Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, October 21-22, 2014
Emile and his wife Imra who are originally from Belgium have been my friends for as much as seven or more years. I first visited them when they lived in the mountains near Trento. Now they live in Liguria between Sestri Levante and Chiavari. Emile works for Italy’s oldest family owned, wood yacht building company Sangermani. His wife Imra who for the moment was in Dallas at a Mom’s in Prayer convention is an Italian leader with the same organization.
In her absence Emile is looking after the five kids (apparently) and dining out with me. We are both foodies and he knows of the most interesting restaurants to visit. He usually finds places that specialize in traditional cuisine you will not likely find anywhere else and such was the case on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
On the first night he took me to a restaurant (Raieu) owned by the same fishing family for four generations. They cook nothing but what they catch on the night and morning before. Some go out and catch it and the others cook it. I was told that it does not get more fresh and authentic than this. We had a little of everything and since the restaurant bears the local dialectic name for Ravioli (Raieu) we had it stuffed with fish and covered in a tomato sauce. This was complimented on another plate by raw anchovies simply soaked in olive oil (it is said in Liguria, “The fish live in the sea but die in the olive oil.”) sprinkled with fresh oregano. Later came out spaghetti covered in steamed shrimps and small mussels in tomato sauce. We were also served up an enormous pile of steamed mussels. In spite of the volume it was exceedingly light and I suffered not a bit of discomfort during the night.
The next night he wanted a report on the meeting of the day in Levanto so he picked me up at 8:30 and took me to another out of the way and traditional restaurant, called Il Polpino. This was more different than anything encountered in Italy. It was something like torta-fritta but served up differently. This came to us as puffy deep fat fried bread with which we were served what might only be described as small, crisp pancakes. The first to show up were pancakes covered with a light,
cheesy cream sauce, the next round the pancakes came served in a tasty, made from scratch tomato sauce, once this was down and taken away, more pancakes arrived covered in a smooth, creamy pesto. These were all small portions but they do begin to take their toll when finally, in comes the killer, a basket of pancakes accompanied by a platter of ham, prosciutto, two varieties of salami, cheese that looked like Brie and one more cheese spread. By now I was pretty much finished but I had one more item to face, pancake dessert with Nutella.