Monday, February 16, 2009
SICILIAN SOUL FOOD
One of my favorite places to eat is La Medusa, a Sicilian restaurant in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle. This weekend, we ate there with my parents and had a wonderful meal. My father is Sicilian and my mother is Calabrese (from the toe of the boot) and they're both excellent cooks. Not your typical rubes, they won't have the wool pulled over their eyes by a merely trendy eatery, and they will happily let you know if the meal isn't up to par.
For starters, we had bacala--salt cod fritters--and "grandmas's greens" in warm garlic anchovy broth, pine nuts, olives, raisins. Then we ate perciatelli con le sarde, a signature dish of Sicily, pasta with caramelized fennel & onions, sardines, saffron, pine nuts, olives, and raisins. We also had orecchiette ("ears") pasta with brussels sprouts, taleggio fonduta, spicy Italian sausage, and truffle oil. Everything was cooked to perfection and made with fresh, seasonal foods from local markets--just as it would be in Sicily.
Sicilian Street Food
We drank Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo between bites and talked about our trip to Italy in the spring, and my folks gave us plenty of great recommendations of must-eat-at-spots scattered throughout the boot. Do you detect a theme here? In Italy, they take food very seriously. You can eat in ristorantes, osterias, trattorias, caffes, enotecas, paninotecas, pizzerie, bars, and Autogrills. If you don't get good food, you only have yourself to blame. Of course, it's not just food--there is a world of history and art and architecture to attend to--the underpinnings of western civilization--but food and drink is part of that, and more than just fuel.
At La Medusa, the food was excellent. Dad said the pasta con le sarde was better than he had in Sicily. That's high praise indeed. La Medusa is a lively neighborhood spot run by foodies, but if you're looking for a typical checkered tablecloth, spaghetti and meatballs Italian eatery look elsewhere--this is Sicilian soul food. Go there.
La Medusa, 4857 Rainier Avenue South, 206.723. 2192
Check the menu here.