After we went to the Agrigento Temples we headed toward the beach. We were told that we would be having an Italian style, 5-course meal. A sweet couple we met on the tour explained that they had been on one of these tours already and didn’t pace themselves as they ate…by the time the third course came around they had to call it quits and couldn’t eat any of the other delicious platters being served. They made sure to emphasize that pacing yourselves was the only way we would get through the meal.
Let me start off by saying that earlier in the morning my husband and I had a debate about what to wear. I was convinced that we should be wearing some sort of hiking/outdoors outfit. It was going to be hot and both places we were going to seemed to be a trek. My husband suggested that we wear dresses and button up shirts because of the lunch we were having in the middle. I doubted that the restaurant would be THAT fancy so we settled someplace in the middle. When we pulled up to the restaurant I was STUNNED. Never in my life have I been to a place so beautiful. We were absolutely under-dressed!
The restaurant was called the Madison. The owner, dressed in a suite and bowtie, greeted each of us and explained that he loved Americans so much that he decided to name his restaurant after one. Before sitting down to the table he suggested we walk the grounds and look at the view. When you first strode through the gated entrance you walk into a courtyard sprinkled with tropical plants. In the center is a beautiful fountain with trickling water. Off in the distance is a terrace overlooking the ocean. To the right of the courtyard are buildings that the restaurant uses during rainy weather and to the left are intricately designed canopies, covered in free flowing fabric. Each canopy has a large chandelier dangling from its center and tropical plants lining the back walls and hang from the ceiling. At the front of each canopy is a veranda stretching over a jagged cliff of white rock and giving you a perfect view of the turquoise ocean below.
We sat at a long dinner table with more place settings then there were people. If you have not already made the assumption, let me tell you that this restaurant was fancier than any place I have ever been. Each place setting had 3 forks, 3 cups, multiple plates, and various styles of knives. Scattered across the tables were chilled bottles of white wine and the white tuxedoed waiters were pouring champagne as we found our spots. Once we had placed our napkins on our lap, the first course was served. They were small bite sized sandwiches with different seafood and olive fillings. Each bite melted in my mouth. At this moment I knew it would be hard to pace myself!
The timing was amazing. As we were finishing up our first course, quickly the second course was brought out. This was a seafood salad. I have never eaten seafood this fresh! The oysters, octopus, and shrimp were delicious! It was fun to look around the table though and see how many people struggled to continue with this course as they stared at their octopus tentacles. At this point I could feel my stomach getting heavy and we hadn’t even made it to the main courses yet!
Next we were given some sort of rice…I didn’t catch the name. It was delicious and coated in a sauce that was so good I would have drunk it. Around the table people were being served seconds and I could hardly finish my own plate. Luckily, the waiters began to slow down and gave everyone a chance to sit and talk and stand up and mingle along the veranda.
After some time had passed the fourth course, a chicken pasta dish, was served. The noodles were cooked to perfection and the chicken fell apart as you chewed. This may have been my favorite course. At this point in the meal I felt that I would have no problem finishing the meal!
Finally, the main course was served. Again, I didn’t catch the name of the dish. There was squash and potatoes on the side. We also had a breaded chicken sprinkled with peppered cheese. It was delicious but I had truly reached the point where I could eat NO MORE. I started to wonder how others did it….I remembered a history lesson from high school where we were taught that women used to go to the bathroom and stick peacock feathers down their throats just so they could eat with their restricting corset. I opted to sit this course out after taking small samplings from each part.
Just when I thought it was the end of the 5-course meal, the white tuxedos brought out cake and fruit and sorbet ice cream. I sampled a little as the couple teased that I did not pace myself well enough. They then served us coffee as our guide started to hurry us along.
He wanted to make sure that we had time to see the Turkish steps…