Everyday Eats: Sicilian Snacks at Cremolose

Spinach Florentine & Aranchine: $8
840 5th Ave., downtown

Let's face it, often the three most important parts of the day are breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And that's why here at SanDiegoMagazine.com, we're beefing up our food and restaurant coverage by shining the spotlight on tasty meals under $10. Foie gras and Kobe beef still have a place at our table, but these meals are so reasonably priced, you can eat them every day.

The term "snack bar" doesn't conjure up the most appealing images. Week-old hotdogs on a squeaky rotisserie and cheese sauce of questionable origins immediately spring to mind. But, in Sicily, snack bars (or tavola caldas) are stocked with much more appetizing eats. Cremolose, a new Italian eatery in the Gaslamp, seeks to recreate these grab and go goods.

I tried two carb and cheese-heavy items that would make a filling breakfast, lunch, or snack. First up, was the spinach florentine, a doughy round of foccacia with creamy ricotta and spinach stuffed inside. Overall, it's mostly savory, but both the soft bun and the fluffy ricotta are a touch sweet. Similar items include the proscuitto florentine, which has more complex flavors, courtesy of the addition of mushrooms and proscuitto.

I was almost completely full by the time I got to the aranchine. Cremolose has two options: ground beef (which are round) and ham (which are pear-shaped). Both varieties of fried rice balls have a light, crunchy exterior and mounds of gooey melted cheese inside. One by itself would make a good breakfast, and if you get two items like I did, you can easily coast past lunchtime. Not bad for $8.

Getting a full sense of the menu requires multiple visits. In addition to savory snacks, there is also an abundance of sweet items, plus paninis, pizzas, hot entrees, and gelato. Have you sampled the goods at Cremolose? Let us know your favorite item in the comments section!

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