Sunday, August 03, 2008

Thursday: Lab day, si?? No!!!!

I had a great day on Thursday. First, Kathy and I decided that learning yet another computer program was not in our cards, especially not one that was described as being "very difficult." Julian told us we should eat fish the night before and get a good night's sleep. Quidquid (that's Latin for "whatever"). So we skipped. Our first stop was the Campo di Fiore, which I described in a previous post. We wandered around the square allowing all of our senses to feast on the gorgeous bounty found there. As we wandered, we ate fresh raspberries and fragolini (mini wild strawberries), and made a few foodie purchases. We found a great costume-jewelry shop and made a few girlie purchases. Then we decided it was time for lunch, of course. We found a hosteria that smelled wonderful, but they were having their staff lunch so the owner asked if we could wait 15 minutes. We were grateful for the seat and the shade since it's getting very hot here and our feet always seem to be hurting. When the waiter finally came, we ordered proscuitto and melon to start with. The melon was sweet and juicy and perfectly ripe. Since it was Thursday, I decided to be traditonal and have gnocchi tossed in a simple marinara sauce. Bad gnocchi can be very heavy, since it's made from potatoes, but these were light and fluffy, and the tomato sauce was bursting with flavor. Kathy had a carbonara that was the best we've tried yet. We skipped dessert because we were in the Giolitti's neighborhood and that was going to be our afternoon reward. After a bit more shopping in the Piazza Navona and Pantheon area, we happened across a hole-in-the-wall supermercado. We had no idea how big the place truly was, and we were delighted to find a room labelled "gastronomie," containing all sorts of epicurean delights. I bought some wild-boar sausages and guanciale to take home. I can't wait!!! Finally we had our gelato (coffee, cream and chocolate chip topped with fresh whipped cream) and managed to get home with all of our packages. After cooling our feet in the bidet (I've found it to be great for this purpose), we had a little nap time, then met Chris and Ramona for dinner. Chris wanted to visit his old "hood" where he spent some time in the 90's. It's a part of Rome that I don't really know and it was fun roaming new streets. The restaurant he had in mind had closed, which was a big bummer, but a place with street tables under umbrellas lured us in. I had grilled scamorza cheese and spaghetti all' aragosta (with lobster)., both of which were good. Chris claims he can't taste anything because he's a smoker, so he always asks for pepperoncini oil for his pasta. This oil had so many pepper flakes it looked like mud! He was happy. Ramona, who isn't very adventurous with her tastebuds, got cacio e pepe (again). Kathy had something with fish because I think she's getting homesick (she's co-manager in a seasonal seafood restaurant in Maine in the summer). For dessert, we shared a lemony cakey thing with limoncello custard that was way strong, and a creme brulee that had a burnt sugar top that was 1/2 inch thick (too much of a good thing can happen). I now have a theory that gelato really is the best bet for dessert here. Anyway, we topped off the night at an Irish pub (I know...French dessert and Irish beer - quidquid). Overall, it was a nice day spent with good friends, new and old. Here's to that.

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