This morning I set off early for my rehearsal with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
It was a glorious warm fall day and the train ride was peaceful and easy…
Which left me a half hour to explore the Ironbound District just south of the train station.
I’ve long wanted to visit since I know that there is a big Portuguese community here. Although many of the shops hadn’t yet opened, I immediately recognized familiar aromas of sweet and savory spices wafting onto the street.
Quite a few shops had Portuguese names…
And I was delighted to even see a shop carrying traditional pottery as well as the refined and elegant Vista Alegre porcelain.
My destination on this visit was Teixera’s Bakery which I had read about in the New York Times.
Even at this hour, the cafe was filled with people (mainly native Portuguese speakers with some Brazilians as well) and there was a line at the counter.
The cases were filled with Portuguese sweet pastries such as Ferreirinhas…
Queijadas de Amendoa (little almond cheesecakes), Pastéis de Feijão (bean tarts)…
And Pastéis de Nata (little custard tarts).
There were also savory treats like Rissóis (dumplings), and breads such as Pão de Leite (milk bread)…
Along with assorted baguettes, boules and rolls.
I ordered (in Portuguese) four pastries to take home: 2 pastéis de nata, 1 queijada de amendoa and 1 pastelo de feijão, and when I got home displayed my “loot” on my favorite Vista Alegre serving platter.
(Here’s a close-up of the platter which features a whimsical modern depiction of downtown Lisbon with the Castle of São Jorge in the background. The artist is Beatriz Lamanna.)
And because I played a somewhat demanding rehearsal (you can hear me in shows at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday and Friday this week), I figured that I deserved time out for chá (tea) and one of the pastéis de nata.
(Here’s a close up of the tart before I devoured it…)