Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Two of the best

Via Damaso Cerquetti, Tuesday, April 24, 2017—
BIG EATING DAYS, as we are not in the Eternal City forever. Sunday we feasted in the Italian tradition: a family dinner at a favorite trattoria at midday. There were plenty of appetizers: most memorably, filetti di baccalà and alici di Anzio (deep-fried strips of breaded salt cod and of Anzio anchovies), anchovies in oil.

I went on to penne alla carbonara, because in all these days I don't think I've had a carbonara yet. This was, predictably, very good — though I wish the pasta had been anything but penne.

     White wine in carafe
Da Cesare, Via del Casaletto, 45, Rome; +39 06 536015

TODAY we repeated the experiment but at a traditional weekday hour, 8:30, the five us seated at a quasi-outdoor table at a Slow Food-recommended place near our apartment but never before visited. (By us, I mean.)

Again, wonderful appetizers: tomato bruschetti, lively and front-of-the-tongue; baccalà croquettes; fine prosciutto from Amatrice — the proprietors of this fine place have roots in that town.

I went on to a favorite pasta, strozzapreti, in a lamb ragù sauce with little artichokes: magnificent. I had intended to eat more, but couldn't. Well, a jam crostata, never as good as they look.

     Grigeto (I think)/Malvasia, white, natural, in a pitcher: mystifying at first and a little sweet, then quickly perfectly suited to the first courses; Cesanese, Martino (Lazio), 2015, forthcoming and fruity but with good body and finish
Osteria Palmira, Via Abate Ugone 29, Rome; +39 06 58204298

I recommend both these places whole-heartedly, and hope to return.

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ostia Antica

Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 22, 2017—
OUT TO OSTIA ANTICA today, there to stroll the ruins, visit the seaside, and lunch.

That was in the archeological preserve itself, whose tavola calda is quite acceptable. Look! Spinach! I settled for a simple plate of roast pork with a bit of carrot-flavored sauce, spinach on the side, the whole plate then put in an oven to freshen it all up.

Dinner at home: Minestrone soup.

     Red wine in the glass
•Cafeteria, Scavi Di Ostia Antica, Viale Dei Romagnoli 717, Ostia Antica, Rome; +39 337 1175780

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

Roman eating

Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 21, 2017—
WE DO EAT OUT from time to time, of course. This was a long day, seven miles of walking in parks, gardens, and the Forum; not enough time to drop back to the apartment for leftovers, let alone meal preparation.

After beginning with a stroll through the Roseto, just opened, and the Orange Tree Garden, stately yet welcoming, we re-visited a place we'd enjoyed two weeks ago — not for a Martini this time; for a saltimbocca alla romana.

I must confess that neither my iPhone nor its proprietor always takes the perfect photograph, and this one has had its critic. It isn't east to convey the content of a plate with a photo. I wanted to go for a close-up.

Saltimbocca is one of those perfect combinations of already manipulated ingredients: vitello or veal, pounded thin; sage leaves; prosciutto. The meat is dredged in flour and browned in a hot pan in oil and butter; the pan is deglazed with white wine or Marsala (the latter, I think, here).

Chicken or veal stock contributes to the sauce, and there you have it. There's a recipe online. It is one of the Hundred Plates, and delicious at this place

     Pecorino da Lazio in bicchiere
•Max Roma, Viale Aventino 20, Rome; +39 06 64420669

WE FINISHED THE DAY at a restaurant I continue to like. The last time we ate here I thought it had slipped a bit, but it's bounced back, better in a sense than before

What I have here is pasta, either alla gricia or simply cacio e pepe. We began with a few antipasti, and it was these that had improved, in my memory. We five shared anchovies with lemon, oil, oregano, and chili pepper; braised vegetables; and a delicious Pecorino with honey; I went on to Spaghetti cacio e pepe: that fine Pecorino and black pepper, and basta cosí.

     Bianco di Toscana, Poggio d'Oro, 2015: quite serviceable.
•Trattoria da Lucia, Vicolo del Mattonato 2B, Rome; +39 06 5803601

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 20, 2017—
YOU WOULD BE WRONG to think we complain about eating leftovers at home. We had roast and mashed potatoes, asparagus, cold roast beef, and a platter of agretti, and more of those marvelous cookies, and it was perfectly fine.      bottle ends: Grenache; Barbera

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

Algerian dinner

Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 19, 2017—
ALGERIAN BY VIRTUE of the wines, primarily, and the desserts: but the roast lamb had qualities not that far removed, I think. It had a curious provenance, that lamb: it was given to us along with a huge quantity of bay leaves, rosemary, mint, and small garlic cloves by a friend whose country place we visited the other day. It was all local provender, and it was delicious. With it, asparagus and potatoes.

Hamza had just returned from a weekend in Algiers, and brought a box of extremely delicious cookies his mother had made for us, and a couple of bottles of wine:

     Rosé, Grenache and Cinsault, Fleur d'Aboukir (Algeria), nv: crisp, fruity, engaging, delicious
     Grenache, Koutoubia (Algeria), nv: full, forward, spicy

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A simple day

Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 18, 2017—
LUNCH WAS SIMPLE enough: a smallish slice of pizza, Margherita of course, in a little place on the Trilussa I've often walked past but never tried. The pizza lacked basil, but had that nice crisp Roman crust.

     Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
•Fast Food Eat Street Food, Piazza Trilussa, Rome; +39 06 580 9456

DINNER WAS ALSO relatively fast, but at home: Cook put the four P's together — pasta (in the shape of fusilli), prosciutto, peas, and pepper. The prosciutto was diced fairly fine and browned by itself, then tossed with the cooked peas and the pasta. Very nice.

     Falanghina del Beneveniano, "Terre di Sabbia," nv: cheap supermarket wine, quite nice

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

Catching up

Spaghetti carbonara, C'Era una Volta
Fusilli with Sicilian pesto
Tartare at Litro
Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 18, 2017—
LAST WEEK we mostly ate at home, it seems; I don't count the daily forays to gelaterie within Eating Every Day, though one of these days I'll get around to listing the ones we've logged.

Thursday was one of the two exceptions: we met our Roman granddaughter and her beau at a neighborhood place that had been recommended, curiously, by a courtly stranger, a Roman, who approached us at the Spanish Steps and struck up a conversation. On learning we were staying near the Piazzale Dunant he advised us to dine here. Oddly, Granddaughter said she'd had the same experience a year or two earlier; it must have been the same fellow. Something to write about elsewhere.

I opened with fagiole con tonno, nicely cooked white beans and solid, flavorful tuna; and went on to a really quite delicious Carbonara. This turns out to be just what the man said (and a lot of people on TripAdvisor, for what that's worth): a neighborhood restaurant not apparently visited by tourists. Only Italian on the menu. Professional, fast waiters who've apparently been there for years. Granddaughter, though she lives nearby, had only had take-out pizza from the place; we'll all return, I'm sure.

     House white
•C'era una Volta, Piazzale Enrico Dunant 13, Rome; +39 06 536278

FRIDAY: Dinner at home: Cook bound some fusilli with store-bought and quite delicious Sicilian pesto: tomato sauce with ground almonds. Afterward, in place of salad, agretti, which I wrote about a week or so ago — bitter, sweet, spinachy, delicious with oil and lemon.
SATURDAY: STEAK TARTARE, bound correctly with raw egg and incorporating mustard and capers, garnished irrelevantly I thought with lettuce leaves and fennel fronds. We'd stopped off at this place, a favorite with Granddaughter and Beau, thinking to have just a spritzer as an apéritif, but of course I couldn't resist the tartare. Just as well: one of the best I've had.

     Prosecco, one of those "natural" wines in vogue now, muddy and incivil to my taste
Litro, Via Fratelli Bonnet 5, Rome; +39 06 45447639

EASTER SUNDAY: dinner at home. Perhaps it's here I should mention our shopping. There are greengrocers on almost every block; we like the Egyptian-run one down our street. There are two "supermarkets" across the street, as I think I've mentioned; one of them, Tigre, contains our local panficio, and the bread is really quite good.

We also buy our water, still and sparkling, at the supermarket, and our wine, which I rarely mention because it's not really interesting: inexpensive Pinot grigio, Nebbiolo, or Barbera d'Asti; occasionally a Prosecco.

For today's dinner Cook bought a good-looking beef roast which comes netted, I don't know why. I salted it all round and she put it in the oven along with quartered potatoes and then we took a walk. Alas, the oven's much faster than we thought, and both meat and potatoes were quite charred on the outside. The meat was fine, though, although well done; nicely grained and flavored. Ah well: Next time.

With it, Vignerola. What a marvelous dish! Artichokes, peas, favas, and onions, with chopped prosciutto. Very Roman, I'm told, and unmistakeable, and memorable.

And then, remembering her metier as she too rarely does these days, she whipped up a rich, silky, marvelous zabagione, amazing the grandchildren and pleasing us all. What a woman!

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017

April 13: Carbonara, C’era una volta April 14: Fusilli with Sicilian pesto; agreti April 15: Tartare, Litro April 16: Rpast beef and vignerolo April 17: Dinner in the country