Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Eating Cheap

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via di Castelfusano, Ostia Antica, May 20, 2015—
A GOOD HALF-DAY on the road brought us to this port town outside Rome, where the first order of business was to get something to eat. But it was nearly three; trattorias were closed, and we weren't in the mood for snacks.

I'd parked, as it happened, right in front of a fried-fish joint, so we went in, not expecting much. A couple of plastic tables; a woman at the till looking bored, a giant of a man waiting for her to get off work, a guy clearly not European at the fryers.

But a surprisingly extended menu, from which we chose this platter: battered and deep-fried cod; French-fried potatoes, and deep-fried zucchini blossoms. For dessert we had a couple of deep-fried apple rings. Everything was clean and delicious. I looked back into the kitchen and store-room: they use sunflower-seed oil, a lot of it, and I bet it isn't GMO, not in this country.
House white
•Pesce Fritto e Baccalà, via Rutilio Namaziano 4, Ostia Lido; 06.5690835
IMG 0510THEN IT WAS on to the Roman ruins for a few hours, and check in to our hotel, and be damned if I wasn't a little hungry again. So we simply stepped into the trattoria next door, which offered a three-course dinner for ten euros.

I started with a very nice penne all'amatriciana. One bite and the combination of tomato, oil, garlic, and Pecorino said I was eating pasta in Rome again, first time in quite a while, and good to be back.

Then on to this Pollo alla brace, grilled chicken — chicken that tasted as if it had run around a chickenyard every day, eating weeds and bugs, and had grown a few feathers in its day: and yet chicken that had been roasted while retaining surprising tenderness and moisture. It was good.

I had a simple salad of lettuce, which I dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and salt; and then a lemon tart that had whole cooked (chopped) lemon for a filling, zest pith meat juice and all — a variation of a Shaker lemon pie, Lindsey said, and she should know. Not bad; not bad at all.

House red
•Il Frantoio, via di Castel Fusano 23a, Ostia Antica; 06.83086501
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants

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