Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Eats in Taormina, Napoli, and Positano

Some brief words for now. When we dine out in most places we've visited in other countries, we really appreciate the cuisine. On the other hand, the experiences remind us of the incredible opportunities we have back home in North America to try a variety of cuisines. That's not to say that home is "better" but it's fair to say that even in such small towns as Chilliwack B.C. or Bellingham WA or Farmington NM the cuisines of a variety of countries - China, India, Thailand, Mexico, Greece - are more readily available than we see elsewhere.

But one would have to look hard here even to find a dish featuring, say, pesto - that's Ligurian and they don't do that in this area, as a taxi driver reminded us today.

The regional cuisines of Sicily and Napoli are certainly worthy of appreciation. We've eaten quite a bit of seafood, we've enjoyed the pasta, always cooked al dente (except on the ferry but that's another story), and enjoyed some excellent local wines. The food itself is quite mild to our tastes, but we've learned to ask for red chili flakes and that spices up some of the mildest sauces.

It was great to try the classic Pizza Margherita in Naples, but we tend to like our pizzas more fully loaded. One of our favorite meals up to now was in La Bougainville in Taormina, a small chef-owned restaurant. We all shook hands with the chef when we left, and when Greg told him it was the best quail he'd ever eaten, the man beamed.

Of course, when the server was trying to explain the dishes at the beginning, his pronunciation of "quails" was not clear, and Kathy's helpful "Whales?" has caused Brian to laugh on and off ever since.

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