Saturday, November 7, 2009

Roma, Birds and Pizza

If you ever need a reminder of how much the American economy sucks all you have to do is come to Europe and experience spending the euro. Ouch.

Yesterday we arrived after a very uneventful flight and got settled into our very adorable little studio apartment just around the corner from the Colosseum. Nap time was in order and when we woke 4 hours later our friends drove us around (it was pouring out). I hate cars and being in one in Rome is never a good idea, it seems, to me unless you are coming home from a late night debauchery, as the only thing more insane than the traffic is trying to park.

Once parked we did a short tour of the old Jewish ghetto, sadly our nap made us late so the famous "everything is burnt and they have an amazing cake" bakery was already closed as it was Shabbos (Friday night) so stores where closed around 3 (just fyi). We did manage to pickup some very expensive baked goods at an Austrian Bakery (also oddly in the ghetto) which I promptly left along with all my guide books and food suggestions at a pizza place later on in the evening (which I hope to return to today and retrieve).

The highlight of the day was walking across the Tiber and seeing this massive swarm of starlings do amazing things. I didn't have my camera with me, but luckily we have You Tube so I was able to find this video of it.

Before our second nap of the day we were able to catch a bite of some OK pizza down the street (as mentioned), nice crust, not too soft or puffing, not to thin, but plain by my standards if of high quality. Then last night we went to this groovy hipster neighborhood - kind of Rome's Lower East Side only more sparse and funky - called Pigneto where we had a birthday meal for our friend Todd at this place called Primo.

One of the highlights for me was an amazing organic Sicilian wine, for 30 E a bottle. The room was fab, the food good, the highlight was a pan fried reconstituted salted Cod on crispy onion infused potatoes and an artichoke ravioli, which alternated between luscious and soft to chewy. The artichoke filling was intensely flavored and very fresh. The entire dish was covered in a generous grating of Pecorino. The highlight for me was the tiramisu, which came in a chocolate cup with a thin layer of chocolate cake at the bottom that was then filled with fluffy rich cream/custard dusted with cocoa. It was the sea salt that gave this tiramisu it's kick, though, and made it stand out from the typical run of the mill tiramisu we are all too familiar with.

All and all an amazing first day. I will get more details about the name of the restaurant and location etc once I shake off my jet lag and reconnoiter with our friends who took us. At the moment everything is a bit of a haze. Espresso is in my near future, enjoy the birds and I'll catch up with you soon. Ciao!

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