Rome, October 16, 2016—
MIDDAY MEAL today out at the end of the tram 8 line in a trattoria new to us but much discussed. We ate on the terrace, seated by the hostess and her eight-year-old daughter apprentice, waited on by rushing servers in black and white, after scanning a menu much given to Roman stand-bys only slightly tweaked for the new century. (Well, it's no longer quite so new, is it.)
We started, the three of us, one of them a Zivny (Francesca, that is), with anchovies. This was simply a plate of salted anchovies, lots of them, drowned in very good olive oil. Fortunately there was enough bread to sponge up the oil after we'd had our way with the fish.
Another fish: the contessa and I could not turn down a filetto di baccala, perhaps the tenderest and purest expression of salt cod we've found yet, served very lightly breaded and fried, in a paper sleeve, with half a lemon. Pure pleasure.
I continued with tonnarelli alla gricia, because after all I had cacio e pepe yesterday. Tonnarelli are square-cut long pasta; I know them as maccheroni alla chitarra; alla gricia is simply cacio e pepe with the addition of bits (in this case quite generous) of guanciale. It was delicious; but the contessa's cacio e pepe was purer, more focussed, altogether the best I've tasted, though I'll always be faithful to da Lucia, over in Trastevere.
Cesanese da Piglio, Casale della Ioria, 2014
Trattoria Da Cesare al Casaletto, Via del Casaletto, 45, Rome; +39 06 536015
AFTER A MARVELOUS concert of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, conducted by a friend, we gathered at a late-night eatery (they're all late-night) for a pizza.
I had Margarita, of course, pizza at its purest: tomato sauce, cheese, olive oil. No distracting basilico here! The pizza was first-rate; so was the conversation.
Red wine in carafe
Trattoria Arancio d'Oro, Via di Monte d'Oro 17, Rome; +39 06 86981209