In mid-September, Jones of Boerum Hill traveled from Brooklyn to Portugal and met with the factories that are producing workwear for us. We had done a small run of work shirts in August in Portugal, and the construction and sewing quality was second to none. While we still make all of our aprons in NYC's Garment District, we wanted to expand our production to include some other small and unique factories as well.
The factories that JOBH works with are situated in the north of Portugal, near the incredibly picturesque and cool city of Porto. We flew into Porto on a non-stop flight out of Newark on TAP Portugal for a four day stay.
Douro River in Porto
From the moment we landed, the hospitality of the Portuguese people was so overwhelming and warm. Our agent, Victor, brought us straight from the airport to our shirt factory. The factory itself is a beautiful, modern, and small family-run business, and it is certainly the nicest factory we had ever seen. Over a leisurely lunch in the countryside with our new partners, we discussed the factory and our workwear & apron production. It was clear that everyone at the table was alike in holding quality to the highest regard, as well as pride in work, and finding significant value in small, close-knit family run businesses.
The Factory Floor
Spools of thread at the factory
Our hosts gave us a great tour of the surrounding area the next day before we went to the factory, including The Foz, which is the lovely beach neighborhood about 3 miles from Porto center.
Foz Do Douro
Casa da Musica, Porto's concert hall
While we continued to tour factories, our evenings were free to spend in Porto. We rented an apartment up on the hill overlooking the city as opposed to a hotel, so that we could get a local feel for the place.
Iestyn in Porto
While we knew that Porto was breathtaking in terms of beauty and history, we were delighted to find that there is also a very impressive and trendy design & food scene.
Miss 'Opo, Porto
We stumbled across restaurants there that can rival any place in NYC for gastronomy, service, and interior design. The wine in Porto is mostly from the Douro wine region, about an hour's drive away. A spectacular glass of local white, red, or green (!) wine will set you back about 3 Euros. Coming from Brooklyn, we felt as if we had landed in some sort of paradise.
Mondo Deli, Porto
Syrian Fish Balls at Mondo Deli
After the work was finished, we had one day to do some touristy-stuff around Porto, and it turned out the best plan was just to get lost and wander.
We had lunch off the tourist track at a bar that is run by the local Football Club. We heard about it because of the jaw-dropping views from the deck, which hangs off the side of a cliff overlooking Douro River. Pretty spectacular.
Guindalense Futebol Clube, Porto
While there, Iestyn had to try the local delicacy, called the Francesinha. It's a sandwich made with a bunch of heart-stopping ingredients, including steak, fresh sausage, roast beef, thick bread, melted cheese, beer sauce, and a fried egg. Also nicknamed "The Doorstop". Don't forget the chips and the Superbock!
Luckily, Porto is very hilly, so we were able to walk off all of the heavy and delicious food.
While in Porto, Iestyn insisted that we had to catch a champions league FC Porto football match at the Estadio do Dragao (Dragon Stadium). The game was great fun, and the post-game Uber ride can only be described as a Mission Impossible style, cobblestone-bouncing drive through the tiny back roads of the city to avoid traffic, where at times it really wasn't clear if the car would fit through the ancient walls on each side. Fantastic!
FC Porto at Estadio do Dragao
On the final day, we said goodbye to Porto with a promise to return soon. We hopped a train south towards Lisbon for a three hour journey to get to our next destination, the seaside resort town of Cascais. Read all about our adventures in Cascais & Lisbon in next week's blog post!
Deirdra in front of the Clerigos Tower, Porto
In the meantime, here are links to some of the great places we visited in Porto:
Great guide to what's new and trendy in Porto: