The cornershop of yummy

Ever since coming back home from Sweden, we’ve been getting reacquainted with Lisboa, meandering familiar old streets renewed with brand new establishments based on more or less innovative business ideas and hip cafés catering for the busy young creative class of the emerging design districts – seems like every corner of Lisboa aims to be one nowadays.

Desde o regresso da Suécia que nos temos estado a familiarizar de novo com Lisboa, percorrendo as antigas ruas refrescadas com novos establecimentos, baseados em ideias de negócio mais ou menos inovadoras e cafés da moda ao serviço da frenética classe de jovens criativos, os ocupantes dos bairros criativos emergentes – e parece que qualquer cantinho de Lisboa ambiciona sê-lo hoje em dia.

Lisboa, Portugal, Bairro Alto, pastry, food, football, Benfica, Estoril, Marchas Populares

It feels very reassuring, however, that some of our favorite spots are still just the way we remembered them. One such place is the São Roque bakery, right in the corner of Rua da Rosa and Rua D. Pedro V. This old cornershop bakes and sells the puffy, greasy, buttery delights of Portuguese pastry that will make you climb the steep streets right to the very top of the 17th century district of Bairro Alto. All this in a heavily decorated Art Noveau atmosphere of columns, tiles, cherubs and floral elements, straight from the early 20th century to your tummy!

É muito tranquilizador, porém, que alguns dos nossos sítios favoritos ainda estejam da forma que os recordavamos. Um deses sítios é a Padaria de S. Roque na esquida na Rua da Rosa e da Rua D. Pedro V. Esta antiga loja de esquina tem pão e pastelaria de fabrico próprio e é fofa, gordurosa e manteigueira o suficiente para nos fazer subir o Bairro Alto inteiro até ao topo. Tudo isto num ambiente Arte Nova amplamente decorado com colunas, azulejos, querubins  e elementos florais, directamente do princípio do século para o seu estômago!

The staff seems to be family, and all are grassroots Lisboa-dwellers, as attested by one girl that proudly claimed to have been part of the teams of two different parishes in the Marchas Populares of the Lisboa’s festivities of June. All the while, on the wall-mounted TV-set, local team Benfica utterly crushed Estoril in a championship match, by six goals. From behind the counter, the staff prayed for the seventh, but it never came.

O pessoal parece ser todo familia, primas, tias e sobrinhas umas das outras, e são todas típicas lisboetas, como confirmado por uma das raparigas que afirmava de peito feito que fez parte de duas equipas nas Marchas Populares de Lisboa. Entretanto, no televisor montado na parede, o Benfica esmagava o Estoril no campeonato nacional por seis bolas a zero. Detrás do balcão ansiava-se pelo sétimo, que não chegou a aparecer.

Trunk flea market

There was a flea market a couple of weeks ago in a parking lot in Benfica. An unusual kind of flea market. A trunk market (Feira da Bagageira), to be more accurate. If you were registered, all you had to do was stuff your trunk with junk, park the car in a space and sell your junk. Of course, not all trunks were full of junk. Some of the vendors were noticeably professionals and antique traders. Their level of organization and point-of-sale design were top notch – with all the grandmother clocks, the vintage cast iron kitchenware and the old envelopes, postcards and stamps from people long gone.

Lisboa, Portugal, Benfica, market, book, comics, Corto Maltese, Koinsky, Polish cavalry, Long Range Desert Rifles, antiques

Amidst the organized chaos there was still space for a cookie sale and some yoga and martial arts workshops. I just came for the sketches, but I left with a couple of old friends I met there: Lieutenant Koinsky of the Polish Cavalry and the Long Range Desert Group, and sea captain and adventurer Corto Maltese. Two books I had never read before from them made my day.

Adventures in technicolor

It’s been a month now since Marina Grechanik’s workshop in Lisboa and it’s still kicking in. I’ve been experimenting a lot with ecolines, waterwashes as sketching base, big contrasts and form simplification. There’s actually not much story about these two spreads. Just a bunch of people I don’t know from the subway, the tram and the street.

people, portraits

And a bunch of people I do know, in a bar. In a mixture of techniques very unlike me. Oh, and a couple dancing lindy hop. Or jitterbug. I keep forgetting which.

dance, lindy hop, jitterbug, portrait, people

Have a colorful weekend everyone!


Lagos by night

The BA sessions

During the winter, Lagos is but a small town in southern Portugal. When not working, the locals indulge in simple pleasures like hanging out with family and friends, usually at bars, coffee shops and terraces if the weather allows. In the summer the small town gets invaded with tens of thousands of tourists that feed the local economy for another year and turns into a bustling seaside resort. Local businesses go about like squirrels, stockpiling for the winter, making hay while the sun shines. The town fills up with new bars and restaurants that cater almost exclusively for tourists.

The BA sessions

But the diaspora of locals that come to spend holidays at home seek out the simple (often secret) pleasures that are there all-year round. B.A. is a haven in that sense. A step outside of the beaten track, this tiny tavern offers affordable booze, a nice outside patio and friendly familiar faces.

The Esquina do Fado sessions

Recently opened Esquina do Fado was a pleasant surprise. A wine bar-slash-preserves trader-slash-music club attracts a mixed crowd and often has spontaneous jam sessions with local musicians, playing mostly yankee music. Not complaining here, I’m a sucker for some good blues!


Then there’s matraquilhos, or foosball in english. Always a thrill! On a smoky mezzanine of Black Cat, the 50-cent-a-game matraquilhos table at all times being pounded, slammed, kicked and lifted. Full-time gang bang on the 22 metal players made out to look like a 50s version of the two largest teams in Lisboa – Sporting and Benfica. The teams lined up and put a 50 coin on the table to get in the queue. Whichever team won the match, could play the next challenging team. The guys handling Sporting won every single game as soon as they got in. It was almost unfair how well they played. But that got me the chance to sketch them in full.

Extra! Extra! Thousands perish in gory massacre!

If snails had headlines, today’s would have sounded like this. Their deaths were not our direct responsibility, mind you, but were indeed warranted by our craving!


Portuguese have the knack of snacking hundreds of tiny delicious beings such as snails and fish eggs. Snails are rendered edible by being boiled in different herbs and vegetables, such as onion, garlic, mint or chili, and of course, their own goo! They should be washed down with beer. Fish eggs are boiled, cooled and turned into a yummy salad with onion, garlic [glitch in the matrix], parsley and olive oil. Octopus can also be turned into salad in the very same way, but the octopus must be frozen before being boiled, lest it turns into rubbery unchewiness.

Our waiter was telegraphic in his requests from the kitchen, seasoned by many years of the same orders being asked for. Few words, few letters even, were used to convey the message to his colleagues: “um caracol, uma manga, fino, café” (one snail – meaning a tray of them – one mango – meaning a mango flavoured ice-tea – fino, a shorter word for a small beer – coffee).