Thursday, February 26, 2009

Palermo's Culinary Delicacies

As I stated in the last post, defensive line coach Paul Petrich Jr. and our QB Luke Tracy, packed up our spiffy Ford Fiesta for the two hour drive to Palermo to hold a two hour practice for our seven teammates who live in the greater Palermo megalopolis.

On the drive towards the northwest corner of Sicily, Paul was again in charge of figuring out where to eat lunch.  He relied on his trusty "Lonely Planet Italy" guidebook and found us another great spot for a locals oriented meal.

Antica Focacceria di San Francesco

Established in 1834, as noted on their storefront, this place is a Palemo institution and is one of the city's oldest eating houses.  It hosted the first Sicilian parliament and was a favorite haunt of the notorious Mafia Boss, 'Lucky' Luciano.

My simple but tasty lunch.

On the left is pannelle (chickpea fritters) and mini-potato croquettes with a Fanta to wash them down.  On the right is a delicious arancino (a deep-fried rice ball stuffed with meat, cheese and vegetables).  A cannolo, for which I had to wait because they were making fresh ones as I ate, was included in this #1 meal for only 6 Euros.

Now, because this place is so packed at lunch, I held down an open table for about five minutes while Luke and Paul got their food.  This will become critical to our story soon.
What was this tasty looking dish that they were cooking?

When they returned with their meals that each included what appeared to be a roast beef sandwich made from this large cooking pan near our table.

Sandwich... What Sandwich?

As you can clearly see here, by the time I got back to the table with my lunch, the two sandwiches were just a distant memory.

Now, Paul had read to us on the drive across the island about a signature meat dish that  is served here called "Milza".  They had purchased and consumed a Milza sandwich without really being sure what they were doing, they were ordering based on how the food looked, no problem there from my dining experiences.

So what is Milza?  Milza is a sandwich made of veal spleens and a little veal lungs with a little ricotta cheese.  They actually liked it, go figure.

We ate next to this table of ladies from Messina.

They spoke very good English and were the ones who confirmed what was in those interesting Milza sandwiches.

Vito, honest, the Brains of the Antica Focacceria di San Francesco

The Challenge

After finally getting and quickly consuming one of the best cannolos I've ever had for dessert, I started to feel like an outsider.  I was the only one who had not eaten a Milza sandwich.

By the time we started to leave both Paul and Luke were walking and talking with a bit of cockiness over there new culinary boundaries.

I couldn't take it anymore so I ordered a Milza sandwich to go.  Here you see me about to join the exclusive Milza Sandwich Club.  Though we all ate one of these, I would like it noted that I was the only one who was 100% cognizant of what he was doing at the time of consumption!

The Always Colorful and Fun-Loving
Marx, Engels, Lennin and ?

After lunch, we opted to let the veal spleen digest as we toured Palermo by foot.

We decided that the three of us in one of these would be a little strange so we passed.

An Interesting Door

The Quatro Canti

The main intersection of the oldest part of Palermo, each of the four corners looks similar to this one and each has its own unique fountain.

San Giovanni degli Eremiti

The exterior is Arab-Norman style with one of its signature pink bijoux domes.

The Chiesa di San Cataldo

The interior is full of these gold mosaics.

San Cataldo also has fantastic mosaic floors.

Palermo's Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral

Francesco di Paula, 1416-1507

The founder of the Minims, he was noted for the severe purity and piety of his life.

I think this would be a VERY cool way for Vanessa and Mike to leave Santa Clara Church after their wedding in August! 

What do you think?

DB Manolo, in red and black, covering TE Emanuelle at practice.

Once again we got a lot accomplished in terms of individual technique improvement.  All in all, it was a great road trip!


Anonymous said...

I love it!! Can you find one for us? =)

George said...

If I can get it in my carry-on bag, I'll bring it home.

DPLassen said...

Of course, we eat stuff made with the same sorts of ingredients all the time. We call them hot dogs.

George said...

I've heard of them, I think I had one once at Dodger Stadium.

Laurie said...

One Dodger Dog. Surely you jest. How many was it BEFORE the first pitch? (And you would have had more if you hadn't run out of money!) Tell the truth.

George said...

There may be a LITTLE truth in what you say and the correct answer is "Eight".