I did go to bed pretty early, though, because Gillian and I had a culinary extravaganza planned for today!
But I did keep having deja vu all day! With all of the palm trees and the bipolar weather, I was sure that we must be in the Sunshine State. In reality, we were in Livorno, which is so much better than Florida (sorry).
Gillian and Sam actually went to Livorno over spring break, but since I missed the trip and really wanted to try cacciuco (you'll see what that is later...), Gillian agreed to go with me again (what a sport!).
The last time Gillian came to this place, they were unfortunately out of cacciuco, which is a typical Livornese dish. I thought that we had heard good things about it, but looking back, it seems like most people just wanted us to try it..not necessarily because it was delicious. Somewhere down the line I had gotten the idea that it was a soup (think Mario's and Sergio's). I was very, very, VERY wrong, and after they brought out this dish, I was in shock for the rest of the meal. Heck, I'm still in shock!
It turned out to be a kind of...um...well...a seafood stew, if you will. But like mystery stew. You had no idea what you were getting when you pulled something out. And there was an entire, large shrimp sitting on top of the whole thing, staring at me. It still had its claws. The entire dish was coated in this thick, almost barbeque-y sauce.
This dish was an experience. This is the kind of thing I came to Italy for: to experience the culture. And cacciuco is definitely full of cultural value (and octopus. I probably ate the entirety of Ursula from The Little Mermaid). Gillian and I could not stop laughing the entire time we were eating this...it was the kind of meal you never forget. I really don't know what else to say about it, except that it wasn't bad...it is just something I'll probably never order again.
After we picked through the...um....stew, the waiter brough us each a GIANT shot of limoncello, which is typically served as an post-meal aperitif, to aid in digestion. I have tried limoncello several times before this, but I decided to give it one last shot. Plus, I kind of wanted to wash the taste of octopus out of my mouth. (Kidding.)
After lunch, we were both EXTREMELY full (despite my ragging on the cacciuco, we did some serious damage). We walked toward the harbor, since, like I said, Livorno is a port city.
We probably walked around the city for a good hour and a half (there may or may not have been some gelato...) before heading back to the train station. Look how pretty!