Subject: Francesinhas
Hi, Candice. You know, going to Porto and not having Francesinhas is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope. But don't worry, you can always go back to Porto to have one. Me and my friends will take you to the best Francesinhas restaurant in Porto. Well, Francesinhas is a Portuguese Delicacy that originated in the city of Porto. It means, in a literal portuguese/english translation, "little french girls" or "frenchie". I have no clue as to why it has a name like that, but legend says that it was a Portuguese guy from Vila do Conde (http://www.portugaltravelguide.com/en/vila_do_conde.htm) that migrated to France and returned after a few years that "invented" it. It is believed to be the Portuguese version of the French "croque-monsieur". It is a dish made with slices of bread, jam, cheese, steak and pork sausage. After you make a sandwich with these ingredients, you wrap it in cheese and then cook it in the oven until the cheese melts. You will eat it like a regular meal, with knife and fork. The secret of the Francesinha is the hot sauce that goes with it. Every Francesinhas restaurant will have its own recipe. And then you can have variations on the theme, with eggs, mushrooms, shrimps, you name it. Francesinhas usually come with a large portion of french fries. You can eat Francesinhas everywhere in Portugal, but the very best come from Porto, off course. The Porto people like it so much they even have Francesinhas Festivals (http://viajar.clix.pt/com/noticias.php?id=1873&lg=en)

You can see what it looks like here: http://users.med.up.pt/vitorper/francesinhas.htm

It may look like a regular sandwich, but, believe me, it is delicious, and unless you are what we here in Portugal call "um bom garfo", literally "a good fork" meaning someone who will eat a lot, you'll find it hard to eat one whole Francesinha.

Best Regards and "bon appetit", Rui Martins in Lisbon