Theyâ€™re both built over a series of hills, are crossed by turn-of-the-century trams, have a big suspension bridge built by the same company as one of their icons, share a history of earthquakes, and offer a mild climate year-round. If there is such a thing as twin cities, they are Lisbon and San Francisco.
Another link to Lisbon in San Francisco is its most famous skyscraper, the Transamerica Pyramid. It was designed by the Portuguese-American architect William Pereira who also designed other projects around the world, and especially in Los Angeles (CBS Television City, Hollywood Motion Picture and Television Museum, Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and IBM headquarters).
There is no Portuguese community in San Francisco, but there is a significant Portuguese population outside the city and around California. In fact, it was a Portuguese explorer who discovered California. His name was JoÃ£o Rodrigues Cabrilho, although he is mostly known under the Spanish version of his name Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo since he was working for Portugalâ€™s rival at the time. Youâ€™ll find the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, and there is also Cabrillo College in Aptos, the Cabrillo Bridge, and the Cabrillo Freeway traveling through San Diego’s famous Balboa Park.
Although a New World version of Lisbon somehow emerged in California as San Francisco, the only taste of the Portuguese capital found in that American city is at Grubstake Restaurant. It offers a menu called â€œThe Portuguese Cornerâ€, listing the most famous of all Portuguese soups, â€œCaldo Verde,â€ in addition to (you guessed it) a couple of codfish dishes.
If youâ€™re interested in finding out more about the Portuguese in California, visit the website of Californiaâ€™s Portuguese Museum.