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ROME..Trip report with emphasis on food..January 2007

ROME..Trip report with emphasis on food..January 2007

Old Jan 29th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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Thanks. I just sent them a general email. I'm waiting to hear from a friend who might join me in Rome, but as soon as I know I'll book it!

Do you think it's a good idea to do both the Scavi tour and the Vatican museum in the same day?

Monica
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 07:13 AM
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The Scavi tour only takes 1.5 hours. You could take a lunch break between it and your Vatican tour. It's not an exhausting tour, not a bunch of walking.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 07:14 AM
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Thanks for the information!

Monica
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Hello ek, I'm back (what a silly sentence, everyone can see that I'm back...). I've spent considerable time on catching up with this wonderful report, and enjoyed it very much - this kind of detailed food report must be one of the greatest inventions ever made on Fodor's! I'm glad that you've loved pajata, and surprised that you didn't try it at Checchino, but who knows what's coming else? Maybe you've saved Checchino for a day towards the end of your week.
I'd just like to add two cents here and there:
- Castroni... theirs is the best risotto rice I ever came across - especially their Riso Carnaroli! I never come back home from Rome without a few packs...
- never heard of the cipolle rosse dish, sorry
- Orvieto: the wild boar, in Umbria, is certainly wild, no doubt
- Missing a recommended faraona dish in Umbria is a profound gastronomic error, sorry that I have to say that ... much as I love Rome, but having to choose between Umbrian faraona al salmì (for example) and two more hours in Rome, I take the faraona, that's a no-brainer for me. One of the truly great dishes of this planet...
- Sorry to learn about your S. Eustachio restaurant makeshift. Does that mean that even at Osteria dell'Angelo, there was no place available that night? Or didn't you have Angelo on your list (which would be a terrible pity, that's exactly your type of trattoria, and one of Rome's best, and most constant, kitchens anyway)? I'm asking because I've never had problems to get a table at Osteria dell'Angelo, and even without booking ahead I've never had to wait for more than 15 or 20 minutes.
- Finally, sorry that I have to correct a small detail: pajata is the intestine of suckling veal, not lamb.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the story!!

And St. Cirq, thank you for confirming that Sora Lella is still a great place - it would have been a pity if things had changed, though I couldn't quite imagine (the cook-owner is there for 30 or so years).
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 02:15 PM
  #105  
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Franco, I know I am in the doghouse with you. Not only did I not make it to Checchino, but I also missed Osteria dell Angelo. I must seem like a terrible ingrate after all of the help you gave me. My feeble excuse is that on several nights we just did not want to take a taxi. Goodness, that IS a horrible excuse for missing all of that fabulous food that was waiting just within reach. I have no defense.

I knew when I did it that skipping the faraone in Orvieto was a mistake. Guilty again. I feel like a total washout right now.

On the veal/lamb issue, I was parroting what I had read, that pajata is traditionally made with veal but now is made with lamb due to the mad cow issue. No doubt that has all been resolved.

And again on the boar..another of my errors.

On the bright side, I hope certainly to return to Rome before too long. And you can look forward to a report soon on the coda which was greatly enjoyed closer to the Pantheon than I might have desired. So there it is.

On another bright side, I just took a book from the library that I think would interest you if you do not know it. It is the most impressive "La Terra Fortunata" by Fred Plotkin and is a well researched volume, with color photos, on Friuli-Venezia-Giulia.
Do you know this book, written by one of my countrymen who possesses a real fondness for the area. Unfortunately, and somewhat shockingly to me, it appears to be out of print but might be in the library or on a used book shelf somewhere.


On the cippole rossse dish note, I would have thought this was something from close to Tropea. Eloise has tracked down the recipe; I think it is posted above or on a related recent thread. (see "New Tuscan Cookbook" thread). I also found a Confettura di Cipolle Rosse in a book entitled "1,000 Italian Recipes" by Michele Scicolone.

So, Franco. My plea is "guilty as charged." Sentence should be remedial time in Rome and additional Italian regions. I may have to call Eloise to be my attorney and plead my case with you!

Be back soon...



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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 03:21 PM
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Oh, ek, don't hope Eloise will defend you - I'm absolutely sure she will agree with the severe penalty I have for you:
go back to Rome soon, try more restaurants and specialties - and come back with a new great food & trip report like this one!!
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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Thanks ekscrunchy. I've made note of some of the places you tried and will be better armed with a nice list of places to dine and browse the next time I'm in Rome...whenever that may be!
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 07:44 PM
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Thank you for describing your trip in such luscious detail. Makes me want to take your restaurant list, go to Rome, and follow in your footsteps.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 09:54 PM
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Eks - what a yummy report! I wish I'd tried more things now. But what I did try and loved beyond measure was our dinner at Osteria dell Angelo. It was perfect. And smelled good to boot! When I woke the next morning my hair smelled like the amazing bruschetta they'd grilled over the open fire.

My DD's favorite part were the big rugby guys who waited on us. She wanted to stay and have more wine without us! I've heard her tell the story of Osteria dell Angelo to several friends and each time they grow more handsome. But the food... I have no idea what anything was but all was delicious.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 10:05 PM
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I absolutely love food reports (with some travel stuff thrown in between meals) -- thanks so much for doing all that hard work of eating all this food for us and reporting the details.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 04:21 AM
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Franco, the guilty party accepts the punishment!

I am glad you are all enyoing; it was no trouble to do all the research at the restaurants (!!) Now I am even more annoyed that I skipped Angelo. I would love it if my hair smelled from the wood fire the next morning!
I vow to complete my sentence which involves a return to Rome in the specified amount of time.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 04:23 AM
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ekscrunchy, I just came across your delicious report and want to let you know how much I'm enjoying it but I'm too hungry now to write more. I'll add it to my Italy file. Thanks!
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 06:36 AM
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ek, would you please share the doghouse with me? I was outright shocked when reading your statement about pajata di vitello o di abbacchio, and just had to research it, which was easy enough: I simply called Checchino ... and shame on me!, you are absolutely right: they are STILL doing it with pajata d'abbacchio. Incredible but true, the Italian Ministry of Health has not yet agreed pajata di vitello to return to commerce - though they have been promising it for years now. I could have sworn the problem has long been resolved, and in fact, last week, I've been in - guess where - right, in Venice, and talked to the barista at Al Volto about quinto quarto delicacies (yes, they have some in Venice, too, though they don't call it the quinto quarto, which is of course a Roman term) - and he, too, said with utmost conviction that pajata di vitello is back to Roman butcher shops.
Which is not entirely wrong, anyway: the guy at Checchino immediately said it IS being traded again, but not officially, and against the law, so they can't prepare at the restaurant (which he deeply regretted - no doubt he eats only pajata di vitello at home). And in the countryside, I've seen on Italian foodie forums, it has already returned to the restaurant menus, as well as to some not-so-famous Roman osterie (of course, only for the patrons...).
The point is that Roman pajata buffs despise pajata d'abbacchio for pasta sauces; they insist it's good only when grilled, but rigatoni con pajata MUST be made with pajata di vitello... unfortunately, I'm not able to judge myself, having eaten both types of pajata, but clearly not often enough.

So, if you, ek, or anybody would like to punish me, as well, by sending me on a Roman food-finding mission, I, too, would be willing to accept.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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Well, well, Franco. Let me move over to make room in Chez Bow Bow!

I am impressed with your dedication to ferreting out the truth. Indeed, this calls for a return visit so we can try both types of pajata and make our comparisons. We will need to complete many tastings, by the way.

NOW, what about the wild boar/cinghiale issue? Are these really wild in the sense that they run around in the forests and are shot by hunters and then sold to restaurants?

In Spain, I was shocked to learn that the partridge which is a specialty of Toledo is, in fact, raised on farms nowdays!! And I only found that out when I asked the quesion of a cookbook author who was speaking here in New York to promote her new book on the foods of La Mancha.

What if not enough boar were shot that day? Would Tuscans or Umbrians not have it on the menus? I have no real idea about this but I do wonder.....and I know just who to put on the case now!!!

Thanks every so much for your great company here...
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 10:21 AM
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Wow, you folks just blow me away sometimes. I am almost making flight reservations back to Rome on the basis of this report alone.

Thank you!
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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Ok, I'm doing my best to make up for my recent embarassing mistakes: Italy consumes about 11650000 tons of wild boar meat per year (the figures, from a web research, are not perfectly up-to-date, but should still be approximately right), of which only 1650000 are "di allevamento italiano" (raised on farms), and 1500000 tons are imported (partly really wild, partly raised, no doubt). The nice rest of 8500000 tons is real Italian wild boar "di caccia", and the forests of East Umbria are full of cinghiali. I dare guessing that raised wild boar isn't being sold anywhere in Italy but in supermarkets, and no good restaurant or trattoria would buy any meat from any supermarket - they'd of course get it directly from their "cacciatore di fiducia", the huntsman in whom they trust.
This would be the moment to tell what I've learned in Venice, from the above-mentioned Al Volto barista, about meat quality and butchers in Italy, but I don't want to restart our how-far-do-we-manage-to-get-off-topic game...
Rather: I swear to be silent until ek presents us with the next installment - we're hungry for it!
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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...and yet, I'm violating my oath since I notice I haven't given a complete answer to the wild boar issue: how much the hunters may have shot that very day is not the problem - you'd be VERY unhappy if you had to eat wild boar shot the same day! Remember, this is about meat, not fish - meat has to be hanged for several days (ideally, for three weeks), and can be kept frozen without losing much quality for months. For wild animals, there are seasons (or rather, on the contrary, closed seasons) - for the rest of the year, you're eating frozen meat.
Italians are mad about hunting, not quite as mad as the French, but still mad enough. And btw of hunted wild animals and Roman food, the owner of Pommidoro (one of Rome's famous old osterie, still on my to-do-list, unfortunately) has a reputation for preparing only wild animals that he has shot himself.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 01:54 PM
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Franco you continue to impress me. A bit more research and I will let you out of Chez Bow Wow. That is fascinating about the wild boar and I commend you for your diligent research. I am only sorry I did not tuck a few sausages into my luggage. ( I was very good this time...no meat at all)

Ok..here is the rest of the day on Thursday with emphasis on food...

After returning to the hotel for a moment, I walked to the Piazza della Minerva where the cheerful Bernini elephant sports an Egyptian obelisk on its back. I spent some time in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva which was built by the same architects as the Santa Maria Novella in Florence but conceals one of the rare Gothic interiors in Rome. This church, a bit off the typical first-time tourist track, contains treasures that include 15th Century frescoes by F. Lippi, Michaelangelo's "Christ Bearing the Cross," and the tomb of Fra Angelico.

I continued walking to the Campo dei Fiori, peered into the wonderful Norcia meat store, Viola, and strolled along Via di Governo Vecchio looking for Da Baffetto, reputed to offer some of Romes' finest pizza. (It was shut tight; perhaps they had not yet opened for the evening,) and peeked into Marmi, a shop piled high with alabaster obejcts and beautifully shaded fruit ranging from bananas to pomegranate carved from marble. Prices ranged from 13 to 25 euro per piece of fruit. This shop has several outposts in Rome:

www.marmiline.com
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 02:10 PM
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Then back to the Albergo del Senato to pick up my sidekick and back to Armando al Pantheon where we met Sandi and Michael for dinner at 8pm.

It felt good to be back in a place that we knew and the staff were so welcoming. Armando consists of one room and the atmosphere is homey and bustling.

This was our dinner during this second visit of the week:

Carciofi alla Romana...Best in Rome, second time

Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Wonderful dish typical of Rome; 1/2 order.

Faraone (guinea hen) with porcini and olives. This dish is a specialty of the chef, who follows an old Roman recipe. I wish I could enthuse about it but it was not among my favorite dishes. Tasty but the bird did not yield much meat. Franco I KNOW I should have ordered this in Umbria.

Coda alla Vaccinara. Here I raised my glass and made a silent toast to Eloise and Franco, who helped me so much in the planning of this food extravaganza. THE CODA WAS GREAT! Large sections of meaty oxtail in a rich, winey sauce. Not at all difficult to eat as the meat just fell off the bones like any great braised dish. It would also be amazing over a short cut pasta. One to try at home although I have little hope of coming close to the richness of flavor.

Just thinking about this, and the pajata that I enooyed earlier that day and which I think I liked even more, is making me very hungry. (Tonight's meal Chez Ekscrunchy is dried whole wheat pasta with Italian sausage, Swiss chard and pinoli which I toasted earlier. ..not that anyone asked...)

With a liter of house wine, the total was 54 Euro. We had a delicious meal and a lively evening talking about a wide variety of topics (music took first place) with Sandi and Michael.

After dinner, a stroll to Giolitti for my signature amaretti with chocloate cone.






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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 02:22 PM
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OMG - I am ready to quit my job, cash in my savings and jump on the next plane to Roma! Armando al Pantheon is a wonderful, warm, cozy, food to drool over delight! Had a memorable lunch there last Oct. Wish I had known about the oxtail - next time for sure!
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