Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rome Sweet Home

Fresh squeezed pomegranate juice. Pici noticed how much less astringent it is here than in Turkey and that's because they use fancier juicers in Europe that separate the purple nectar from the seedy pulp. In the Middle East and Turkey, we often drink it blended with the seeds and pith. 

Dinner at Mazzo out in Centocelle. Rösti with Romanesco (also known as Roman broccoli or cauliflower). 

Fried snails in potato dashi. 

Torglioni alla Genovese.


Tataki of beef from Piedmont. 

Incredible pizza at Gabriele Bonci's Pizzarium. We went nuts. 

Lunch for two. 

The potato and mozzarella one recommended most enthusiastically by the staff looks like boredom stuffed with blah. It was insane. 
Imagine pizza bianca having a pillow fight with butter and olive oil in a heaven made entirely of cheese. 

There are no seats so you have to eat standing up, often sharing what little surface area is available for trays. A couple standing near us was intrigued by the reaction we had to this odd yellow pizza so we ended up sharing some with them. They agreed it was the bomb diggity. 

Photos do no justice, predictably. Each slice was larger than it appears; about the size of my palm. 

Skipped the Vatican for a pilgrimage to a fantastic little deli called La Tradizione (di Belli e Fantucci). Anchovies from Cantabrico, which I've always wanted to try but they're super hard to find. And over one hundred dollars a kilo as you can see. These were salt-packed, rinsed by hand and then stored under olive oil. I bought four and we ate them, as is, on the sidewalk just outside. Wow.

Final dinner in Italy was at Roscioli. We had fallen for the place over aperitivi the night before, but honestly the food was a mess.

"Mouthful" of buffalo mozzarella from Paestum, Cantabrican anchovies, Taggiasche olives and a lemony herb oil the salumeria invented and calls "trombolotto"

Fried fresh anchovies. 


Galician sardines. 

Mortadella and Parmesan from Red cows. Nothing special. 

And the place's inexplicably famous Pugliese burrata, which was snotty, squeaky... A weird wet letdown. 

Also the Cantabrican anchovies here weren't nearly as good as the ones we had eaten earlier on the sidewalk. 

The legendary carbonara was a mushy white nightmare.

And that's it. 

Aside from getting detained at US Customs in Dublin for declaring a perfectly legal cheese that was allowed through after much ado, our return trip was uneventful.

Salute and salve.

Car Bloating

Imagine an America with Autogrills

Roadside beer, panini and the perfect opportunity for pocket pequin. 

Rome. Deliriously good dinner at Tonda. 
Potato chips, supplì all'amatriciana and the 'nduja crochette were so blazing hot from the fryer that we added an order of olive all'ascolana just to compare them to all the tepid heat-lampooned ones we'd eaten up north. 

Trapizzini with lingua in salsa verde.

Two pizzas: the Vignalese and one that was half Carbonara (amazing) and half the fior di latte, guanciale and potato combo that was our server's favorite; she offered to have the kitchen split a pizza so we could try both. 

I know it looks like baby upchuck but the emulsified egg yolk and Pecorino on the Carbonara side was seriously the best.

Open Baladin. Italian craft beer for miles. 

A little snack of awesome pizza at Antico Forno Roscioli. 

A stunning (and unusual) Negroni at Salumeria Roscioli. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Garden of the Monsters

The Sacred Bosco of Bomarzo. A mossy grove of mythological creatures that "slept", forgotten, for a couple hundred years after the end of the Renaissance. And then it languished further until 1953, when a local art lover weed-whacked the place out of obscurity. 

The huge sculptures were all carved from the rocks wherever they lay, BY ONE MAN, as a memorial to Giulia, the beloved late wife of the nobleman who commissioned the sculptor and the architect who designed the park.  

Walking through it is meant to be a "philosophical journey through themes such as love, death, memory and truth."

Two carved sphinxes (not pictured) welcome you to the park and ask you to consider your "verdict" as you wander. (Atreyu!!) 

On one sphinx is inscribed, "He who does not visit this place with raised eyebrows and tight lips will fail to admire the seven wonders of the world."

And on the other, "Be very attentive and tell me if these marvels have come about by deception or by art."

Pici vs La Tartaruga

Thank you Beckie for turning us on to this magnificent place. 

Farm to Drunk Cooking

Beer brewed locally by Benedictine monks (Norcia was the birthplace of St. Benedict). 

Sunday-lunched with the locals at agriturismo Il Casale degli Amici. 

Ricotta so insanely good it freaked us all out. And the cured meats of Norcia. And that dang Pecorino. And the local farro they justly prize. 

This lasagne with truffles, cream and wild boar sausage was one of the best things any of us had ever eaten and my personal A#1+++ experience ever with fresh pasta (or with truffles, cream or wild boar). 

Doesn't look like much but it blew my hair back. 

Goat all'arrabbiata. 

Digestivi are on the house. Serve your selves. 

The aftermath reminded Pici of a Giorgio Morandi painting. 

Milking buddies just outside. 

Beautiful Spoleto. 

Alici took this keeper: 

Spritz o'clock.