Monday, April 6, 2009

Reasons Why I'm Moving to Sicily

As we all know, my posts have been pretty sparse lately as a result of my week-long family trip to Italy. If my internet access hadn't been limited there, I would have been posting (and probably abusing Twitter) CONSTANTLY about my food experiences. I could bore you with details about each dish, but since I have a tendency to get verbose I'll try to keep things concise here.

I traveled to Sicily and Rome, and in a tiny town in Sicily called Modica I ate one of the best meals of my life. The Italian comfort food I consumed there deserves, and consequently will get, its own post. I'll post my Rome food photographs in their own entry as well. Everything in this post is listed chronologically, in the order I consumed it in Sicily. I took pictures of everything I ate, but I only included the highlights here for the sake of brevity. Enjoy!


Technically, this was my first meal over international waters. Airplane food may not be the best thing in the world, but complimentary wine in cute mini-bottles DEFINITELY is. Especially for nervous flyers!

My first meal in Sicily was, naturally, a pizza. We flew into a city called Catania in southern Sicily, then took a two-hour bus ride to a tiny town called Ragusa, then took a cab to a microscopic place called Marina di Ragusa. Thsi place is right on the Mediterranean, so I imagine it's a big hit in the summer. However, there was hardly anything open during our short stint there in March. One of the hotel staffers drove us to a nearby restaurant called Acquamarina, where I immediately ordered Vino Rosso (red wine, obviously) and this delicious, amazing pizza with spinach, ricotta cheese and sausage.

According to my guidebooks, lunch is the big deal meal in Sicily. It's customary for Sicilians to eat a pastry for breakfast rather than a sit-down meal, and they do so standing up in a coffee bar. I even saw one surprisingly fit girl (and apparently this is also common) eating a brioche STUFFED with gelato at 8 a.m. This is one of the many reasons why I'm moving to Sicily. I picked up this pastry at a breakfast place in Marina di Ragusa called Boccadifuoco Mizzica Pasticceria.

A note about coffee: unless one specifies "Caffe Americano" or "Caffe Latte," you will be served espresso. Also, do not order coffee with milk at any time other than breakfast, advised my Lonely Planet guidebook, or you will be instantly pegged a tourist.

Dinner on my second night in Sicily commenced at Baciamolemani, a restaurant across the street from our hotel in Marina di Ragusa. The staff was so accomodating, even writing up an English menu for us because we had difficulty communicating what we wanted. This was my green gnocchi with clams and tomatoes. Not pictured here are my sister's dish of cuttlefish cooked in their own ink and my mother's swordfish. MMM.

Dessert at Baciamolemani was, of course, cannoli. We also ordered a tiramisu, but this was the best cannoli I've ever consumed so it takes center stage.

Caffe' delle Rose, which appeared to be the most hoppin' (and, you know...only) breakfast joint in Marina di Ragusa also (of course) served gelato. This variety is nutella-flavored!

On our last day in Sicily we visited a city called Noto, which was apparently devastated by a 1693 earthquake and rebuilt in Baroque style. It was architecturally stunning, of course, but my main motivation for visiting was the fact that Noto allegedly contains the two best ice cream shops in the WORLD (so says Lonely Planet). Alas, Corrado Costanzo was closed for the season, but Caffe Sicilia was wide open. Here's a look at their bakery display.

My gelato pick from Caffe Sicilia, the Montezuma. Chocolate gelato with orange and cinnamon. It actually was the best ice cream or gelato or frozen treat I've ever had, and words cannot express the taste explosion any better than this photo.

Dessert on our last night in Sicily, at a little restaurant in Marina di Ragusa called Anno Zerro. Phenomenal pizza preceded this, but the dessert was definitely the highlight.

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