Tag Archives: Antica Taverna

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015!

6 Jan
The last two weeks have been busy what with four – count ’em – four holidays in Italy! December 25 and 26 (Santo Stefano) we spent in Ortisei (see prior posts), then returning from vacation we had two more holidays to enjoy: New Year’s Day and Epifania.  Life is good!
New Year’s Eve we traveled to our favorite trattoria in Roma, Antica Taverna. The owner Paolo and our favorite waiter, Giovanni, took good care of us and we enjoyed a protracted dinner with too many dishes to name them all and a steady supply of good red wine. The dessert was the only item I managed to photograph, a delightful tortino al cioccolato.  It tasted 10 times better then it looks. It was THAT GOOD.  We slipped out before 23:00 in hopes of finding a cab before the whole city descended into chaos. The buses stop running at 21:00 on NYE because they can’t make it through the streets effectively. Can you imagine? Shutting down the buses because there are too many people in the streets? The Metro runs but unfortunately nowhere near our home. We can walk from Antica Taverna to home in 75-90 minutes, but it was really cold (for Roma) and walking did not seem like much fun. What luck! We found a cab at an obscure cabstand near the restaurant! Got home in time to endure 45 minutes of neighborhood revelry.  Some year we need to be brave and go down to the party in via Fori Imperiali and see the fireworks over the Colosseo. Some year.
This weekend was the start of the winter saldi (sales). We had a couple of purchases in mind and headed out into a bright if chilly Sunday along with THOUSANDS of people making their way to our destination, a major shopping street near the Vatican. We made our way by bus to transfer to the Metro at Termini. The Metro was packed like the Japanese subway on a business day. I wanted to take a picture of how crowded it was, but I couldn’t maneuver to do so packed in as I was with my arms pinned! We wondered at so many people heading out to shop! We might have bailed in the Metro station but by that time we were like cows going through chutes and there was no turning back. Moo. When we got to our stop, the hoards headed down the street toward the Vatican. It was then that we realized they were headed to Piazza San Pietro for the Pope’s angelis. Shopping was busy too, but not quite the cattle drive.
Today is Epifania, the official end to the Christmas season, also called Befana, when the witch La Befana visits the children leaving candy for the good ones and coal for the not-so-good children. Having no young children around and having spent Christmas out of Roma, we decided to have a small group of friends for a decidedly non-traditional lunch. Is Italian-Swedish a fusion cuisine? Our new friends and soon-to-be-landlords had voiced an interest in Swedish meatballs, and she wanted to make a special Neopolitan pastiera for dessert. Combined with a purè di patate casserole, Swedish pickled herring, Swedish cheese, a beet salad, and Italian salumi, it was cross-cultural event. Unfortunately as we got into entertaining we forgot to take more pictures!
So now we have to go a week-and-a-half until the next holiday, Martin Luther King’s birthday. Hope I can make it!

Good Day Rome Guide to Roman Restaurants

23 Jun

I am frequently asked – by both friends and people I have never met – where to eat in Rome, so Ric and I collaborated on this list providing a convenient link to send to those who inquire. Seems like a good idea for the blog so here you go!

What this list is not: A guidebook-type of recommendation; “the best” whatever that may mean; infallible.

What this list is: Places Ric and I have enjoyed over the past year or so. Some are true favorites we return to again and again, some are “okay if you are in the area.” Some are in “touristy” areas; some are quirky. Some are expensive, and some are, shall we say, more affordable.  Some are elegant; most are casual. And they are scattered about Rome as we love to roam. (Couldn’t resist the pun.)

Whether you like or dislike a place please let me know with a comment.

Oh, and make a reservation if at all possible. We have learned our lessons the hard way and had to go in search of an alternate spot, or sit at a terrible table reserved only for oafs that do not call ahead.

Click here for the list http://wp.me/P2puzn-ff 

Christmas Report

26 Dec

My intentions regarding this blog are often higher than my ability to meet my own expectations. I envisioned posting my Christmas Eve photos that night, after we arrived home. But it was midnight and I tumbled into bed.

The magnificent Church of Santa Susanna. There has been a place of worship here since 330 A.D.

The magnificent Church of Santa Susanna. There has been a place of worship here since 330 A.D.

We started La Vigilia di Natale as temporary Catholics, attending the lovely Church of Santa Susanna, seat of the American Catholic Church in Rome. We’ve been to a couple of services in churches lately where everything was in Italian (or Swedish if you saw my post about the children’s concert), so it was almost a surprise to walk through the door and hear singing in American-accented English.  Following church, about 20:30, it was already very quiet in the streets. The buses were half-empty and moving fast, the drivers enjoying freedom from the usual overwhelming auto traffic. Another Christmas miracle: a young man (French) gave me his seat on the bus. While it was a sweet gesture, I am a little sensitive to him thinking I am old and needed to sit. I prefer to think he was simply kind. And so we meandered through the streets of Rome by foot and bus, to our favorite trattoria.

We ate at this restaurant last Christmas Eve as well. In fact we have been dining here since our first trip in 2010 and go at least once a month, often more. We are regulars and warmly greeted. The feast on Christmas Eve is always fish and wine was included in the prezzo fisso menu.  Since it was looonnngg holiday meal, we managed to drain our included bottle during the first two courses.  So they opened another for us. An advantage to being regulars: no extra charge.

The antipsato course: smoked salmon, cured anchovies, seafood salad, steamed mussels and more.

The antipasto course: smoked salmon, cured anchovies, seafood salad, steamed mussels and more.

The Primi were a seafood risotto and a lovely mixed seafood pastes.

The primi were a seafood risotto and a lovely mixed seafood pasta.

The secondo was a lovely whole steamed fish, succulent and tender, accompanied by tiny fried whole fish.

The secondo was a lovely whole steamed fish, succulent and tender, accompanied by tiny fried whole fish.

My intention was to do a photo essay of my magnificent Christmas Day feast, but I forgot to take a picture of the golden, juicy turkey before carving, and failed to take a picture of our glorious table.   Our menu included an array of Mediterranean and Italian antipasti, followed by our crazy-expensive Italian turkey, stuffing with sausage & apples & raisins, sweet potato casserole, ratatouille and cranberries. For the first time in about 25 years I had to buy canned cranberries (available at the embassy’s commissary) because fresh berries were >$11.00 for a 10 ounce bag in the Italian market! We topped the meal with a homemade pear crostata. Our guest was a young man from the embassy who was highly entertaining and who has excellent taste in wine. Grazie, Ben!

Today is yet another holiday, Santo Stefano. Today we must get out and exercise. Never left the apartment yesterday except to go to the courtyard with our guest! I am a few miles behind and a few thousand calories ahead of plan.

La festa del ringraziamento

23 Nov

This is before we had the grappa.

I’m a little drunk right now (10:30pm). It might be because of the grappa the Swedes at the next table insisted we needed to try. We decided a few weeks ago that we could not recreate the usual American holiday spent with family and friends (you know who you are: Jonnie, Veronica, Barry, Derek, John, Susan, Debbie, Eddie), so we chucked it all and decided to embrace a different sort of Thanksgiving. We decided to continue our exploration of this marvelous city. Ric has to work tomorrow, and I committed to a couple of hours on Saturday, so leaving Rome was not an option.  We embarked on an urban hike up Monte Mario.It was a lovely fall day in Rome. We can see Monte Mario from our windows in Parioli and for

The green path up Monte Mario. Only 450 feet high!

the 6 months we have lived here have said, “We need to go see what’s up there.” So today was the day. Monte Mario is officially the highest peak in Rome at 450 feet. (Yes, Oregonians, it is a lightweight. Even Minnesota has a higher peak at Eagle Mountain. People here are always asking us how we manage the “hills” of Rome. To an Oregonian this is flatland.) Monte Mario was lovely! Rome is spread out at your feet, and the hoards are left far behind as only locals make the trek, often with their dogs. There is a magnificent vista from a cafe where we indulged in espresso and croissants. (Pictures from the top were less than stellar due to haze, but it was really quite stunning in person.) In 2 1/2 hours we covered Monte Mario and the Foro Italico (site of the 1960 Olympic Games and current soccer stadium). Great exercise. Va bene. In fact, this reminded us so much of our Portland “urban hikes” it was amazing!

We could be in Portland or in Rome, at this point.

So we explored a bit of Rome we had not seen before and worked off our dinner before we ate it.

We thought briefly about cooking a turkey. Very briefly. It’s a lot of work for only two people.  Once we discarded that idea of cooking, it was easy to decide what to do. This evening

Best melanzane al forno anywhere. If you come to visit I will take you here, blindfolded, I don’t want everyone going here.

we ventured to our favorite trattoria, where we were warmly greeted by the staff as we go here often (and have for two years now). With Australians on one side and Swedes on the other, we feasted on mussels, melanzane al forno (eggplant parmesan), and trippa. (Ric ate the trippa. I’m not having any part of that!) The mussels here are sweet and delicious. I could eat them all night. We also indulged in dessert and the Swedes insisted we needed to try the “good” grappa. My it was good! But it was also a good thing we weren’t driving! Every time we go to this restaurant we end up in conversation with wonderful people: Italians, Aussies, Swedes, French. (Not often Americans.) There were toasts to our American holiday, and reminiscing about favorite holidays in our respective countries. How lucky we are to have this experience in international living!Much love to you, our American friends and family. We’ll “do” turkey and all the trimmings with you again one day, but for 2012 this was our celebration. Hope yours was festive and that you were surrounded by love.

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