Mmmmmm is for Makkeroni

Aug 28, 2008

One of the things I love about living in Playa del Carmen is that lots of Italian people live here, too. No, I don't speak Italian, but I do love to hear them sing/shout at each other and pick out what similarities Italian and Spanish have, but it's more than that. It's the food. Mmmmm, the yummy Italian food.

I guess my love of Italian food started when I worked at the best Italian restaurant in Charlotte, Mama Ricottas. Before I worked there I wasn't a big fan of Italian. I wasn't a big cheese person and I didn't really like pasta. I think it's because I only knew spaghetti and meat sauce like I was served at home and at friends' houses. I had never known the joys of pesto sauce or tomato cream.

I further expanded my Italian food horizons when I lived in northern NJ. In New Jersey they have developed their own twist on Italian food, as well as their own dialect for talking about it. The dialect was always most amusing to me. Having talked to Italians from Italy about how they pronounce Italian words, Jersey's Mutzarel for Mozarella and Managot for Manacotti made me smile even more. I soon caught on and started saying Lasan for Lasagne and Canole for Cannoli, apparently these are not the same... Warning- never try to tell a Jersian that they don't pronounce it right, they would even try to correct an Italian!

Anyway, in Jersey I enjoyed garlic knos (that's Jersian for garlic knots- see what I did there? Man, am I funny) and fresh mozzarella as well as crusty Italian breads. I also learned about grilled calamari (they call it calamat there) over mixed greens, mmm to die for.

I guess that people the world over love Italian food. I remember reading somewhere that it was the most popular ethnic food in the world. So it should come as no surprise that I was happy to find great Italian food in Mexico, go figure!

There are several good Italian places to eat in here, Makkeroni just happens to be close to our house and we really enjoy eating there weekly. We like eating there so much that I finally reviewed it for Playa Eats, where I write reviews of restaurants in Playa del Carmen.

One thing is for sure, Italian food travels. Maybe it's because one of Italy's biggest exports over the last 100 years has been its people. I have seen Italian restaurants in almost every country I have visited. Do you have a favorite Italian restaurant in Playa?


1st Mate said...

So what kind of cheese is that on the tomatoes? Looks like cream cheese, or the Mexican equivalent.

CancunCanuck said...

Mmmm, Italian! I grew up in an area with a lot of Italian immigrants, good food was never far away. Moving to Toronto as a "grown up", it just got better, I had my absolute favourites close at hand and ready for delivery. I would order anti pasto at least twice a week from Amato in Toronto, prosciutto, melon, mozzarella, artichokes, roasted red pepperes....mmm, ok now I am homesick, lol!

There is a little store here in Cancun that imports GOOD Italian products, I slip in there occasionally for some fresh (frozen) mozzarella, good sauce and lovely Italian wines. I can't afford it often, but it sure is a treat when I can!

We rarely ever go out to eat, but I do enjoy Rolandi's for Italian when we do. I like the one downtown, right near the ceviche, yummers!

mexpat said...

Mate- It's fresh mozzarella! We were so excited when we found a place that serves it. It's sort of like Oaxaca cheese, but with a much milder flavor. I have forced Oaxaca cheese to act like mozzarella, but it's not really the same.

Canucka- Rolandi's, huh? I think there's a Rolandi's at Paseo del Carmen here in Playa. I've been told that they have killer pizzas.

Cat said...

Garlic knots are a funny thing...the first time I had them was in Jersey. I have never seen them in Italy. Are they really Italian or American Italian?

Anonymous said...

You have made me hungry. I think I'll make a hugh pot of pasta sauce tonight. Me (being Italian .. grandparents came over on the boat) of course this is my favorite food. And I agree with Kelly, Windsor has some great Italian restaurants. My Fav in Cancun is La Dulce Vita ..
KW from Michigan