Sunday, February 25, 2007


Just back from an excellent weekend in Rome visiting my friend Jasmine. Here are my top ten highlights [click on photos for larger versions]:

1. My lovely hosts, Jasmine and Marco.

2. Leisurely capuccinos and freshly squeezed blood orange juice each morning at the local cafe. The incredibly sweet man who made our coffee suprised both Jasmine and me each morning with a little drawing in our foam (although no picture for Marco or any other male patron).

3. Shopping around the neighborhood.

4. Cheese shopping at Antica Caciara. The proprietor addressed us as "my little treasures" and when he learned that I would be transporting cheeses to England said he would not sell them to me if I did not promise they would be eaten on Sunday (after which they would no longer be optimal and he did not want me eating non-optimal cheese). He also wanted toknow why I was leaving when we were "only just gettting to know one another."

5. Long dreamy lunches, including at Taberna Recina, a husband/wife-owned/operated slow food restaurant with an impressive wine selection. The friendly husband/sommelier came round after we'd ordered lunch so we could sample a variety of wines that would compliment our meal. We ate Roman style artichokes, puntarelle salad (a green in the chicory family which is dressed in olive oil & vinegar and tossed with anchovies), a hearty chick pea stew with homemade taglietelle, and then we shared a ricotta, pear, dark chocolate tart with a perfectly paired dessert wine. And then they brought us some toblerone. Excellent!

We also had a long lunch at Da Augusto in the Trastevere neighborhood. Just wonderful. I had simple rigatoni tossed with pecorino romano and olive oil with a side of bitter garlicky greens, crusty bread and some white table wine. Simplist food in the world but when it's of this high quality it is just unmatched.

6. Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the 17th century master whose works changed the face of scuplture. If you're interested, take a look at this short clip from Simon Schama's documentary The Power of Art which highlights many of the sculptures we went to see this weekend.

7. Baroque churches. Rome has no shortage.

8. This woman who, though in her 80s, still manages an unmistakeably girlish pose while waiting at a counter.

9. A lively, late-night dinner at Retro near Jasmine & Marco's house where I ate a wonderfully simple risotto with truffles, zuchini flowers, and pecorino cheese.

10. Quality time with a good friend!


Jasmine said...

After you left, me and Marco were in a food coma on Sunday, unable to pick up the phone to order even a pizza for dinner.

The bartenders asked about you today, and were surprised you left so quickly. We all miss you! The cheese guy most of all...

stephen said...

Big flirts, those Romans.

Jim Teacher said...

Roma is good. The wife and I got back from spending our honeymoon there last April, and she still pines for it now and again.

My one buddy who visited carried on about Trastevere, but I wasn't impressed. But maybe I just didn't look in the right places.