But the we were in Eataly, that commercial temple to the best of (commercial) Italian gastronomical produce. I must say Rome's version seems less intricately fascinating than Torino's, perhaps because it is more spacious. But the general model prevails: displays of fresh and boxed and canned foodstuffs, a bakery, a café, lots of beer, wine, and spirits… and restaurants featuring these things.
I see that the previous paragraph neglects cheese, fish, and meat. Never fear. Feeling a bit weak — we've been eating decently, but I've not been in the best health for the last week — I thought I'd go to the meat restaurant, though the Contessa opted for the fish. (Fortunately the table was between: they like to make things easy for you here.)
I began with a tartare, of course, chopped sweet fresh Fassolone beef from Piemonte on a bed of clean crisp arugula. Curiously, I think, that's a dark olive tapenade on top, incorporating a nod toward shallots. I still think the optimal service of tartare presents the meat neat, centered, raw egg on top, relishes surrounding. But the world is many things.
The Contessa had her bronzino, but I stayed with my beef: the tagliata. The waiter didn't ask how I wanted it cooked, always a good sign. It was cooked perfectly, nothing added but a bit of olive oil and crystals of good clean salt, served with a mesclun salad. Oil and vinegar on the table, of course.
Nero d'Avola, "Nero di Lupo", Azienda Agricola COS (Sicily): delicious, like everything from this source
•Eataly Rome, Piazzale 12 Ottobre 1492, Roma; +39 06 90279201
For supper, then, at home, simply some egg salad.
YESTERDAY BEGAN SIMILARLY: the consulate was at least open, but denied my request. Ah, bureaucracy. I slunk home again, an hour on the bus, and had some crudités and fruit for solace, with a light Fernet-soda.
The afternoon walkabout took us to Trastevere where a spritzer refreshed us and where we found a favorite shop, a Sard pastaficio. Much has changed in Trastevere in recent years, but this place has been a constant for thirty-one years, and looks secure for as long as I'll be likely to need it.
There we bought little semicircular ravioli filled with meat in ragú, and at home Cook boiled them up and served them with butter and grated Parmesan. You can't do a lot better than that. I'll try to get a photo of the pastaficio next time, and maybe even its name and address; it's on the Via del Moro, across the street from Mama Pasta (and having nothing to do with it, I'm sure).
Nebbiolo d'Alba, Morando, 2012: an inexpensive bottle bought at the supermarket across the street, and very good it is.