Thursday, July 19, 2012
If our first beach day in Positano was all about ease and comfort, our second beach day was a bit more adventurous. Gillian kept saying we were going to the ‘hippy’ beach. When I tried to pin her down about what made it ‘hippy’ all she could come up with was the fact that is wasn’t like the fancy hotel-run beaches like San Pietro. And that the main reason to head to this beach was for the restaurant.
Sounded good to me.
We strolled down to the dock next to the Spiaggia Grande and waited for the shuttle boat. It’s really easy to spot the boat, since it has a cute red fish nailed to the mast. Although there is another boat which goes back and forth to Laurito (that’s the name of the cove) make sure you get on the Red Fish (you’ll understand why in a minute)
One of the best parts about heading out of Positano by boat is the chance to see the town from the sea. It’s hard to keep your sense of direction when you’re actually in the town, and to really understand what all those steps are all about.
The five minute boat ride also allowed us to spy on some incredible private villas, as well as some the of fanciest hotels around (the aforementioned San Pietro for instance) hanging on for dear life along the cliffs.
As we approached Laurito, I saw a large blue and white building. “Pretty fancy for a hippy beach” I said. “No,” said Gillian, “We’ve reserved at that shack to the right.”
And here’s the most important bit of information about beaching it at Laurito. Get on the Red Fish boat, which will take you to Da Adolfo, the stabilimento that looks more like a shack. Do not get on the other boat (I think it has a white crab or fish or something) because then you will miss one of the best meals of your trip.
Everyone else seemed to know this too, since the lettini at Adolfo were packed to the gills (yes, fish pun intended). Although you may be tempted to settle in at the more spacious set up next door, you can’t mix and match. In other words, you eat where you lounge.
We had called ahead and reserved our lettini in the first row. Of course, this being Italy, they tried to put us in a back row. But again, this being Italy, Sophie only had to fling her blond hair over her shoulder and pout a bit for us to be seated pretty quickly in the chairs closest to the water (advice: if possible, bring along a 21 year old pouty blond)
Since this post is as much about going to the beach as about eating, let me get that part out of the way. Gorgeous beach. Amazing clear, clean water. The kind of place you dream of, with turquoise depths running up against dramatic cliffs.
But since this is me, I’ll now just skip to the lunch part.
The menu is scribbled on the board and - if you’re like me - you’ll want to order everything. I’m not so sure how they manage such a large menu from the tiny kitchen basically carved out of the rock above, but they do. As we dodged the barefoot waiters running down the staircase, we managed to choose from all the delicious sounding things.
First up, of course, was a large pitcher of peaches and wine. I guess it’s like sangria. And I realize that it’s probably just a way to make mediocre white wine taste better. But I can’t think of a better thing to drink in the shade, on a beach, on the Amalfi coast.
I couldn’t resist friarelli con alici. This was just what I imagined, a gently sauteed mix of slightly bitter green peppers with chunks of fresh anchovies. A few cherry tomatoes and a healthy dose of olive oil brought it all together.
Gillian had a hard time keeping everyone’s hands off her plate of saute di cozze. While we let her work on her mussels, none of us could restrain from dunking our bread in the juices the minute she was distracted.
Sophie ordered Trofie al Margo, which turned out to be chewy hand made twists of pasta tossed with plump seafood and pumpkin. Gillian and I chose spaghetti with octopus and loads of zucchini. I loved the way both dishes took traditional seafood pastas and made them even better with the addition of veggies. (will definitely be trying this at home soon.)
I’m sure we had some other dishes. But by this time we were on our second pitcher of peaches and wine and my note/picture taking suffered.
I didn’t, however.
After a quick nap on the lettino, we were soon back in the water.
If this is what a 'hippy beach' means, then I'm definitely a hippy.