of Oporto.
The wine - yes, wine with lunch! - was vinho verde tinto. This red green-wine is served in jugs drawn from big tanks that we passed on the way in. One drinks this wine from bowls - as you can see in the photo. My hosts explained that the red vinho verde is sometimes a bit harsh since it is "green" and thus not aged. But because of the popularity of white vinho verde winemakers are working to make the red variety more palatable to a wider audience. I thought that the one we had was quite good. These wines don't have lots of deep subtle characteristics but are very drinkable - even out of a bowl.
The owner of this place is a bit of a practical joker. When they offer you the special house dessert you get not a flan or something sweet, but a bowl of kale soup... After the tripe, yellow beans and that I'm ready for a nap.