Friday, July 21, 2017

Ke Palle(WHAT BALLS!) for luscious lunch and La Cabusa for delicious dinner in Palermo, Sicily (7-20-17)

We had a great tour in Palermo which was all day but interspersed with some foodie treats, tops of which was Ke Palle, which literally is Sicilian for "What Balls!" and is unquestionably the best place for arancini on the entire island. Arancini are basically fired rice balls, but here they are taken to new heights and some are monstrous in various shapes. Ke Palle has dozens of flavors savory and sweet(like Nutella) and we were all thrilled as they have so many options even for vegetarians and vegans. Samuel had the Quattro Formaggi loaded with tasty gooey cheeses, while Will had a ham and cheese and I went for the Gamberoni con Pistacchi which was a ball stuffed with gorgeous shrimp as well as a rich pistachio pesto cream and then also topped with some of the luscious cream for extra decadence(see FB). OMG! This is a not to be missed experience.
For dinner, we headed back downtown to the quaint and quiet Piazza Marina to La Cambusa, which had been recommended by numerous folks. The setting is very nice on a huge square and by 830pm it was simply a space for the famous passagiato, locals strolling in the late afternoon/early evening. We ordered a bottle of Alessandro de Camporeale 2016 Grillo Vigna de Mandranova which was super refreshing with our starters.
Will had the Triloga Sicula (Sicilian trilogy) of Caponata di Spada (swordfish), Polpette di Sarde (fried Sardine balls) and Caicocavallo in Carozza, the local cheese battered and fried. It was a huge portion, rich and enjoyable as well. My Cozze e Vongole was a huge bowl of saute clams and mussels with superb seasoning, white wine and lemon (no garlic, Sicilians are not big on garlic). The clams were tiny and reminded me of Manila clams, tasty and petite.
Sam had a huge gorgeous Kalamanna Salad of lettuce, tomato, radish, mozzarella, arugula and parm which he loved with a side of fires.
He followed that with a Ravioli di magro con crema di melnzane, pomodoro e ricotta salata, which were veggie raviolis in Eggplant cream sauce with ricotta.
Our pasta was another shared portion, this time Cavatelli con Pesto di fave, mandorle, cozze e tuma fresca which was a completely new dish which had a yummy fava bean-almond pesto with mussels and fresh tuma cheese which was a salty pecorino type shredded on top. The mussels were nice, but it was the crunchy almonds that made the dish so special. It seems the best almonds come from Avola, also famous for the Nero d'Avola grape.
We moved on to a bottle of Dei Principe Spadafora from Don Pietro in nearby Monreale 2014 which was a superb blend of Nero d'Avola, Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon that was full bodied but went superbly with our two fish dishes. The locals drink red with fish often and we decided it was time to blend in.
Will had the Branzino (sea bass) con patate e scromorza affuimicata su crema di piselli which was another wonderful piece of fresh fish with potatoes, smoked cheese and pea puree. My Filleti di orate farciti con pomodoro, caciocavallo ed olive was a wonderful dorado or sea bream which was stuffed with tomato, the superb local caciocavallo cheese and olives for salt. YUM.
The dishes were large, but not overpowering and we had such an enjoyable meal that we felt perhaps one last dessert was in order as tonight we must eat, rush home and get to bed early to fly onwards.
Will tried the crème brulee which was more like flan and I loved the simple refreshing and ice cold Pistachio Semifreddo.
Our only issue here was that we did ask for venti minuti (20 minutes) between the pasta and main course, and it appeared in less than 5! So much for repeatedly telling them we like to eat lentamente.....