|Spaghetti carbonara, C'Era una Volta|
|Fusilli with Sicilian pesto|
|Tartare at Litro|
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.
•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!