Little tidbits of Roma (and Paris)

I want to start off with just a few good food memories from Roma and then I’ll do separate entries about the cooking class dishes (squisiti, tutti!), the markets, and the Frascati region wine tour we went on…

Let’s start with the best part about a lay over in Paris, France: a Paul. Paul is a chain restaurant in Paris, but not a McDonalds kind of chain, a really good food kind of chain. And they have the best hot chocolate in the city. Hands down. They even beat Angelinas, whose reputation worldwide is that of the best chocolat chaud in Paris. Seeing the sign was like seeing the sign to mecca. I introduced the Boy to the hot chocolate and got myself one of their amazing pain au chocolat to tide us over…Miam miam!

Bene, now on to Roma. Day 1 we ate at a tiny restaurant on Via San Giovanni in Laterno. Just a little cafe with pastas between 5 and 8 Euro. Don’t be turned off by low prices in Rome. Seriously. This meal was amazing. I had a great Carbonara, La Mamma had tortellini in a cream sauce to die for, and the Boy had a tortellini bolognese. The gelato at the same place as also phenomenal. Nocciola e cioccolato. Oh si.

Day 2 brought on our second gelato near Largo Terre Argentina (one of the main bus hubs). Once again I went for Noccoila e cioccolato…it became my way of telling gelati apart in a delicious, amazing way. The dinner was made at home (keep an eye out for a post on that later! But here’s a quick end picture…)

Day 3 we followed the Boy’s dad’s suggestion and went to Pisciapiano, not far from Piazza Barberini. He told us they had the best Carbonara in the city and, well, as you can imagine that’s a pretty tall order. So we made our reservation (not that it helped us get a table quickly. Oh, Italy…) and shoved ourselves into a tiny corner table and just admired the chaos and kitchy decorations around us. The Carbonara was unbelievable. Just so you know, Carbonara is pork cheek, eggs, parmesan, pepper, and pasta. That’s it. No cream. At Pisciapiano, they almost scramble the eggs and the flavor is just unbelievable…To follow we had the best Millefoglie (Napolean) I have ever had. Ever.

Day 4 we went on the Frascati wine tour which you’ll hear much more about later. We wandered into Trastevere (the East Village of Rome) that night to scope out where the restaurant for the cooking class would be and took Rick Steve’s suggestion to try the Osteria (or Hosteria, their placemats, sign, and menu didn’t agree on spelling…) Ponte Sisto. The service was kind of awkwardly friendly (we were blatantly tourists), but the food was pretty great. I got the cannelloni fatti a casa con salami e funghi (salami and mushroom cannelloni in a bechamel sauce) and the Boy and La Mamma both got bucatini all’amatriciana (Mamma couldn’t finish hers and the Boy and I were more than willing to help…). I finished with a tartufo which was chocolate ice cream around white chocolate (and some kind of liqueur) ice cream. To die for, but still, I might just have preferred a gelato…I missed out on my Nocciola kick that night. = )  (NOTE: Quick apology for the quality of the photos. I was taking them quickly to attempt to look less touristy and with my little snapshot camera…)

Day 5 was our phenomenal cooking class, so we didn’t have much appetite for dinner…The Boy and I, however, were going to go our to an Enoteca (wine bar) or Birreria (beer bar) and found the tram we needed wasn’t running so we made our way to Re di Roma and had some gelato. This was probably the best gelato I had on the trip, hands down. I had my trusty Nocciola and Variegato Nutella and almost died. The texture and flavor were perfection. So go check it out! It has a violent green sign and is between Appia Nuova and Via Cerveteri. Gnam gnam! (that’s apparently Italian for yum yum!)

Day 6 we spent most of the day wandering through markets (I may even do a quick post about Campo de’ Fiori, one of the cutest markets ever) and stopped for lunch in what used to be the Jewish Ghetto for an amazing lunch. We preceded the main courses with a fried Zucchini Blosson. They’re incredibly popular in Italy and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I had Gnocchi Bolognese, La Mamma had tortelline with a nutty cream, and the Boy had Linguine with Basil pesto. The basil is an incredibly fragrant addition to the pesto – packs quite a punch!

The walk we took ended at Gelateria alla Scala in Trastever where I tried the pistachio gelato which was highly recommended, as was the cinnamon, which the Boy got and it was delish!

We ended the day at a pizzeria near Piazza Navona  (unfortunately not Da Baffetto, where we wanted to go. The line was over an hour…) with Quattro Staggione, a pizza with mushrooms, spek, prosciutto, and salami. We finished up the night at Tre Scalini (actually ON Piazza Navona) with some pretty darn good gelato. La vita e bella, no?

Day 7, our last day in Rome we found an amazing little place off of Via Cavour called Ristorante Cleto. I didn’t take any pictures because the Boy and I wanted to just relax and have a full Italian meal and forget about the real world returning. I had my final Spaghettie Carbonara and the Roman special Arrabacchio alla cacciatore (baby lamb in Roman sauce) finishing with a Roman cheesecake that had light cakey pastry on the bottom and top with a pear and liqueur flavored cheese center. It was exquisite…the Boy had Penne of the 7 sins (we still haven’t quite figured out what that was) and Chicken with Roman sauce (a different sauce than the lamb, it had roasted peppers in it) and finished with a Cappuccino.

It was all like a dream and I can NOT wait to continue traveling to find even more favorite markets, restaurants, and gelato ; )

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