Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Elephant in the Room

Alici met up with the rest of us in Catania today. Besides the fact that it is so great to see her again, she has a corkscrew and we do not. Our air bnb host had kindly left us two bottles of Nero d'Avola but no way of opening them, so last night, we googled YouTube videos of how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew and found demos of suave Europeans managing it with only a shoe. With three suave Europeans and many shoes on hand, we gave it a try, which ended badly for the wine, the walls, and general morale.

Ceci shoved in the cork with a knife and we lit candles. 

Alici's arrival made the trip official enough for me to justify pulling out all the bubble-wrapped British potato chips from my suitcase for happy hour. 

Who has a compulsive need to buy Kettle Chips flavors unavailable in the US? 


Pici bought provisions, including sesame bread, local oranges and pistachios. 

Also salami and the tastiest scamorza. 

Take that, Babybel. 

Wild strawberries. 

Aperitivi at the bar downstairs. Aperol Spritz for Alici and everyone else had long Negronis which are the usual plus Chinotto. Blood oranges are in season so they're in all the drinks.

Really into the Italian thing of always getting good free snacks with drinks. 

Piazza, cathedral, Holy Saturday. Our place here is called The Elephant's Smile and there's an anatomically incorrect elephant on the piazza along with lots of elephant themed general folklore... Filone says that the island of Sicily was once home to the dwarf elephant and I believe everything he says, so. 

Three orders of sardines beccafico. Stuffed with pine nuts and raisins, then breaded and fried to look like birds, hence the name. 

Saffron sheepsmilk cheese on the Sicilian antipasti plate. 

There were two other great starters- an insalate di mare and tomatoes (weirdly really good right now in Sicily and sold on the street) with spring onion and ricotta salata. 

I had spaghetti with clams after that. 

Alici had veal. 

Pici and Duca had baked tagliatelle with seafood. 

Ceci had spaghetti with mussels. 

Amari, amari, amari.

Green grass, palms, cacti, a Picasso exhibit in the castle just beyond. 

One more amari stop on the way home. 

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