Friday, April 28, 2017

Home again

Eastside Road, April 27, 2017—
YESTERDAY WAS flight day: a beer and a sandwich at Stockholm's Arlanda airport; a "nice and tasty" supper of roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans with a glass of red wine on the Norwegian Airlines airplane.

But today, ah, today: Cook found a couple of Franco Dunn's Provençal sausages in the freezer and "grilled" them in a black iron skillet, cooking potatoes, unpeeled garlic cloves, and rosemary in another, and steaming some nice green beans.

Green salad afterward, and we're home.

     Zinfandel, Alvey-Sinclair (Dry Creek Valley), 2013
     Alas, I don't recall how we came by this amateur bottling; it was very good indeed

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A final tartare…

Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 25, 2017—
AND WHAT SHALL we have for dinner, this last evening in Rome for the foreseeable future? We'd spent the afternoon walking the Gianicolo, admiring the view and the late afternoon light, and stopped in for a Negroni to commemorate the occasion, and, well, why not just stay here, and have some final aperitivi and a last battuto ?

Among the aperitivi delicious, flavor-forward tomato bruschetti and, best of all, anchovy on butter on toast with pickled lemon, truly a perfect mouthful.

This was the second time I'd had tartare here this month; tonight's was better, I thought. I liked the presentation: the chopped beef garnished with some lettuce leaves and surrounded by plit capers and dollops of mustard and balsamic honey. I admired it a few moments before taking knife and fork to it to mix it all up. This seems an important moment to me, like saying grace, or Buon appetito, or making the traditional toast before first sipping the drink: it's an acknowledgement that there's a transaction going on here between the diner and the eaten.

Anyhow a delicious accompaniment to a bittersweet occasion. Alla prossima !

     House white in carafe; Barbera d'Alba, Cascina Roccalini, 2014; botn "natural" but pleasant

•Litro, Via Fratelli Bonnet 5, Rome; +39 06 45447639

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Two of the best

Via Damaso Cerquetti, Tuesday, April 24, 2017—
BIG EATING DAYS, as we are not in the Eternal City forever. Sunday we feasted in the Italian tradition: a family dinner at a favorite trattoria at midday. There were plenty of appetizers: most memorably, filetti di baccalà and alici di Anzio (deep-fried strips of breaded salt cod and of Anzio anchovies), anchovies in oil.

I went on to penne alla carbonara, because in all these days I don't think I've had a carbonara yet. This was, predictably, very good — though I wish the pasta had been anything but penne.

     White wine in carafe
Da Cesare, Via del Casaletto, 45, Rome; +39 06 536015


TODAY we repeated the experiment but at a traditional weekday hour, 8:30, the five us seated at a quasi-outdoor table at a Slow Food-recommended place near our apartment but never before visited. (By us, I mean.)

Again, wonderful appetizers: tomato bruschetti, lively and front-of-the-tongue; baccalà croquettes; fine prosciutto from Amatrice — the proprietors of this fine place have roots in that town.

I went on to a favorite pasta, strozzapreti, in a lamb ragù sauce with little artichokes: magnificent. I had intended to eat more, but couldn't. Well, a jam crostata, never as good as they look.

     Grigeto (I think)/Malvasia, white, natural, in a pitcher: mystifying at first and a little sweet, then quickly perfectly suited to the first courses; Cesanese, Martino (Lazio), 2015, forthcoming and fruity but with good body and finish
Osteria Palmira, Via Abate Ugone 29, Rome; +39 06 58204298

I recommend both these places whole-heartedly, and hope to return.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ostia Antica

Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 22, 2017—
OUT TO OSTIA ANTICA today, there to stroll the ruins, visit the seaside, and lunch.

That was in the archeological preserve itself, whose tavola calda is quite acceptable. Look! Spinach! I settled for a simple plate of roast pork with a bit of carrot-flavored sauce, spinach on the side, the whole plate then put in an oven to freshen it all up.

Dinner at home: Minestrone soup.

     Red wine in the glass
•Cafeteria, Scavi Di Ostia Antica, Viale Dei Romagnoli 717, Ostia Antica, Rome; +39 337 1175780

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Roman eating

Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 21, 2017—
WE DO EAT OUT from time to time, of course. This was a long day, seven miles of walking in parks, gardens, and the Forum; not enough time to drop back to the apartment for leftovers, let alone meal preparation.

After beginning with a stroll through the Roseto, just opened, and the Orange Tree Garden, stately yet welcoming, we re-visited a place we'd enjoyed two weeks ago — not for a Martini this time; for a saltimbocca alla romana.

I must confess that neither my iPhone nor its proprietor always takes the perfect photograph, and this one has had its critic. It isn't east to convey the content of a plate with a photo. I wanted to go for a close-up.

Saltimbocca is one of those perfect combinations of already manipulated ingredients: vitello or veal, pounded thin; sage leaves; prosciutto. The meat is dredged in flour and browned in a hot pan in oil and butter; the pan is deglazed with white wine or Marsala (the latter, I think, here).

Chicken or veal stock contributes to the sauce, and there you have it. There's a recipe online. It is one of the Hundred Plates, and delicious at this place

     Pecorino da Lazio in bicchiere
•Max Roma, Viale Aventino 20, Rome; +39 06 64420669


WE FINISHED THE DAY at a restaurant I continue to like. The last time we ate here I thought it had slipped a bit, but it's bounced back, better in a sense than before

What I have here is pasta, either alla gricia or simply cacio e pepe. We began with a few antipasti, and it was these that had improved, in my memory. We five shared anchovies with lemon, oil, oregano, and chili pepper; braised vegetables; and a delicious Pecorino with honey; I went on to Spaghetti cacio e pepe: that fine Pecorino and black pepper, and basta cosí.

     Bianco di Toscana, Poggio d'Oro, 2015: quite serviceable.
•Trattoria da Lucia, Vicolo del Mattonato 2B, Rome; +39 06 5803601

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Leftovers

Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 20, 2017—
YOU WOULD BE WRONG to think we complain about eating leftovers at home. We had roast and mashed potatoes, asparagus, cold roast beef, and a platter of agretti, and more of those marvelous cookies, and it was perfectly fine.      bottle ends: Grenache; Barbera

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Algerian dinner

Via Damaso Cerquetti, April 19, 2017—
ALGERIAN BY VIRTUE of the wines, primarily, and the desserts: but the roast lamb had qualities not that far removed, I think. It had a curious provenance, that lamb: it was given to us along with a huge quantity of bay leaves, rosemary, mint, and small garlic cloves by a friend whose country place we visited the other day. It was all local provender, and it was delicious. With it, asparagus and potatoes.

Hamza had just returned from a weekend in Algiers, and brought a box of extremely delicious cookies his mother had made for us, and a couple of bottles of wine:

     Rosé, Grenache and Cinsault, Fleur d'Aboukir (Algeria), nv: crisp, fruity, engaging, delicious
     Grenache, Koutoubia (Algeria), nv: full, forward, spicy

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016      2015     2017