Truffle and I are two sisters out of four. Truffle and I have written about sister number 4, Rice Krispie, but have yet to mention sister Premier, Chilli Padi. The reason is that I had been waiting to visit her in Portugal, which I recently did.
Chilli Padi and I are only three years apart. We grew up together as a pair and Truffle and Rice Krispie, much younger than us were the other pair. Chilli and I fought and argued like typical sisters, but she took care of me too. She always looked out for me at school, took me to her friends' birthday parties and she was my go-to person for homework. There was no way I could compete with her and I knew early on not to bother. She was stronger, smarter, and more outgoing. Teachers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins were all very impressed with her and always commented on how intelligent she was as a child. My fifth grade Chinese teacher once said to me, "Your sister is so smart! Her Mandarin is so good! What happened to you?" Mind you, I did have a couple of things going for me too. I was the cute one. I had chubby cheeks and a mean pout. I'd also like to think that I had an artistic flair - I was good at drawing, I was pretty good at school plays, and could always make Chilli laugh.
We also had very different tastes. She liked chocolate ice-cream, I liked strawberry. She liked savory, I liked sweet. She liked meat, I liked fruit. We might have been different then, but not anymore. I loved all the food at her hotel and resort in Portugal.
Err, yes, you read correctly. My sister continued on that stellar path and she and her husband, Mr. Dessert, have developed, built and now run Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel. Not only that, they managed to pop out four lovely children while building a business. We visited them recently for Spring Break and had the best family holiday ever! The hotel and resort is gorgeous! The architecture and design is modern-contemporary and just stunning. The place is filled with great art and the spa is top notch. The most memorable for yours truly? The cuisine at Martinhal.
Here are just a few highlights:
As Dunas restaurant (The Sand Dunes). Their more casual restaurant by the beach with the best seafood in the region. Portugal is known for fresh seafood served grilled with a side of potatoes and salad/vegetables.
Seafood lunch platter. You can't have this combo unless you sister runs the place!
Garlic shrimp! Yum. You have to peel them with your hands which means you get extra flavor on your fingers.
Grilled fish, Portuguese style, but taken a few levels up Martinhal-style.
Clams with garlic and cilantro/coriander. Would you believe my American kids loved this dish!
Portuguese coffee to wash it down.
O Terraco (The Terrace) restaurant where breakfast and dinner are served.
Breakfast. A picture tells a thousand words...
Porto Branco. Pre-dinner drink in lounge.
I have more pictures but not enough time. Chilli and Mr. Dessert were kind enough to invite us to a food tasting for As Dunas restaurant. So, much more in my next post!
Chilli Padi and Mr Dessert, congratulations on Martinhal. We are very proud of you. Chilli Padi, I expected and will continue to expect nothing less from you. Love you!