Monday, May 29, 2006
In researching restaurants for this trip, I came across an article in New York magazine about the 10 best cities, Rome included. There was one story on a restaurant run by a man named Gianni, offering an ever changing prix fixe menu every night. Just one thing: he runs it out of his apartment, under the radar, so they were unable to print his address. They gave vague directions, something like "start out at this square and head west a couple blocks" I decided there was no way we would be able to find it, so I left the article back home.
My second day in Rome, we step out of the apartment ready to go sight seeing, and my uncle points down the street and says,"the other night there was this rowdy table of Germans keeping us up all night." I look down the road, and lo and behold, there is Gianni sitting at the outdoor table! Of all the streets in Rome, he is on ours. We promptly made reservations. We sat at a table on the street, with my uncle's back facing the tiny cobble stoned road, mere inches from the occasional speeding Smartcar whizzing by. Gianni had about three tables inside the kitchen, and three larger ones outside on the street.
We started out with a liter of red wine, poured from a jug, and a plate of bruschetta, followed some stewed beans and a squash puree. Then came bowls piled high with pasta with cheese and guanciale. He offered two main courses, pork or chicken. He didn't speak enough English to describe them, and we certainly did not know enough Italian to understand. My uncle and I opted for the pork, my aunt the chicken. The main course was the weakest link of the dinner. Our pork dish were these super fatty ribs, braised in some kind of tomato sauce, and my aunt's chicken was some unidentifiable chicken piece, chopped up with a million little bones. She hated it. Luckily, the desert of sliced strawberries in simple syrup made us forget the main course. We had so much food I could have easily stopped after the pasta, but that is just not as much fun as stuffing yourself silly, is it?
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Aahh...The Land of Artichokes. Artichokes were on every menu in Rome; Carciofi alla Romana or Carciofi alla Giudia. Roman style artichokes are trimmed, stem left on, and steamed into submission. They are borderline mushy, but in an enjoyable way. You eat everything - all the leaves and the choke. We usually steam them enough so they are tender, but only scrape the leaves with our teeth and tossing the rest of the leaf. Jewish style artichokes are steamed, and then fried in oil (no batter), somewhat resembling one of those sliced and fried whole onions you can find at restaurants like Chili's. They are fried twice, the second frying making the leaves spread out, like a flower. The crispy fried leaves are like eating little artichoke chips, while the heart inside remains nice and soft. I have made Roman style artichokes since my return, if you are inclined to try it at home, I have only one tip: just when you think they are done steaming, they are not. Give them another 15min.
Carciofi alla Giudia, along with a fried zucchini blossom stuffed with cheese and anchovy
A modern twist on Carciofi all Romana at Glass restaurant in Trastevere
Carciofi alla Romana