That refers to, of course, Italian food!
I spent a lovely summer studying abroad in Taormina, a gorgeous small town located on the mountainous coast of Sicily.
This view was a short tram (or steep walk) down from my hotel:
And this is what my home for the summer of 2005 looked like from above...
I was tan. I gained 15 pounds from all the carbs I consumed. I learned to love wine and I was conversational in Italian. (I bought those earrings and shoes while I was there! I wear the largest shoe size offered in all of Italy. Yep.)
And of course, I found the 4 pugs in Taormina and said "ho lo stesso cane" or something similar but incorrect to tell them I had a pug as well (Oliver, my first pug, living with my Mom and sisters at the time.)
There are probably posters up in Sicily still... "WANTED: crazy American woman who attacks Italian pugs with kisses and takes photos with them while speaking poor Italian."
This experience, plus the experience of living in heavily Italian New Jersey most of my life, has made me a bit of an Italian food purist. I never had Olive Garden until my senior year of college. I am super-picky about my pizza. So when we went to check out Buca di Beppo for a possible after-ceremony-dinner location, I was skeptical.
Oh hello, half pound meatball. Are you here to prove me wrong? Yes. Yes you are.
This picture was one of the 293823423 on their walls and is pretty much what I looked like while consuming the giant meatball. Or just the 1/3 or so of it I could manage.
We had an amazing meal and some great wine. After eating, the events manager took us around to show us the rooms we could use. It was a freaking maze in there!
This room was my favorite, and will hold up to 65. There are booths on the left but it's mostly tables.
There was also a large L-shaped room that could hold up to 200, but we would need 80 to use it.
This is Mr Pug, on the other end of the room, willing me to take the freaking picture already!
There were people eating in the third room, so I took this picture off their website- this is the Pope's Table, which has two smaller adjoining areas to hold 80 plus total.
So, I guess we need to figure out how many people from our immediate family and wedding party will make it! (Basically, the people there will be people who you'd invite to a rehearsal dinner- very close family and any friends involved in the wedding, and their dates.) There are a few menu options and drink options to work through, but I think this location will be the best option for us. There aren't ANY room rental fees, and while we still will be paying the 20% (tip instead of the service charge) we won't have the other fees like bartenders, or have to tip on top of it all.
If any of you are having a smaller wedding, I'd suggest looking into your nearest Buca! I was shocked at the L-shaped room- she said that they could set it up with a DJ and dance floor! This isn't what we're going for now, but if you had a smaller guest list and wanted an affordable reception option, it would be really do-able. It needs little to no decorating and you know the food will be good!
I'm excited to wow the few family members who can make it to our wedding with this great Italian food. Are you incorporating any important elements of your past into your wedding, either through food or otherwise?