7 Ways to Have That Unforgettable Port Lunch (Even When Stuck at Home)

We are all patiently waiting to sail again. Officials are starting to talk about relaxing restrictions, but we aren’t there yet. Time again to make the best of the situation. When your ship arrives in port, you rush to get ashore. Having a nice lunch in a sidewalk café is a memorable pleasure. With Memorial Day fast approaching, here’s how to do it at home.

7 Ways to Recreate Your Greatest Port Lunch Experience

When you are on vacation, someone else does the cooking. These seven lunches are all ones you can prep ahead of time:

  1. Portugal – The cold seafood assortment. We took the short train ride from Lisbon to Cascais, a beach town. It was easy to find a local restaurant with seating extending into the nearby square. Your home assembled platter could include oysters on the half shell (buy them from the ‘buck a shuck’ place near you.) Clams too. (You can open them yourself. Boiled shrimp. Ceviche would be nice. Add smoked salmon too. You buy Vinho Verde or another nice white wine.
  2. Spain – Tapas. If you’ve been to Barcelona, it’s everywhere. Find a supermarket like Lidl or Trader Joe’s. Buy some Iberico ham. It’s Spain’s answer to Prosciutto. Add in Manchego cheese. The store you select should have tapas in the freezer section. Grilled shrimp and calamari are good additions. Potato croquettes. Albarino is a crisp white wine perfect for summer. Go for Rioja if you prefer red.
  3. Italy – Antipasto platter. You are pretending you are in Tuscany. You could buy an antipasto platter as take out from a local restaurant. Ours would include Prosciutto, chunks of parmesan, slices of mozzarella, roasted red petters, artichoke hearts and olives. Don’t forget to add good bread with a dish of olive oil, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and topped with…more parmesan. You might be drinking pinot grigio if you prefer white wine or Chianti if you like red.
  4. China – Dim sum. Hong Kong does a fine job. Take yourself to Trader Joe’s or another store with a freezer cabinet full of these tasty bites. Almost everything you choose can be warmed in a microwave. Pan fried dumplings are another good addition. They come frozen in bags. Put oil in a pan, they will brown as they cook. You will need dipping sauces. If it’s a hot day, beer if a good beverage choice. Hot tea works too.
  5. Japan – Sushi. You could order out from a sushi restaurant, but one of your local supermarkets should have a good selection of sushi. California rolls are an entry level example, but you should be able to find recently prepared selections in plastic containers. Sake is a traditional match. I’m thinking champagne or beer.
  6. Greece – Meze platter. Now you are in Greece. Meze is similar to antipasto. Hummus and pita bread are a good place to start. Add chunks of feta cheese. Include cherry tomatoes and sliced raw vegetables. Quartered boiled eggs are good too. Add bread sticks and nuts. You will want a sauce for dipping. This meal requires some Internet research. Greek wine would be a logical match. Beer too.
  7. France – Salade Nicoise. Now you are in Marseilles or along the French Riviera. This traditional dish takes lots of prep ahead of time, but is assembled in seconds. Look up a good recipe online. It will include romaine lettuce as the base along with quartered small potatoes, cooked green beans and quartered hard boiled eggs. Sliced tomatoes too. Don’t forget the olives and anchovies. You will mix up the dressing separately. It’s usually topped with canned tuna. Obviously, you include French bread. A bottle of rose wine from Provence completes the picture.
  8. England – Ploughman’s lunch. If you have visited a British pub, you’ve seen this on the menu. Start with good bread. Add a hunk of cheese and sliced onions. There are usually a few slices of ham too. Add in a boiled egg, butter. pickles and some fresh fruit. It often comes with a chutney. British beer is the obvious choice. Dig out your pint glasses and fill them to the brim. Obviously it’s eaten outside.

We may not be able to travel at the moment, but we can relive the memories while we wait.

Cover photo: Salade Nicoise by Bryce Sanders


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