Monday, December 10, 2007

Ah, Rome: Part 1

We spent eight full days in that magnificent, overwhelming, frustrating, epic city and I must confess that I am still quite smitten. Granted, I am not as head over heels as I was when I first spent significant time there at the young age of 23, but I am still amazed by the energy, the people, the architecture and finally, the food of Rome.

We had a very different approach to our visit than many people (including me!) often have when they venture overseas. I think so often we are crazed with the manic desire to see, absorb, and consume as much as we possibly can before returning to our “normal” lives. In that process, figuring out what it means to live like a native becomes more and more elusive. This time, I decided that it would be different. After many years in New York, I was getting weary of the city and needed a break. I realized in hindsight, that Rome might have not been the most ideal choice, but we decided to do whatever we could to change the pace of our lives while we were there.

We rented the apartment of a friend (who is lucky enough to live in Brooklyn half the year and Rome for the remainder) and would wake up blissfully late around 10 a.m., meander around the house like lazy cats before gathering our things and heading out around 11. We would then walk two blocks to the venerable Castroni’s, which has been in business since 1932 and where they serve a smorgasbord of food from around the world. They are particularly well-known for their incredible selection of candy and for their thick, creamy cappuccinos. We would order one each and one of their beautiful pastries covered in powered sugar and I somehow felt by donning these powdered sugar and foam mustaches that we were in for a great day.

At that point, we would wander around, maybe into a church and then seek out our lunch restaurant, where we would proceed to have a three course meal. Upon finishing we usually walked around some more, perhaps saw some incredible art, and then went home to rest before setting out for our second three course meal of the day. I won’t lie to you, it was hard work, but those of us devoted to relaxing, eating an inordinate amount of amazing food, and drinking more than a bottle of wine a day are more than up for the challenge. I will leave you with a couple images from our time in Rome and promise to write in more detail about the outstanding food we had while we were there, but for now, I will throw down the gauntlet and challenge all of you to eat two separate three course meals in one day and not worry too much about all of the things you are not seeing or experiencing and instead just focus on the plate in front of you!


Anonymous said...

Oh, this takes me back to my first trip to Rome when I searched for any place that had air conditioning and could have cared less about the food! I would love to go back and concentrate only on the art and the cuisine and the people. Thanks for the photos! Let's have some more.

The Germinatrix said...

I will model all subsequent vacations after the trip to Rome you have shared here!
I was relaxing just reading about capuccinos, two three-course meals in a day, and multiple bottles of wine!
And is that a Frenchie I see in your profile photo, or a Boston Terrier? I am crazy about short-faced dogs, and having 2 French Bulldogs myself, I go crazy when I see someone else with one. I know the kind of happiness they bring to life!

Juree said...

Hi Ivette! Thanks for reading-- Italy was delightful and delicious and I just posted on my favorite restaurant in rome tonight..

Yes, my dog is a Frenchie-- her name is Gracie Allen and she is certainly one of the lights of my life. I am ridiculous when it comes to French bulldogs. ilove reading about Sadie and Dexter...

So, I have just accepted a job for Timber Press (I am sure you have some of their books being the gardner extraordinaire) and will start a food and sustainablity list. As a novice gardener (think herb pots on the fire escape) I am sure I will be asking for your advice!

Jill said...

Oh my dear...I am up to the challenge "to eat two separate three course meals in one day and not worry too much about all of the things you are not seeing or experiencing and instead just focus on the plate in front of you!" It sounds like the kind of contest that I might have a fighting chance of winning! I love your makes me feel as if I were there.