Erika, Peter and their little chubby son. Those were the protagonists of my daily dinner soap opera in Lisbon. Main actor: Erika (I gave her that name cause I never asked for her real name and thought Erika would be the best fit). Erika was the woman in charge of the kitchen of my favorite restaurant at the end of the street where I stayed during my time in Lisbon. Erika is a small but chubby woman always wearing a cute dress with colorful patterns and an apron on top. Every day, except Sundays, she used to sit in front of their restaurant Floresta de Santana, playing with the flip-flops on her feet.
Her husband, Peter (name also given by the author) is her husband. Peter was in charge of the service and guest relation, as you would call it. No matter how full or empty the restaurant was, Peter was constantly stressed out, it seemed. As soon as I took a seat, he came to me with his so called “starters”: bread and small packaged butter, garlic butter and sardine paste (those little packs you know from cheap breakfast buffets). Highlight was the cheese that came to it, a cheese you could get from any small supermarket or shop.
The first time he served the starter, I was a little confused but so hungry that I kept it and ate it all at once. Every time afterwards I got more and more excited about the bread, packaged sardine paste and cheese, that I only wanted to go there because of the delicious starter trio. Obviously, that was not the case.
I ate at many different places in Lisbon, from low budget to pricy. And what can I say? Erika and Peter were the cheapest but a keeper – a true pearl of Lisbon’s gastronomy. To honor the lovely couple and their delicious dishes such as grilled sea bream, sardines and octopus, beef filet with egg and pork chops, I dedicate my interpretation of ceviche made with kingfish and tomatoes to them. Obrigada, Erika and Peter!