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A very nostalgic dinner...

I don't usually wax poetic about what I eat. Tonight, I make an exception.

I went to dinner at Settebello, where they serve authentic Neapolitan pizza. Having lived in Naples for about 18 months, and having eaten pizza all over Italy, I feel like I'm both qualified and allowed to pass judgment. My assessment:

Holy Flapping Scrith, That Was Good!



I had a "Quattro Stagioni", which basically means 4 Seasons - 4 different sections, with kalamata olives, mushrooms, and two different types of sausage. Followed with a pistachio gelato that transported me to the 7th level of Heaven and back. Followed by much reminiscing about Naples.

Naples is a city of thieves. It's also a city of artists, musicians, directors, singers, lovers, writers, players, fishermen, hard workers, cameo makers, rum babas, fortune tellers, used shoes, sali e tabacchi, public letter writers, ceramic geniuses, St. Gennaro of the Old Faithful Blood, The Sansevero Chapel, carnevale, and pizza. Never forget pizza, which can only be had in Naples. Everything else is a poor mockery by comparison. The heart of Italy's mezzogiorno - conquered and re-conquered so many times that it didn't know whether to speak Latin, Greek, Turkish or Klingon and settling finally on Neapolitan, which makes Finnish seem like child's play - Naples has been synonymous with poverty since the Cumaeans built Neapolis in the 7th century BC. And poverty does strange things to people. It breeds crime, but it also breeds inventiveness. It makes people do strange things to survive, and it also makes them philosophers. It robs them of hope, but puts a song in their hearts.




"Pizza is a poor man's food, a foccacia with oil and tomatoes. In times of economic well-being, every 'trattore' adds his secret - one or more ingredients. But the real secret is in the way the pizza is eaten. In front of a fragrant pizza, every Neapolitan holds off the bite of the chronic, ancestral hunger of the city. The secret is all there." (Napoli - La Citta' Parla)


Pizzaiolo


Pizzeria


Trattoria "Da Zio Vincenzo o Piscatore"


The owners


Naples from the Bay


The Amalfi Coast - Street Scene


The Galleria


USS Cascade (AD-16) and some of the destroyers it serviced as part of Service Force 6th Fleet.


People as old as Vesuvius, living by their wits and sheer tenacity, most of them good people surviving in an environment of bureaucratic complexity that makes the concept of "earning an honest living" the stuff of street theatre.

"See Naples and Die", they used to say. Nowadays we like to joke about not making it out of the city alive, but shed the tourist's dress... learn a bit of the language... worm your way under the skin of the city and begin to see it as the locals do... and one finds that there is indeed much to sing about.

At night, when the city has a chance to reflect on itself, in the all-night sidewalk cafes of Mergellina and the open-air bars, the Neapolitans trade ideas, feelings, customs, sentiments, and habits. "This is a city of apathetic people!" "No, pessimists!" "People are lazy here..." "Our laziness is the brain..." "Too much brains..." "Brains and heart..." "The heart, that's our curse..." (Napoli - La Citta' Parla)

Evviva Napoli!

(And if you're ever in Salt Lake, with a hankering for real Neapolitan pizza, eat at Settebello!


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Comments

alaskawolf
Jan. 9th, 2009 11:34 am (UTC)
sounds like some good pizza pie oh my :)
deckardcanine
Jan. 9th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'll go there on my second visit to Italy.
secoh
Jan. 9th, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
Excellent!
This was something that amazed me on my trips to the US, England and scandinavia...I couldn't get a decent pizza! (or decent coffee - at least in the US).

note to self, next time in US must go to Seattle for pizza.
ccdesan
Jan. 10th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
Seattle? I'm in Salt Lake... Oi! 'Ow would you like it if I confused Brisbane with Bendigo?

Although if you really have a jones to see Seattle, I'd bet you could get the real thing here.

secoh
Jan. 10th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
arrgh! sorry, I do know that, just a brain-fart on my part.
ccdesan
Jan. 10th, 2009 08:41 am (UTC)
Didn't really spit the dummy, just rattlin' yer chain.
secoh
Jan. 10th, 2009 08:55 am (UTC)
Yeah I know, I am just annoyed with myself because it's the sort of thing I stir people about all the time! Karma *sigh*

Anyway, it's only like a 4 hour drive or something from SLC to Seattle!! Practically walking distance! :-P
ccdesan
Jan. 10th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Right! We can make the hike together someday when you come over.
r_caton
Jan. 10th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
Funny, I was thinking pizza this evening.....

Good pizza? I look forward to making close acquaintance some day.
secoh
Jan. 10th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, found a picture of Swedish pizza...I put it on photobucket

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x289/SpamDragon/pizzasmall.jpg


here's a good Aussie gourmet pizza place, though there's plenty like it. Much more indicative of small-shop pizza here.

http://www.bluewaterpizza.com.au/photos.html
ccdesan
Jan. 10th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
OK, BlueWaterPizza looks downright tempting - very similar to a place here - at least, they used to make pizza like that. Of late, sadly, they've cut way back on their toppings, and I don't think they'll be in business much longer.

But that Swedish pizza... It looks like they picked it out of a field where some very ill moose were living.

Edited at 2009-01-10 06:24 pm (UTC)
secoh
Jan. 11th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
ya that's what we thought too. But we were hungry. Ended up rolling it up into the world's most disgusting kebab.


If I ever make it over there again I will definitely be trying Settebello!

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