10 amazinglicious days in Sicilia (feat. 36 fantabulous hours in Roma)

I don’t even know where to start‘ was in my mind when I sat down to write about our trip to Sicily, or Sicilia, and 9 months have passed since then. I’ve finally decided to finish thing post, and now I get to relive it! So, here we go.

My all-time favorite movie is Cinema Paradiso directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. While I absolutely love the music by Ennio Morricone, what most appeals to me in the movie is the small town where Toto and Alfredo share their friendship. Most scenes were filmed in Palazzo Adriano, a remote town located between Palermo and Agrigento. Visiting Sicilia and going to that little town was one of my biggest dreams and dreams do come true!

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As we were approaching Palazzo Adriano, my heart started to pound like crazy. Everything there was just as they were in the movie. No time seemed to have passed in this little town. We were guided into a little “museum” at THE square; as soon as the lady who led us there turned on the music from the movie, I LOST IT. I am guessing she’s seen quite a few people like me before, because she just had this smile on her face and said nothing. Just thinking about that day makes me tear up right now. 

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Alfredo’s bike was still there, pictures of famous scenes from the movie were hanging up on the wall. I honestly could have spent the whole day sitting at a corner at the square, sipping on espresso, talking to some old folks there and would have been completely happy. Then again, we had some food to eat!

Now, back to the point: FOOD. Aside from all things we loved about Sicilia, here’s what we ate, in the order it was devoured!

1. Palemo fish.pngTrattoria da Salvo (Corso Tukory 156, 90134, Palermo, Sicily, Italy) – Fish, fresh seafood, grilled and lightly seasoned. That’s it. And that’s all we needed.

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Antica Gelateria Lucchese (Piazza S. Domenico, 11, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy) – One gelato a day is a must and we religiously followed that rule! The most incredible flavor was pistachio, which tasted completely different from what I am used to tasting in 14,000 year old store bought crap in the States….!

3. Palermo market.pngMercato della Vucciria (Via Coltellieri, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy) – Markets are the best. Fresh ingredients, lots to munch, so many stories.

Palermo Food Tour (Foodies of Palermo through AirBnb) – I strongly recommend taking this food tour on your day 1 in Palermo. Our guide Salvo was extremely knowledgeable and witty. Not only did he give us delicious food, he also took us everywhere and told us so much about the city and the people. Things we ate: pani ca meusa (spleen sandwich, yes, you heard me correctly), gelato in brioche (it’s a thing, and it’s a beautiful thing), panelle (Sicilian fritters made with chickpea flour), arancini (deep-fried stuffed rice balls), sfincione (Sicilian pizza), Sicilian wine and OLIVES!

6. Palermo fish shop.png(Oh, did I mention that Italian guys are super hot?! I repeat, Italian men are HOT! I wanted to buy all the fish he had in his fish shop. Prego.)

11. cefalu.pngLocanda del Marinaio (Via Porpora, 5, 90015 Cefalù PA, Italy) – Every single pasta dish on this trip was cooked just perfectly. Cefalu is such a perfect daytrip destination if you are looking for something to do near Palermo. The romantic train ride from Palermo to Cefalu will take you to this shoreside town full of charm.

12. palazzo adriano.pngRistorante Pizzeria Del Viale (Via Venti Settembre 2, 90030 Palazzo Adriano, Sicily Italy) – This is the only restaurant in Palazzo Adriano and this IS the best restaurant. The cook/owner did not speak a word of English. She kept asking us questions with some hand gestures and we just said, “si, si”. We ended up with too much food; or is there such a thing as too much food if that food is absolutely delish…!

13. agrigento.pngOutdoor Cafeteria at the Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples, Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) – This actually makes me kind of sad. Even cafeteria salads in Sicilia tasted amazing. It’s the ingredients. A fresh, well-grown tomato does not need any seasoning or sauce. I really enjoyed my meal at this cafeteria with the beautiful Greek ruins behind me. Why can’t we get this food quality/freshness at home?

14. turkish steps.pngLounge Beach Scala dei Turchi (Strada Provinciale 68, 182, 92010, Realmonte, Sicily, Italy) – Scala dei Turchi (aka Turkish Steps) is a gorgeous white rock cliff. A scene from the movie Malena (another great movie!) was also filmed here. While gazing at the natural beauty, a sip of aperol spritz is just perfect.

 

Antonio’s AirBnb Cottage (Canicatti, Sicily, Italy) – Antonio hosts guest from all over the world in his charming home located in this little town. With a very reasonable extra fee, he will cook for you and HE CAN COOK! This 10 course dinner consisted of a few local goat cheeses paired with pistachio cream and homemade jams, a pasta dish, an eggplant dish, a couple of seafood dishes, a couple of desserts including the cactus fruit and wine and booze! Homemade food at its finest! If you are headed west from Agrigento, his place is definitely worth a stop just for the food itself.

17. modica.pngBottega Sicula (Corso Umberto I, 128, 97015 Modica RG, Italy) – A quick sweet fix on our way to Siracusa from Ragusa. On this trip, we found a hidden sweet tooth side of my I-am-not-a-dessert-person hubby. Oh, did we crush this thing.

 

I Monasteri Golf Resort & Spa (Traversa Monasteri di Sotto, 3, 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy) – A hotel restaurant isn’t usually my first choice of a meal, but every single meal at this place was unbelievable! Also, the fox. The first night we walked out to the outdoor dining area, we saw an animal around tables. I was thinking, ‘no way that’s a fox,’ and asked the waiter. “What is that?” “It’s a fox.” What an oddly awesome experience! Magical things happen in Sicilia.

 

Caffe Sicilia (Corso Vittorio Emanuele 125 96017 Noto, Italy ) – Just before our trip to Sicilia, Netflix released their new episode of Chef’s Table introducing this pastry shop. I was watching the episode drooling, but also said to myself, “terrible timing.” I wanted to go there before it was filled with tourists from the TV craze. Well, it wasn’t that bad after all, and everything there was completely heavenly indeed. Canoli, cassata, and the almond granita……. Mmm……………………………. I could still feel the texture in my mouth…….

 

Caseificio Borderi (Via Emmanuele de Benedictis, 6, 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy) – If you are in Siracusa, you have to stand in line for an hour, starve yourself, let the sandwich maker tease you with a piece of meat or cheese right before you die of hunger and then stuff your face with a ginormous sandwich at this place. Andrea is such a character. He’s a talker. I really wished I could speak Italian while standing in line, because people giggled and laughed every time he said something – even the intimidating looking uomini did, too. The sandwich buns are almost invisible by the time they are loaded with layers of fresh ingredients. Deliciousness overload! A visit to Siracusa won’t be complete without eating a sandwich here.

21 taormina.pngOsteria Villa Zuccaro (Corso Umberto, I 38, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy) – We had not eaten any pizza until we got to Taormina. There’s so much more than pizza and pasta in Sicilia, but pizza is damn good! The crust was just exquisite.

La Capinera (Via Nazionale, 177, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy) – This Michelin star restaurant is a short taxi ride from the busy town center. It was a chilly night and we got to have the whole outdoor dining section by the water to ourselves for a while. Impeccable service, great food and excellent wine pairing. Chef Pietro D’Agostino came out to the table and explained about every single dish we had. We totally spoiled ourselves here. One of the best meals on this trip!

23 taormina.pngLido Il Delphino (Via Nazionale 140 | Fraz. Mazzarò, 98039, Taormina, Sicily, Italy) – There is no such thing as a bad meal in Sicilia. Italian people in general seem to take pride in their food (as they should). Without Yelping or anything, we walked into random restaurants we ran into and the food was always delicious. I read somewhere that Italian people don’t really care about the Michelin star status; ‘why should someone else tell us how good our already-great-food is’? I totally get it.

 

Aloha Mare (Via Lungo Mare 102, Bivio per Savoca, 98028 Santa Teresa di Riva, Sicily, Italy) – Leaving Savoca, where the famous wedding scene from the Godfather was filmed, we asked some local people where we could find good seafood. And this place hit the spot. Seafood in Sicilia is unquestionably the best. Again, it’s so fresh. They don’t overseason it, overcook it or smother it with heavy sauce. As a huge seafood lover, Sicilia was a utopia.

 

Quattrochchiacchiere (Via Monsignor Domenico Orlando, 13, 95126 Catania CT, Italy) – We did not get to do much in Catania, but we always manage to have a nice meal fit in our schedule. The staff at Airone Hotel gave a couple of recommendations for dinner for our last night in Sicilia. The salumi board had way too much meat and cheese for two of us, but every single bite was absolutely delightful. Then, our main course, mortadella and pistachio pizza, came out. I had never seen such a combination before, or I had never tasted anything that delicious before…! On this trip, I fell in love with mortadella. Mortadella is amazing; well-made one. Duh.

27 rome.pngAfter 10 amazinglicous days in Sicilia, we had 36 hours in Rome before our return. It wasn’t enough time to see everything Rome has to offer, so we decided to do a quick e-bike tour and watch a football (if you call it soccer, that’s fine too) game. Some luck we had, though. That one day happened to be the notorious Derby della Capitale (Roma Derby) day! After these beautiful looking slices of pizza, we went into the stadium for the our grand finale of our trip. Roma Derby itself is an experience you don’t want to miss!

This trip was definitely more than just eating good food, even though food was by far the best part of it. We might have been to a couple of dozens of restaurants but, the sad thing is, there are still so much more that we didn’t get to dine at. I would love to go back to Sicilia someday.

Should you want to know more about our trip, please feel free to reach out to me: Twitter or Instagram. Prego!

Rose’s Luxury – Roof Garden Tasting Menu

When two friends have birthdays in July, what do we do? We have a fancy birthday celebration at Rose’s Luxury

I still remember the first time I ate there. It was totally worth the wait. This time, it was even better because we had a reservation!

This beautiful rooftop garden (that I would just pass by on my way to the restroom upstairs😂) welcomed us when we got there. One of the birthday girls, “C”, had to stay online and refresh their reservation page 15,000 times to get this. The competition is intense! Special thanks to C for your fast click skills!

We basically sat there for 4 hours and kept eating and drinking. That’s what I call a great life!😁 What was even better, I didn’t have to experience that anxiety/agony/suffering at Komi, where I was asked not to take any pictures of the food. Food was great but every time they brought out beautiful dishes, I gotta say, a little part of me died. No picture, no blog post. Oh well. 

So, here are the pictures from our lavish birthday party!

Rye Challah / with whipped honey-caraway butter and sea salt 

Pheasant “Mortadella” / with pistachio, Dijon & red onion 

Stuff Date / with cultured butter

Artichoke Leaf / with barigoule & smoked trout roe

Kung Pao Tofu / with broccoli, Virginia peanuts & pea shoots (Well, most of us were Asian. When they brought out the Chinese to-go paper containers, for a split second, some of us thought, ‘they are not serving this because we are…?’😂)

Carrots “Pastrami” / with smoked butter, rye & sauerkraut (This might have been my favorite dish this time!)

THE Lychee Salad / with pork sausage, habanero, red onions, coconut milk foam, toasted garlic slices, cilantro & peanuts (This dish has been on their menu forever and I like it every time I eat it!)

Farro Reginetti / with garlic & mustard greens (Some said that it was too salty, even though I liked pasta better than the other one😉)
Rogatoni Alla Vodka / with squid & genovese basil
Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken / with honey & benne seeds (Btw, pickle juice is a great marinade! Never throw away leftover pickle juice. I use it all the time!)
Smoked Brisket / with white bread, horseradish & slaw

Italian House Salad

BBQ Beans / with Carolina gold rice 

Toasted Cinnamon Ice Cream / with apple cider donut (The. Donut. Was. The. Bomb.)
Innkeeper’s Pie / with walnuts, chocolate ganache & milk ice cream (O. M. G. 😱)

Last, but not least, the breakfast goodie bag! On our way out, they gave each of us this bag with a cinnamon bun and bottled cold brew coffee! 

It was such a nice treat! We got to meet and hang out with some cool people while enjoying scrumptious food all evening! If you have some important celebration coming up, I definitely recommmend that you set a reminder on your phone and get online to make a reservation! 

Happy summer!😎 And happy birthday, Y and C!!💕

[Restaurant Review] Rosemarino d’Italia – Alexandria, VA

Rosemarino d’Italia
1905 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301
(703) 299-8906

This restaurant opened up literally two weeks ago. It wasn’t even on foursquare so I had to add it to check in! I get so excited when I see a new restaurant opening in the neighborhood. So, I went to check it out on its opening day 🙂

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Home-made pasta! YES! I can’t say much about anything else yet because i went there only once and there aren’t even reliable reviews yet. But their pasta was cooked perfect with a lot of seafood – YUM! I’m a marinara sauce person 99% of the time but the linguini with white wine and garlic was fantabulous! 20130331-164158.jpg Best part? Their home-made tiramisu! You don’t even know that you even put it in your mouth. It just melts away 😉 I am definitely interested in going back to try their chicken piccata, which is supposedly really good as well! Loving my neighborhood ❤

Happy Easter!

Happy 4th! Happy tummy!

How was your 4th? It was my first 4th of July in D.C. so we decided to go to the Air Force Memorial to see the fireworks. It was really a unique experience to see the fireworks at an awesome site with nice music played by the air force band, but we had to “pay” for it. Yes, 4 hours under the sun. Plus, we walked to the memorial from our place, which takes about 20 minutes. That means we couldn’t bring anything too fancy for dinner. So, this is what we had. Very light, yet quite delightful! (Hmm… Too corny?)

 

Pasta Salad: pasta(duh!), tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, chopped onions, minced garlic, lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper.

Greek Chicken Salad Wrap: chicken (you don’t need anything crazy-supermarket rotisserie chicken works just great), plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, dijon mustard, craisins, walnuts and spinach tortilla. – If you are trying to avoid mayo but you still want the creaminess in your dish, this is a perfect, scrumptious alternative.

Home-made Pickles: Yes, I said it. H-O-M-E-M-A-D-E-P-I-C-K-L-E-S! It’s going to be another posting soon. We’ve just gotten into pickling! The secret will come out soon so be there for it!

 

This is the thing about this kind of meal, though. There is no rule. If you like spicy food, chop up some jalapenos and put them in your salad. If you like sweet food (I don’t, btw), cut up some apples in there. One thing about cooking at home is that you can be creative (even though you probably got yelled at when you were young, “don’t play with your food!”) and if your food tastes like #2, who cares? Next time, you know what to do (or what NOT to do).

Maybe this weekend, you can fix a nice little picnic lunch and go out to a park with your beloved ones. It’s going to be a hot one (I heard it’s gonna be 106 degrees!) so bring lots of water. Lesson learned yesterday!

So, what are you cooking this weekend? 😉