My hockey teammates have a ritual of going out to get food after practice during the week. Keep in mind that our practices usually end around 11pm. This is another example of the difference in culture in that most Americans dont have a regular midnight meal. 🙂 One of the favorite spots is La Banchina where we get a delicious Pane Condito. Pane Condito translates to “Seasoned Bread”, but the reality is that its a huge doughnut shaped sandwich that is thrown in the pizza oven. You have all different options in terms of the contents of the sandwich that range from all the usual Italian suspects like pomodoro, prosciutto crudo, salame, and mozzarella. Pictures of menu are below.
You can find many places that serve Pane Condito around Sicily and the Catania area. La Banchina (Translates to “the pier”) is located just outside of downtown Catania (Via del rotolo 42, Catania) My teammates seem to prefer this particular place and I can see why. The Pane Condito has a great balance of flavor between the bread and the fillings. If I need to be rolled off the plane when I return back to the States 300 lbs. heavier, this will probably be one of the reasons. When in Sicily right?
There is a place that we drove by everyday on our commute home that would be filling the air with tons of smoke and great scents of barbecue. We always tried to pinpoint where this smoke was coming from. First its tough because at the same time Im trying to avoid multiple cars trying to run me off the road… and for kicks a few double occupied cell phone talkers on vespas squeezing in between the Mario Andrettis around me. Second its tough to pinpoint these places because they are very elusive. There are no signs or distinguishable features from one building to the next for the most part. Not like in the States where you have a very well lit sign and a corresponding parking lot. One day it was clear as day when we saw the big Red Devil outside… next was trying to find parking.
The Red Devil as we call it (and come to find out other people call it this as well) is a Sicilian style fast food place. No seating available. Glass cases filled with all sorts of very good looking food.. all to go. The star of the show are the rotisserie chickens that they cook right outside by the red devil. These chickens blow away the Costco chickens with some extra flavoring that I couldn’t figure out right away, but I found in the cavity of the bird after eating. So for those of you with the Costco chickens as a staple of your American diet we got you covered out here… all without the annoying oversized shopping carts and 3 lb jugs of mayonnaise. You just have to walk in and say ” Un pollo!” and your good to go for 4 or 5 euro. I also got the artichokes, which are growing in many of the farmlands around our work location. It was a great combo that I recommend trying at the Red Devil.
Below are the pictures from my first time in the Red Devil, we have been back a couple times since.
Staying local we went to a casual seafood place near us called Zu Maru. We pass this place everyday on our way to work and it always seemed like a popular place. They also have a fresh seafood market next door that looks really good. Definitely a great little spot.
I don’t see the monotonous and bland interior, nor do I see the random mystery stains on the tables or on the attached plastic chairs.
Okay I guess the Italians got it right with all the design work on the interior, but the food can’t be as good right? I’m a somewhat embarrassed American when I say that their food is actually better… and to add insult to injury… they serve Peroni beer!
There are a few McDonalds in the area, two of which are brand new. The brand new McDonalds are near a couple of recently built malls that are also very nice. ( Centro Sicilia and Etnapolis) Jess is a big fan of these malls.
I know this seems ridiculous to have a post about McDonalds of all places, but the McDonalds here are unbelievable. I hope that this is a trend that continues with new McDonalds back in the States. Its a completely different experience. With these Sicilian McDonalds I’m actually proud to say that I’ve been a McDonalds shareholder for some time. It’s a great way for us to get a taste of being back home in America with an Italian flair.
We almost feel proud to be American when we go in and see the Italians enjoying. It feels like our own home field in Sicily… its fun to order the food knowing that we are saying it correctly for a change. No Francesco… it’s not “Chess Borgor” …. its “Cheeseburger” 🙂