I am a few days behind in blogs – we have been busy enjoying Taormina. Plus had some days of just “everyday” living – grocery shopping, conference calls, work, laundry, catching up on our budget, and of course, paying bills.
But I did learn one very important lesson this week. When I started this trip, I brought my Italian books and vowed to do a lesson every day. Well, I have gotten a little complacent, mainly because I know just enough to get by, and most people speak at least a little English. I should have stuck with it . . . .
We went to an amazing fish restaurant last night – Grotta Azzurra. They are known for their very fresh catch. The owner came by our table touting all of the colorful seafood on display over ice right outside the front door, including one of my favorites – anchovies. Believe it or not, they are really really good when fresh and marinated- they call them “alice”, pronounced “ah-lee-chee.” They are not at all like the salty kind you find on pizza.
I usually try to order in Italian and was feeling a little cocky. I wanted to show the owner that I knew that anchovies really were “ah-lee-chee” in Italian. So I proudly ordered. He looked at me a little more closely and smiled big – I thought, “I’m sure he’s impressed with my Italian – I’m like a native now.”
Well – when my appetizer arrived, it was RICCI (pronounced “ree-chee”), which are sea urchins. All of our Sicily family raves about them, but I hadn’t had the nerve to try them. When we were sailing, we saw them stuck all over the rocks next to the dock. They are brown and spindly. And I was just served a plate full of them.
I wasn’t sure what to do, so at first I started licking out the contents, pretending that I knew exactly what I was doing ordering a whole plate of sea urchins just for me. But the waitress hurried over and told me that the quills were very sharp so I needed to use a spoon. Oops.
They were actually pretty good. I am proud to say I ate them all. And next time I will just order “anchovies.”