I’m not alone in the expat world when it comes to missing American goodies. Some expat bloggers show pictures of themselves munching away on the things they miss (presumably to make the rest of us jealous). Some shamelessly boast their goodies and showcase their love notes (Again…jealousy)! While, still others post helpful recipes to help us charge through the cravings. (Grazie mille!)

But, quick!

Can anyone name the one thing YOU think I miss most about Texas??

(Friends and family don’t count!)
 Minute up!

You got it!

Well, my blogmates, the search has ended.

A few days ago, Peppe came home and announced, “Cicina, I found a Mexican Restaurant!”

“Actually,” he continued, “It is a Pub/Pizzeria/Messicana place! We’ll go tomorrow night!”

And, bless his heart…he was sooo excited. Not for himself, as you may remember, but because he knows I have been on a never-ending search for the ultimate taco. Or, fajita. Or, and even and more importantly, actually, the ultimate margarita!

But, a Pub/Pizzeria/Mexican Restaurant?? I was skeptical!

All day I fought the urge to think of chips and homemade salsa. When the wayward quesadilla made its way into my thoughts – I pushed through. I would not let myself become overly anxious.

“At the very least we’ll eat a good pizza,” became my daytime mantra.

“I will not get too excited…I will not get too excited…I will not…”

As we approached the restaurant, I began looking for signs that Calabrese natives could produce guacamole.

I saw this.

“An American flag,” I squealed! “That is a good sign!”

We parked the car and upon walking towards the Pub/Pizzeria/Mexican Restaurant, this advertisement greeted us.

“LATIN NIGHTS. Another good sign!”

And, around the corner!

“I’m home, baby!”

We are offered a balcony table underneath a cute, thatched roof.

She hands us a menu.

Still worried, I open it with apprehension. I am afraid to look down.

But, Pep isn’t, so he boldly announces….”They have it!”

And, indeed they do.

And, this very tiny picture shows a sampling of their offerings.

YES – you are reading that correctly. Quesadillas – 20 Euro!

After I picked myself off the floor we made our decision…chips, salsa, and a mixed grilled plate. Peppe orders a Heineken.

“Do you have margaritas?” I ask the server (who just happened to have lived in Pennsylvania for 10 years.)

“He can make you one,” she answers with a smile as she hands us our chips and salsa.

See that white “powder” on the chips? It isn’t salt. Can you guess what it is? It is grated parmesan cheese!

Ladies and gentlemen…here she is. My friend, Rita!

We felt an “instant connection.”

Seriously, the owner “Joe” made the best margarita I have had in Italy, comparable even to some in the states.

When I complimented his bartending…he sent out another one! On the house!

“It doesn’t matter what anything else tastes like,” I giddily told Peppe. “I am drinking a margarita and eating chips. I am home!”

Which was just as well, since the food (in all actuality) wasn’t really Mexican. It was, however, Mexican’esque…which worked for me!

A potato-half covered bruschetta-style with
black beans, corn, and tomatoes.

A chili-filled burrito.

About halfway through our meal, I turn around to see…

Now isn’t that just perfect?

As we pay our conto, I admire the restaurant interior.

Yes, my friends. The search has ended.

And, I’ve been found.

21 Responses
  1. j

    Hmmmm…you do look at home holding that Margarita. But I still wonder why there are no Mexican restaurants in Italy. There seemed to be plenty of Chinese restaurants when I was there.

  2. Jeff Gromen

    Excellent, I may have to come all the way down there for this place! I have bought “El Paso” salsa and chips several times at the supermarket because sometimes you just need it.

  3. Michellanea

    Mexican food is the food I miss the most! Though I make it at home and it turns it pretty well. I grow cilantro in my garden and can actually get jalapenos up here, so that makes for salsa cruda. If I thought I would get there with Poste Italiane, I’d send you some salsa cruda made from ingredients in my garden. From that I’m also able to make guacamole! There are a few Mexican restaurants up here (actually quite a few) but it’s just not the same. They also sell some “Mexican” items in the grocery but, strangely, the brand is Uncle Ben’s! Who knew Uncle Ben made Mexican? I don’t think any Texan would buy tortillas made by the instant rice man. 🙂

  4. cheeky

    Oh how I love Mexican. Now I’m not sure about Tex-mex but I do love me some authentic Mexican, and even some variations on the oh-so-yummy cuisine.
    having lived in So Cal for many years, one is easily spoiled with all the choices here. I can imagine the same being in Texas with having such a huge Mexican influence.
    I can relate to missing this food. Living overseas, Mexican was the one thing that was never recreated quite right.
    The evening sounded fun and how sweet of your Peppe.

  5. Cherrye

    Why, thank you, Michelle. We were very happy together.

    J – ha ha…I looked comfy, didn’t I? I wonder the same thing. There are chinese restaurants, but I dont know how they stay in business. No one is EVER there!

    Thanks, Suz!

    Nadine! I am glad to have found it, too. Now I won’t drive Peppe crazy whining about Messicana!

    Jeff – They have “El Paso” chips in Brindisi? Cause, like Michellanea said, too, I have only seen Uncle Bens.

    Michellanea – I am sorry to disappoint. I have eaten the UB’s chips and salsa. The salsa (and the cheese-type dip) is tragico. But, the chips are ok. I hope they will let me back in Texas when I try to go home! Growing your own cilantro is a great idea. I’ll have to try that.

    Louise – Thanks. It was really GOOD!

    NYC – It was love at first site (or, should I say, SIP)

    Cheeky – It WAS sweet of him. He was really excited for me, but I know he was disappointed in the fod. I have friends coming at the end of the week with taco seasoning and processed cheese!

  6. Giulia

    How tacky Cherrye… to show oneself eating or drinking things they miss from back home! Pffffft, I would never do such a thing! *snort…lol…snort*

    OK, I will bring Doritos with me if you show me where this place is if/when I make my way on down there to (hopefully) stay in your B&B one day! Deal? 😉 Did they put sour cream on any of your food? I would have my Mom send sour cream in my next care package but I don’t think it would fare well during the trip! lol
    *sigh* Sour cream… me miss molto!

  7. american girl in italy

    If you ever come to Bergamo, I will take you to one of the two mex restaurants here. Theya re both very good, and have fajitas! Even shrimp ones! Salsa, gaucamole sour cream, the works!

    I also make mexican a lot at home. Of course, it is always better at a restaurant, but I do make some pretty good fajitas, chicken enchiladas, and tacos! :OD

  8. Calabrisella

    Piacere di conoscerla…
    My famiglia is from Cinquefrondi…. I try to visit at least once a year …like i’ve been doing for the past 6 years…but this years plans changed 🙁 which is fine… they got substituted by a really cool road trip all over the west coast, this Aug…..
    I miss calabria a lot.. specially my famiglia…
    Luckily my fidanzato is also italian … from Frosinone… so when we’re there we kill two birds w/ one stone…(not literatly)…visiting our famiglie in Italia…

    How about you? what took you to Italia?
    do you often visit E.E.U.U.?

    If your ever in L.A. look me up … ill try to show you around to my best knowledge…

    Ci vediamo



    pd: i <3 your blogs!

  9. avery

    I am sooooo jealous. What I wouldn’t do for some good Mexican food. Although I’m not sure about that parmigiano on the tortilla chips. You look quite the happy chica with that margarita.

  10. cheeky

    Oh noooo . . . . processed cheese! Let me guess? Velveeta? Am I right? If so, I’m guessing it’s a Texan thing. LOL Are they bringing Dr. Pepper as well?

  11. Cherrye

    Miss Tango – the potato was pretty good! 🙂

    G – I have NO idea what you are talking about! lol

    Calabrisella – What do you miss most being in LA?

    American girl – I WILL take you up on that! I asked Peppe how far it was! lol. I just got a shipment of taco seasoning and some off-brand velvetta…I will be good for a while!

    Avery – You are right about the parmesan on the chips. Cheese on chips does not a nacho make!! The rita made it all worth while, though!!

    Cheeky – ha ha! It is actually OFF-BRAND velvetta!! lol…I am busted. I didnt know velvetta was a TX thing!! Luckily, I am not a big DP fan, so I can go without without feeling deprived.

    Delina – Rita and I are planning our next girl’s night! Who’s in??

  12. Calabrisella

    OH! thats a tough one…EVERYTHING! especially mia nonna…miei cugini…Miei Zii… Gli amici..il cibo… tutti! mi manchi!

    but now… after 6 years… finally getting the hang of things here…
    i bet i’ll miss it here too when i leave…

    what do you miss the most? (other than the food.):-D

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