In Palermo for the night and ended up at Butticè for platter after platter of briskly replenished stuzzichini (free snacks y'all). In the paper bag are sliced cheese, tomato and black pepper sandwiches on typical Palermitan sesame bread.
Arabic is all over the place in Palermo- much more than expected. This was our first Zibibbo- wish it was available in NM. Nothing special/all things good.
Because the city is known for its history and culture of street food and we had very limited time to explore, we contacted Marco who runs small, minimally embarrassing food "tours" to help us get the most out of it.
Frittola, available only sporadically, is veal cartilage "revived" in lard and served in hand. Squeeze of lemon.
Panelle- herbed chickpea fritters with the texture of fried polenta. Two dudes mixing the batter were huffing away like it was concrete.
Cazzilli- fried potato puffs with parsley and mint. The center was like 10 percent tater tot, 90 percent air.
Traditional Palermitan arancine contains saffron and never tomato.
Olives from Castelvetrano.
The Arabs built churches to look like mosques.
Sfincione is a spongy grilled bread topped with tomato pulp and oregano.
Marco set up a little picnic for us at a taverna that serves the coldest beers imaginable. Then he blew my mind with a demonstration of the Sicilian dialect's similarity to Arabic (which he also speaks). Crazy. I will spare non-Arabic speakers the details but if you want to see a short video of him cracking us up, let me know and I'll email it.
There are two main styles of Sicilian sesame bread. One is softer and used predominantly for sandwiches, and the other is a natural yeast semolina bread with real heft and the density of pound cake.
Pani ca' meusa, the most iconic Palermitan street snack, is sliced veal spleen and lung fried in lard and served on a greasy bun rubbed with drippings and lemon juice. The locals don't lack passion in any capacity, so they argue over whether the sandwich is best served "single" (as seen) or "married" (with ricotta or caciocavallo but minus the lemon). This vendor was a purist. The lung had a creamy, livery vibe so imho the cheese would've been overkill.
Everyone loved this.
In the old Jewish quarter, the signs still have Hebrew and Arabic on them.
Cannoli. This place is known for its cannoli shells wholesale business, but you can walk in and get freshly filled cannoli to go. I took one bite and then hid the rest in some shrubbery down the road. Filone did the same. They were not good.
I convinced Fil, who hasn't had coffee since the 90s, to join me in a round of caffé corretto. But he's a delicate flower and will need more practice.
Pici's caffé cremino.
My almond granita.
And because we hadn't eaten enough for lunch, beer and chips.
Amazing soft almond paste cookies.
Sunset at the airport before our late flight to Bologna.
Satisfying airport food.