Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pollara, another possible There

Another storm blew in a couple of nights ago and completely cleared the air, leaving everything just sparkling. Sweater weather! We are hoping the white-capped sea calms down before we have to leave on Saturday—the folks who run the hydrofoils and ferries are pretty particular about what kind of weather they run their boats in. Last May we sat in Milazzo on mainland Sicily for two days while we waited for the boats to the islands to start running again after a big storm. On Saturday we have to get to Milazzo and then on to Palermo in time for our flight to Milan and Istanbul. Oh well, no worries. We'll get somewhere, sometime.

Pollara is our new favorite place, another candidate for “There” for sure. It’s at the bottom of steep cliffs and is serviced by an hourly bus that stops running for lunch (the drivers break from 2:00 to 4:00) and for the night at 8:00 p.m. So that leaves the place pretty isolated. There are probably 25 houses sprinkled along the plateau above the sea, along with zillions of caper vines, grapes, bougainvillea, fennel, rosemary, cactus, and a bunch of other dry-tropics plants. 

There’s one business in town – L’Oasi – a little shack that serves drinks and Italian sandwiches (well, we didn’t really expect Chinese food, did we?), which we have frequented at least once every day. Today we’re going to have lunch there. Italian sandwiches, what else?

The Oasis--the only game in town
Other than that, there’s the sound of the sea and the wind to keep us entertained. The dog network (one barks and they all start barking). The lone gunman who shoots his gun a couple of times a day—where? At what? We only hear it, never have seen it. Watch the geckos catch bugs at night. Stare at the sunset. Walk down to the beach. Peer at the Aeolian-style houses. Love the sturdy columns and the reed roofs on the verandas. It’s a  pretty awesome place.

Some of the granite choices
Yesterday we took the bus to the other end of the island, a village called Lingua, where Da Alfredo’s coffee and granite bar serves the best granite in the vicinity—everybody recommends it. We had our standard limone, which I order every time because (1) it’s fantastic and (2) I always wish I had ordered it if I order something else. But maybe next time we visit Da Alfredo I’ll break out and try something else. Maybe peach, which is in season here right now and should be delicious.

Da Alfredo is also the best restaurant on the island, so we settled in there for a wonderful afternoon meal. We were happy to pay a little more than usual (100 euros for the two of us) for something different from the standard Sicilian fare, and it was worth describing in a little detail. 
Tuna with fennel and orange peel
We shared a carpaccio trio for an appetizer—little mounds of tuna with fennel and orange peel, prawns with capers and something else, and amberjack (a type of local fish) with salt crystals and mint. I’m not usually a fan of raw prawns, but these were perfectly prepared and delicious. And I finally got some good tuna! Sushi grade, for sure. The mounds were served on big pieces of slate—very chi chi. I followed that with a wide, tube-shaped pasta with ground up calamari (tasted like sausage from the sea), pistachios, and a light pesto sauce, and John had amberjack in a light sauce of Sicilian red wine and other stuff. A side order of eggplant and zucchini caponata, with a sweet-and-sour taste reminiscent of good Chinese sweet-and-sour, local white wine, sparkling water, and espresso rounded out the meal. I could get used to eating well!

Pesto, pistacchio, and ground calamari over tube pasta

Amberjack in red wine
We also came across an interesting cultural event in Malfa, the town over the hill from us (where we spent a week last year). There’s a little international documentary film festival going on there this week, and it's free. It has drawn a different crowd (if you can call 100 people a crowd) than the usual denizens of sleepy Malfa. Lots of grungy jeans, scarves wrapped around necks (on both men and women), slouchy artiste clothes. Women wearing jewelry. We walked by the entrance to the theater just before the first film of the festival started so were luckily able to take it in – it was a film about the members of a gang in Milan called Latin King. The dialogue was all in Italian (naturally), but we could follow it in general terms. Will try to catch another film tomorrow and get another Italian infusion.I have some thoughts on traveling in a country where you don’t really speak the language, but I’ll save them for another time.
The Pollara church. Open on Sundays.

No comments:

Post a Comment