Monday, 9 September 2013

Rome for Lunch

Here is my promised later post although I can't think of anything Single-ish to write about. I suppose I could contrast what it is like to travel about alone or with a girlfriend with what it is like to travel with a husband, but I might get into big trouble.

Big trouble.


Still, now that I mention it, one of the major differences is that when you travel about Poland with, say, your Polish friend Marta, Marta will prompt you to speak Polish and you will remember Polish words you read only once in class a year ago, but if you travel about Italy with, say, your British husband, you will totally forget Italian words you've known since you were sixteen. At least, this is my experience.

That said, maybe I need a solid and serious Italian review. I used to be so smaaaaaarrrrrt. What has happened to meeeeeee? I've heard of mommy brain. Is there married lady brain?

B.A. thinks Rome is for churches, but I know Rome is for lunch. Churches are what you visit in the mornings before they shut inexorably at noon, and then you go to lunch. After lunch, you can wander about looking for the churches that actually open before Mass at 5 or 6 PM. St. Peter's Basilica, incidentally, is a cert. St. Ignatius is good, too. Forget the Gesú. Closed.

At 5 or 6 PM, unless you want to go to Mass, it is time to scoot back to your seaside holiday pad to swim. Italians, I've noticed, swim before 5 PM, but they have a lot of melanin in their skin. I do not allow the rays of the sun to touch my unprotected skin unless they are dying, and you may quote me. One day I will write a romance novel that is entirely a metaphor for my relationship with the sun. The sun is beautiful but wicked, giver of life but also dealer of DEATH. Also wrinkles.

Anyway, back to lunch. The spirit of Rome is lunch, the most important meal of the day. In the morning, you wolf down a cornetto (croissant) and savour a cappuccino. That should keep you going until one p.m., which is about when you should have snaffled a seat--preferably indoors with the Romans, not outside with the sun-starved tourists--in a tried, tested and true restaurant. You must find out where the good restaurants are from friends or Italians going home on the plane. (Don't trust the tour guide suggestions, don't, don't, don't.) And incidentally, B.A. and I had our very best lunch, with a whole bottle of wine, for only 59 Euros, which included a tip.

For supper you just eat some tomatoes and mozzarella drizzled with pesto on toast and then maybe run along to the gelato store for a gelato. That is all you will want because of the gorgeousness of lunch. If you have only money enough for a museum or for lunch, go to lunch. I'm serious and, besides, the churches are free. Even the coat check at St. Peter's is free. Yay, Mother Church!

I wrote about my first lunch at the CR, so you will have to wait and read about it there.

My second lunch began with fried zucchini blossoms, continued with saltimbocca and ended with millefoglia.

My third lunch--oh, that was groceries, as we had dinner with friends that night. Dinner was mushrooms on crispy toast, roast pork and pinenut-studded torta alla nonna.

Then my fourth lunch was hare-and-truffle pate on crispy toast, followed by cheese ravioli with citrus and pistachios and then almond-and-orange torte, and I almost wept tears of joy.

My fifth lunch was fried artichokes and pasta with chickpea soup, and it was just okay, to be honest. (We have crossed that place off the Roman Lunch Master List.)

My sixth lunch was just very crispy eggplant pizza because we were going to a feast that night. (The feast involved oysters, pasta with whatever fish spigola is, and the most delicious fritto misto--mostly calimari--ever, plus gallons of wine.)

And finally, my seventh lunch was back where we had our fourth lunch, and we had the ravioli again, and this time for pudding I had gelato di mosto, which is gelato made from wine grape skins, basically, and it was utterly delightful. And after the seventh lunch, there was a mad rush for train connections and the airplane.

We also saw some churches, hmm, hmm, and two whole museums because we were feeling flush. But now I must go as dinner is served.


Anna said...

You're my kind of tourist, Auntie.

TRS said...

A friend told me that in Italy, Notre Dame students leave a school sticker in the window of restaurants that are good, and friendly to Americans.
May be sketchy, as you may be relying on the palate of a drunken 20year old, but that's the only tip I know outside do Rick Steves' travel guide!

And I'll be careful with men on holiday... But only just so!

Julia said...

Glad to hear you had a lovely time in Rome! I have to laugh, because a friend and her mother went to Rome a couple of years ago, and I asked them what they ate. "Maccas", they said. Okay, that wasn't all they ate, but come on.

I look forward to reading more of your posts, because I've had a pretty unSeraphic week.

Kate P said...

I think I drooled a little on my keyboard--scrumptious descriptions, Seraphic! Sounds like a delightful trip all around.

I am with you on the anti-sun sentiment, as even though I am an odd mix of Sicilian and Northern Italian (mostly), I am rather fair-skinned. And like it that way.

Anonymous said...

Your stories of Italian lunches make me want to go back to Italy!


Meredith said...

I don't know why, but finding really good food in Rome was always a pain. I had better luck in smaller towns. There was one cheap lunch place called L'Asino D'Oro that I liked, where Sean and I had minestrone, pureed chickpea with delicious olive oil, some kind of pasta arrabiata, some kind of yummy fish, wine, and for desert, saffron-sage pudding with burnt orange sauce. The portions were super, super dainty and I think it was 30 euro for both of us.

MaryMargaret said...

Smaller towns are definitely easier. An agroturismo? is the bomb! Awesome food and good company in a farm setting.

That said, I think Venice is much more iffy than Rome for finding good food.

Jess said...

Auntie, is there any chance of you publishing your Roman Lunch Master List? I would love it for myself but even more so for two dear friends who will be honeymooning there in a week and a half!