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.

2. Palermo gelato.png

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!

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2017!

Oh my, oh my, where do I even begin? Maybe I should state that I have gained 5lbs for the last 3 days and now I’m bleeding cheese and brats?😂 

We go on this baseball/food trip every year. The destination this year was Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

When we got to the airport (MKE), we found this amazing thing: exclusive Uber pick-up zone! DCA (or taxi drivers in the DMV area?) seem to kind of mind people using Uber. However, MKE has designated a spot near Baggage Claim 1 for Uber pick-ups. No more calling the driver trying to explain where the heck you are!

Our Airbnb place was located right off Brady Street, which has fun bars, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. Everything was open late even though it was a Thursday night. 

We got to our place quite late but decided to try this Japanese ramen place, Red Light Ramen, that night. No one wants to be around hangry family! 

The most interesting thing on the menu was this “Whipped Spam”. Yes, spam. It is served with thin sheets of seaweed, aka nori, pickles and spicy mayo. We had to try it because no one had ever seen anything like this before. You gotta. Verdict? Not bad. It was a little salty (to me), but it tasted much better than we anticipated. I know even the word, Spam, itself gives some people cringes. To be honest, I do not mind it at all; I actually like it! Pan-fried spam and a piece of kimchi over hot white rice? Mmmmm. Anyway, that was our first night!

The food tour. On our annual  baseball/food trips, we seem to do this pretty much everywhere we go. With our limited time and lack of knowledge, it makes sense. We get to go to several different restaurants and try many kinds of food in a short period time.

Our first stop was Zaffiro’s Pizza. It was the original location, which was established in 1954. You can totally tell that it has been there forever: the signs, decor, etc. Now they have multiple locations including the one at Miller Park!

The pizza, though…! It definitely wasn’t my go-to, greasy NY style pizza. When they said “thin crust pizza”, I thought of Ledo pizza. It was something completely different! They cook their SUPER thin dough first and flip it. Then, they put their toppings on the dough. The dough is thinner than saltine crackers! The crunchiness and delicious toppings make it my new favorite style pizza now!

Second stop was La Masa, an empanada bar. We tried Argentine beef, pork and cheese/spinach. All of them were good but personal favorite was pork. 

More importantly, their coleslaw was a hit! It was quite different from the traditional coleslaw we get at a supermarket. Jicama adds a very unique taste and texture!

Our next stop was Peter Sciortino Bakery. We actually happen to go there before the food tour that morning to get pastries. We ended up getting way more than what we were planning on getting for breakfast but that’s what happens when you go to a good bakery, right? In fact, this bakery makes breads pretty much for the whole town. Their kitchen was up and running around midnight!

On the food tour, we got to taste their cannolis. I hate it when the shell is all soggy from sitting there too long. These were just perfect. Who says we can’t have desserts between meals, by the way! 😉

Next, we went to Glorioso’s Supermarket. It is a family-owned Intalian store with all kinds of goodies, which makes it a very dangerous for foodies! We had a nice spread of olives, hams, cheese, bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

Next stop, which was our last food spot, was Red Lion Pub. This pot pie definitely filled us up! This place has a nice deck upstairs. The best feature was this “pool table” where you play pool with a soccer ball!⚽️ How fun!! Apprently, this place is a hot spot for local people to watch soccer matches. I would live at this restaurant if I lived in Milwaukee. 

Our LAST last stop was Wolski’s Tavern. You would never guess that a bar is located in this quite residential neighborhood. No frills, but just great atmosphere, good local beers on tap, some games to play and a pretty backyard where you can sit outside and enjoy your drinks. 

Walking out of the bar later, we noticed that these “I closed Wolski’s” stickers were EVERYWHERE. Apparently, everyone in this town has closed this bar once or twice. 😉

This food tour company seems to offer a lot of food tour options. I even saw their own tour buses. There are other parts of town you can walk around and taste delicious food as well. I would have been definitely interested in doing their German food tour but the only option we had for our schedule was this Brady Street food tour. Brady Street is such a fun, lively neighborhood so it can’t go wrong. Food was good, but also, it is great to walk around the town and hear fun stories and find out about hidden history from a local tour guide. We asked our awesome tour guide, Mary Jo, what happens if it rains. She said, “you gotta bring your own sunshine”☀️😎 Love that!

After the food tour, we walked to Lakefront Brewery. Didn’t get to do too much there but we did get a beer and sat by the water. 

Later that afternoon, we went to Jack’s American Pub for fish fry and fried cheese curds. Of course, we didn’t forget to get Bloody Mary’s. Yes, with beef jerky stick and cheese strings!
I still can’t get over how much fun Milwaukeeans have! Jack’s American Pub offers free rides to/from Brewers games to their customers. You can drink on the shuttle too! How cool is that? Why aren’t bars in DC/NOVA doing this already? Who’s in charge? Hello?⚾️🚌🍺

At the Brewers game, which happened to be against the Nats (GO, NATS!), even though we were so full from all the food we ate at Jack’s, we had to eat the brats. Don’t forget to try the secret sauce! By the way, it is a beautiful ball park. The fans are so much fun too. Our ride back to Brady Street was quite interesting. Party must go on.

Next morning, before we left Milwaukee, we wanted to check out Milwaukee Public Market. Markets never disappoint. Delicious breakfast sandwiches, so many cheeses, LOTS OF brats, fun t-shirts. Too bad we didn’t get to see the ourtdoor part of it, for we had to go up north to see family. One more day would have been perfect but, oh well, this way, we have a reason to go back.

Even with family in Northern Wisconsin, we ate VERY WELL. This picture has three kinds of brats: Bloody Mary, beer & cheddar and garlic & onion. Yummy!

​On our way back to the airport, we got to party HAM in the car thanks to our Lyft driver, Glowstick Tom, who provided us with glow sticks, a disco ball, a fog machine and hand-picked music videos! Never experienced anything like this before and I don’t think we will in the near future. 😂👍

I love where I live right now, but people in Wisconsin definitely seem friendlier and more fun, in a sense. We will pick another city for our baseball/food trip next year, but I would love to go back to Milwaukee and further experience what it has to offer. 

Now, I can enjoy this small piece of Wisconsin I brought from the market.

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!