Hamilton Stopover


D and I recently took advantage of the reasonable airfares provided by the new Swoop airline. We had a stopover in Hamilton en route to Halifax and then Charlottetown. We don’t particularly like airport food but love to check out an unexplored city, so we used the stretch of time to jump in a cab and head to a Portuguese restaurant in the vicinity. Toma La-The Portuguese Pitstop was a 10 minute ride from the airport.


While visiting Portugal this past January, we feel in love with their Super Bock beer. Since the pitstop doesn’t have a liquor license, we had to settle for a non-alcoholic version that was still delicious and satisfying. As was the passion fruit soda.


We were so delighted to find our favourite Portuguese choices on the menu that we “over” ordered, selecting 2 enormous dishes that were quite obviously too much food. But we were delighted with the half chicken dinner. We learned that all meat was marinated the night before, therefore, it had absorbed all the natural seasonings. The famous Portuguese style BBQ Chicken was served with their very own “Toma La Piri Piri Sauce” and a choice of sides. The chicken was slow-cooked over an open fire charcoal pit for the authentic Portuguese tasting chicken! We chose a hearty salad simply tossed in oil and vinegar in addition to these fascinating potatoes. We had discerned that the potatoes has been roasted in a tomato sauce, but how did they get every potato to be exactly the same size?


For the second platter of food, we were in a real pickle: we didn’t want to miss out on the Portuguese potatoes but we were also hoping for hand-cut fries like the ones we enjoyed while we were away. Alas the fries were frozen so we didn’t miss out on any delicious potatoness (not a word, I know). There were two pork chops on the platter, so we could have easily share a half pork chop dinner and a 1/4 chicken dinner. But the succulent chops had also been marinated over night and cooked over live charcoal, so we didn’t protest too much.

After our early dinner, we flew to Halifax, rented a car and drove 3 1/2 hours to Charlottetown. D really appreciated the left overs for a late evening snack so we wouldn’t be tempted to fill up on junk food.


Our server mentioned that their pastries were made fresh daily and we knew that Portuguese confections were exceptional. We couldn’t purchase these Pastel de Nata in pairs so we settled for a half dozen. We groaned as our mouths remembered the flaky pastry and the luxurious filling. D enjoyed another one en route to PEI and then there were exactly three to share with our Charlottetown host.

That first stop commenced a long weekend of amazing eating.

Kath’s quote: “The fine arts are five in number, namely: painting, sculpture, poetry, music, and architecture, the principal branch of the latter being pastry.” –Antonin Carême


Love never fails.




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