American & other food in Rome??

Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:19 PM
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By "naked" pasta, do you mean with pepper and cheese? Or with oil and garlic? Is it the absence of meat that bothers you? Many Roman pastas are quite rich and creamy.

Also, people should bear in mind you don't have to eat pasta in a restaurant. You can order grilled vegetables as a starter, and then order a grilled or roasted meat. Some useful Italian terms to know are "arrosto" (roasted) "griglia" (grilled) and "scottodito" (seared, roughly).

I realize that's not Mexican food, but it's not heavy.
fall06 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:25 PM
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People don't seem to mind discussing various ethnic restaurants to be found in Paris so why should Rome be any different? In Paris, we eat French food but we also like Asian, Tex-Mex and Italian. Is that so wrong? >-
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:39 PM
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It's just harder because Romans have not developed a taste for other cuisines, which Parisians and Londoners have, largely because of their government's intimate political involvement with other countries.

It's only recently that Italians have had the wealth to be international tourists, especially to America. Maybe the more time they spend here, the more sentimentally attached they'll become to hamburgers, coca-cola and things with mayonnaise on them.
fall06 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 05:40 PM
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I love to eat and love to travel and eat but there seem to be a lot of people lacking a sense of humor on this board! I think Julie was really brave with this thread.
I'll go next!
I hate Japanese food but I really love Japan! My husband packed bagels in his luggage for years when he went on his bimonthly business trips there. And he likes Japanese food WAY better than I do.
When I travel to France I'm constantly on the lookout for Italian restaurants, although I love French food. Sometimes enough of anything is enough.
I thought if I saw "hash" on a menu, one more time when I was in Denmark, I'd scream.
Sorry not to be of any help in Rome, Julie!
welch is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 06:18 PM
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This is great. Did a little sit on the balcony & returned to lots of entries. Hope I don’t miss someone.

tuscan, that's funny. You're Italian & didn't know you weren't eating Italian! Same for us. That's why I now say I like "American" Italian. Thanks for relating your experiences.

suze, (re: "Some things you'll just have to get over like lack of iceberg lettuce and multiple creamy salad dressings.") you may be right, but I don't know until this thread ends or what I read on other threads. That's why I asked my original question. But if such food items are not available in Rome/Italy, obviously we can live with that or we would not keep returning. But if it is there, I want to know where. And I mentioned the 40 euros because some suggested that we need to go to "upscale" places, rather than "tourist" places. "Upscale" usually means more costly. Lastly, re: "Lastly, why not go somewhere else besides Rome since you've already been many times before. Someplace outside Italy." Someone else said that & I just cannot relate to such a thought. To me, I can't understand why anyone would not go to a wonderful place like Rome just because of the food? Besides, since we are retired & not tied to a work schedule, and we are hurrying to spend our kids' inheritance, we are lucky enough to go many other places. We go to Europe in the spring & fall, plus other trips & cruises. Last 3 years, fall has been Italy, but if/when we get tired of it, we'll find somewhere else (God willing & the creek don't rise!) - but where we go won't be based on food.

tcreath, thanks for the option. We are never in the mood for a 3 hour meal. We also are never in the mood for a late evening meal. At home, our main meal is at lunch. We eat a lite breakfast & dinner.

Leely, never thought of that. I have never made my own salad dressings. I bet most of them are made with mayonnaise? I'm fairly certain the grocery we found did not have mayonnaise. I'll have to try the new grocery locations that have been offered. We use all fat free products at home, but understand that would usually not be available when we travel, which is no big deal.

vttraveler, thanks to you for all of your ideas. Yes, we did go to filetti di Baccala at Largo dei Librari right near Campo de fiori. We appreciated the difference in taste, but don't know if it was just our luck, but ours was mostly breading, not fish. However, the breading was luscious! So we just tried it the one time. However, we enjoyed the experience. We ordered carryout (so we could stroll) & were directed to the kitchen & watched the ladies cooking - enjoyed that.

sandi, as I mentioned to suze - just mentioned the 40 euros because of the suggestion to eat more "upscale".

Don't want the post to get too long, so will respond to more in the another post.


Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 06:35 PM
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A fun thread Julie.

I cannot stand American Italian much sauce on the pasta and the pasta is always overcooked.

I love all of the food in Italy..I miss the food even more then I miss my friends in Italy..shhhhh..a secret, don't tell them.

But I understand that you and your family do not like the food in Italy. We all have different tastebuds and backgrounds. I hope you find the type of various foods you desire when back again in Italy. But do
LoveItaly is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 06:37 PM
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ooops, how did my post get posted?

Anyway, just wanted to say I would not anticipate finding any restaurant in Italy that would serve food exactly like you might find in the US.
LoveItaly is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 06:41 PM
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fall06, thank you. Like you mentioned, I also don't have a problem with folks who don't like American food, as I imagine most Americans don’t have a problem with that. I don't understand how anyone can get so challenged by someone not liking their food - even when I cook it. Everyone has different tastes - definitely nothing wrong with that. However, sorry to those Italian traditionalists, but Italians do like American food! As I said before, they were packed into McD's (which many Americans won't eat) & the Hard Rock. I expressed so to the Hard Rock server & he said the bulk of their business is Italian. I bet when more American chain restaurants get there, the Italians will fill them!

By “naked” pasta, we were referring to the lack of tomato sauce. We also sometimes called it "pink" pasta because the tomato sauce was barely there! Just way too sparse for us. Of course we also like much more garlic. Then, adding bell peppers, mushrooms, meat, & other spices – wow! All of that is great to us! We could probably get the meat & vegetables added if we wanted, but getting enough tomato sauce was too exhausting. No matter how we phrased it & how many times we asked & offered to pay extra, just didn’t compute! Additionally, the lack of variety & missing the tastes to which we are accustomed. We find that is not usually a problem when we visit several countries or areas. Because with that type of traveling, at least we get variety.

Sorry to hear that about Germany; that's our spring '08 trip! Do you suppose if you post that on the Germany board some folks will get all uptight?

Thanks for the new suggestions.

Re: asking others - that's how we found so many visitors were unhappy with the food. Of course the ones we talked to were tourists from the US & Europe. One was the American husband of the Italian woman who owned the apartment we rented. He agreed with us! She also understood because she spent many years in the US.

We did talk with 2 delightful senior high school exchange students (we talk to everyone!). One was from Chicago & one from Colorado. They said the food was their most difficult adjustment. They were longing for their American food; the stuff Mom cooks, they said! They both have lost weight. One said one night the meal was a meat & veg. stew. And then it was pulverized in a blender. She said she almost "freaked". Trying to be positive, I said, Oh, like a veggie drink! She made a disgusting face & said, who ever heard of a HOT veggie drink!

I also asked them about drugs among Italian teens. They said alcohol was the problem, not drugs. Then they laughed & offered the biggest difference - the open attitude towards having sex! I said please don't tell your Mom about that!

Your rendition of history is probably correct. However, I also think one reason Italy is not diversified is the same as why all of the European countries are not as diversified as the US (& Canada). They are so protective of their culture, their heritage; so competitive with their neighbors that "we are the best"! At least that is the vibe I have gotten. No problem with that, of course. Maybe it's because of all of that history between them - each trying to conquer the other. But Americans (&Canada) don't have a heritage to protect; we are such a mixture of all of them. And our attitude is - if you have something better, bring it on, because I want some of it!

Thanks for all of your responses, Julie

Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 06:56 PM
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What a great big yawn.

You have boring, unsophisticated tastes. It seems like you are learning to live with it.

Brava. Snore, snore.
Aug 2nd, 2007, 06:59 PM
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All I have to add to this thread is that in 30 years of traveling to Europe on more than 100 trips I have never, ever seen iceberg lettuce.

The only association I can recall between Europe and iceberg lettuce was an outbreak of Shigella sonnei infection cause by importation of iceberg lettuce into Europe.

Bet they were sorry on more than one account that they bothered.
StCirq is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 07:01 PM
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Hi again Julie! Looking back over my post, it would appear I was hasty in my review of it. I think what I posted was someone's review of the apartment I was renting, plus info about the grocery store.

This is what I meant to post:

Here are some supermarkets in Rome:

SUPERMERCATO STANDA (Via Cola di Rienzo 173, inside the COIN department store)

SUPERMERCATO GS (Via Monte di Farina) the largest supermarket in the historical center between Campo de’ Fiori and Largo Argentina.

SUPERMERCATO DI MEGLIO (Via Giustiniani 18) doesn’t look like much from the outside but is huge.

SUPERMARKET (Viale di Trastevere, 60 inside the Oviesse department store)

There is also one right near the Trevi fountain (the street on the left side that leads up to it).

The one near our apartment and the Pantheon was the one located at Via Giustiniani, 18.

If you go to Google Maps and type in the address (using the Hybrid map), you can see its location only a few steps from the Pantheon.

Oh, and no Georgia Peach here, nosiree! I'm a yellow rose from the Lone Star State!

Hope this helps!

kopp is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 07:14 PM
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Texas Aggie, another good option; thanks. By the way, my husband & I sold our home when we retired, & for almost 7 years we traveled all over the continental US in our RV. The friendliest people were in Texas & Wisconsin! You have a great state!

GranthamMommy, forgot to mention to you about how great your state is. Such gracious folks. Now you Texans have some really good food!!

Grinisa, your statement proves how we are all so different. It is so baffling to you, yet a whole country of folks keep Olive Garden booming! Not my favorite Italian, but definitely a whole lot of folks love it. As you said, I'm sure Italians love their own food (or I'm sure they would change it), but like I mentioned, they also love McD's & Hard Rock! We found Abbey's (our apt. was on the same street); they have great Irish stew. Thanks for the other suggestions.

Welch, bless your heart! Thanks for the kind words. I do think many other folks who use this board feel the same as I; they just don't post it. I do believe that part of the confusion is my lack of adequately expressing how we felt. Re: Japanese food, my sister-in-law took a school group to Japan & she thought she would waste away (only weighs about 100 lbs normally). She still shudders at the thought.

Travelnut, I didn't know Paris is so diversified - TexMex!

LoveItaly, see how strange it all is! You & many others can't stand what many others & I love & vice versa. I think that is why most of love to travel. To meet people who are so different from ourselves.

Pausanias, now you are a hoot! I'm glad that you are also unsophisticated enough to read this board & to post. I hope your school is not in session. Otherwise, you would be up too late!

StCirq, I didn't know that about iceberg lettace in Europe. Sort of like our importation of Cudzu!

That's it for me tonite. Up later than usual. Like Pausanias, I better hit the sack.

Thanks everyone. You have given us lots of options. Looks like our fall trip to Rome will be more diversified. But we will be sure to include some real Italian food!


Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 07:17 PM
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koop, another Texan! Lucky you. And I know you Texans do not consider yourself southerners!

Thanks for the info. I'll copy it into my Rome doc now.

Take care, Julie
Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 07:23 PM
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Ya got that right, Julie! You can always tell a Texan, but you can't tell him much! <)

kopp is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 07:50 PM
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I know Julie signed off for the night, but I had to add this:

I think we did grow up eating Italian, as my grandmothers were both raised in Italy. I think that they adapted their cooking to what they had there and here: lots of hot peppers, lots of garlic, and lots of tomatoes. We had a lot of hot, garlicky, tomato-y food.

When we first ate in Italy, we were shocked to find subtlety and technique. I can remember my first Veal Milanese. Huh? My mother put garlic, salt, parsley and a little hot pepper in her meat breading... it took a bit of eating for me to adjust my palate to Italian food as compared to what my Italian/Italian-American family cooked.

LoveItaly: if I make you pasta, I promise it will not be overcooked. Might have a lot of sauce on it, though. ;-)
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 07:53 PM
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I still don't get this. Just don't order the pasta. What am I missing?
SeaUrchin is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 08:18 PM
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If you're looking for good restaurants of every kind, come to New York, Julie! That's what my Roman friends do.

They don't seem to thing there is good American food in Rome. Or maybe they're just holding out. I know there are lots of supposedly good sushi restaurants in Rome (Italians are as trendy as anyone). And if you really like a variety of ethnic foods, go over the the neighborhood around Piazza Vittorio, south-west-ish of the Termini station. It's a major immigrant neighborhood where you should be able to find a great variety - though I don't guarantee you'll enjoy the neighborhood.

With all respect for your right to eat (or seek to find) whatever food you can, I think there is variety on a good Italian menu. No burgers, but I have to eat too many burgers as it is! But good luck on your quest.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 08:19 PM
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Julie, my husband and I stumbled into a little restaurant called Old Bear on via Dell'Orso off the Piazza Navona. Well, we were staying in an apt right across the little street and were too tired after a long day of walking to go much further. It was delicious! Lots of non-typical Italian food but not really American per se. We both loved our meals and adored the cheesecake.
beaupeep is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 08:32 PM
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so all of this just boils down to the question of is there ethnic food in rome because we don't like Italian pasta. OK, I'm out.
SeaUrchin is offline  

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