Hotel San Francesco, Roma, February 5, 2013—UP THE HILL to the American Academy in Rome today to see how the garden's doing, and the Rome Food Project, the joint venture between Chez Panisse and the Academy. The garden looks great, considering it's winter; you see a corner of it here, with lettuces, kales, broccolis and garlic, companion planting that keeps insect damage to a minimum in an orderly array I find inspiring. (We'll see whether I'm able to stay inspired when I get home later this week.)
We sat in on the end of the staff lunch, composed of delicious leftovers from the Academy lunch. This isn't the time for me to assay a detailed report on what Chris Boswell and his team do here; but imagine a lunch-and-dinner restaurant serving up to 120 covers at a time, using organic and sustainable material, dedicated and disciplined technique, and authentic and resourceful recipes, and you have the general idea. We had pasta, faro, green salad, porchetta, potato salad, and more; all were delicious and sound: you really had the feeling you were eating on an artistic farm.
For dinner I wanted only a last Spaghetti Carbonara, and we returned to a favorite Trastevere restaurant for it. I had another artichoke, too, of course: I will miss them, and will have to try to master the recipe once home.
Dessert: gelato, of course, first at Fior di Luna, where the chestnut gelato has marvelous flavor; then back at Fatamorgana, where the "Zabaione de fata" and the "Kentucky" (chocolate and tobacco) have marvelous flavor and are exceptionally well made gelate into the bargain. Close call; tonight I prefer Fatamorgana.
Grechetto, Castello di Magione (Umbria), 2012• Ristorante Paris, Piazza San Calisto, 7a, Rome; 06 5815378