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!