Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trattoria Paranza

Graziella and I had the idea a few weeks ago that we should go out to eat together some Saturday night.  It's not uncommon for us to join them for a Sunday lunch at their house (since they traditionally have a large family meal on that day), but we've never gone out anywhere together.  She was excited about the idea and wanted Maurizio to take us to his favorite fish restaurant in Catania. (they are also one of his customers!)

And so as planned, Mauro pulled up to our door in their black Mercedes at 9pm (we had the kids tucked in and Santa was watching them) and we headed for the city...unsure how we were going to handle the next 4 hours in only Italian and quite curious about what interesting seafood adventures were awaiting us at Trattoria Paranza.

Antipasti: Pesce Crudo (Translation - RAW FISH - i.e. "Italian Sushi")  I would not be exaggerating if I told you that it took me almost 30 minutes to eat this plate of fish.  I had to eat each bit with a piece of bread so as to make sure it went down all the way.  (NOTE: this plate was one serving)
In addition to the pesce crudo, we were also served ostrica (raw oysters) as part of the antipasti.  I managed to eat one...I think Josh ate two at Graziella's request.  You see, there's a very delicate balance between not looking like you're gagging something down and not complimenting something too much.  The former would just be rude, but the latter inevitably means that Mauro will order more for you. (this is a big problem for me - it's that Robin Woodworth-style enthusiasm that gets me in trouble every time)  Actually with a little salt and lemon juice, it wasn't bad..still, for me, one was enough. 
We were joined by church friends of the DiStefanos.  The husband was very sweet and tried to use English words whenever he could!  He was also quite happy to keep the Prosecco flowing...he asked me to take this picture. 
Primi: (first course) Pesce Fritto - big fish, little, fish addition to pulpi (octopus), calamari (squid) and gamberi (shrimp).  Mauro noticed that I was picking out the little fried bits of octopus and ordered me a whole plate of my own (little did he now that I was doing that because it had the best "fried" to fish/bones ratio...see what I mean!)
Secondi:  Pasta e' Risotto con Frutti di Mare - Wish I wasn't quite so full, as this course was fantastic...I was starting to feel a bit woozy thinking about all the other things "swimming" around in my stomach so I had to take it pretty slow.  They almost served us another course when this was done, but I really felt like I was about to explode so fortunately this was the last course for the evening. 
A big thanks to Mauro (far right) who treated us all and was a lovely host for our big Sicilian night on the town.  We are so thankful and blessed by their friendship and kindnesses to us. 
The kids lucked out too.  Our new tradition is to serve them smoothies and fun sides for dinner when we're going out to eat.  A cool idea I got from my cousin Emily.  :)

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