29 March 2013

To the Sicilians: the family diary at La Brace


We went out for a walk in Cefalù after we'd gotten a bit settled at B&B Villa Cerniglia. The B&B is out in the newer part of town but not far from the centro storico. The picture above was taken from the balcony of our room at the "Jersey Shore" hotel, looking toward the centro.

As we headed toward the cathedral, we passed Ristorante La Brace. Christie said she'd seen it in the listings when she was researching before we left the States. It was highly rated and the reviews had indicated a reservation might be necessary. It was way too early to have supper in Sicily so we kept walking up to the cathedral and had our Campari and sodas in a bar on the cathedral plaza. While we were sitting there, the Saint Joseph's Day parade started and we watched it and then stood at the back of the cathedral for a while during the special mass.

Afterwards, we meandered a bit and then headed for the restaurant. It was still a little early but they were ready to seat people so we entered and the young man seated us near a blind arched opening with some memorabilia.

We ordered our acqua gassata and mezzo of house red wine. I noticed that one of the items in the display of memorabilia was a journal and that it was in Dutch. The next time the waiter came over, I asked about it. He told us he had noticed that I was reading things in Dutch and that the journal was his father's. The family had moved from Maastricht to Cefalù after the Second World War. He opened the journal on the table in front of us and told us a little of the family history. We enjoyed looking through it some more. (P.S. I don't KNOW Dutch but I know it when I see it.)

We had chicken liver as antipasto (yummy), with rabbit and veal rolls as secondi piatti. As we ate, it was fun to hear the waiter talking to his mother in a mix of Dutch and Italian. "Nee, nee, mama." Good food, great stories, and Christie had a Florio Amaro after-dinner drink, recommended by the waiter. I had my caffè normale.

When we got back to Palermo, I walked over to the Villa Florio, designed by Ernesto Basile. Wonderful Italian art nouveau (Liberty).

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