To start off I had an ambitious day. I had a tour at the Coliseum and the Vatican (3 hours each) and then supposed to see the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, then have dinner with the old president of Mt. Carmel, Fr. Carl. I was also supposed to eat and hit up some different foodie places. It was a lot but I got it all done.
I was late to my first tour by 5 minutes and got bumped to the next one. My hosts made me an awesome cup of espresso and a simple traditional breakfast of toast, coffee, pizza bread, marmalade, and orange juice. To which I couldn’t say no even though I was running late.
I then have jogged/waddled my way a 1.5 to the coliseum to then argue with a tour guide to get me on the next tour. Yes, I know its my fault I was late, but I don’t care. I ran there and paid my money. For god sakes that was the first time Ive run in months. I deserved to go in.
After the 3 hour tour, I only had 45 minutes to get to the Vatican. Which when I looked on google maps said it was an hour walk away. To which I promptly said screw that and got an uber. By the way they only have uber black here. Fancy right? Yeah the Romans like their nice stuff, like blind siding you with a €10 glass of house wine. I digress.
I only had about 10 minutes to get something quick to eat before my tour started. So I ran into a shop and grabbed a panini. It had ham, arugula, and mozzarella. Simple and pretty good, and pretty cheap. That and a bottle of water was like €5.
Then after the 3 hour Vatican tour I was starving. But it was like 4 and I had dinner plans at 7. So what do I do?!?! Ahhh thats right, grab a slice of pizza rustica. Pizza in Rome is very simple and the main ingredient is bread, fire, and cheese; not sauce. Pizza more or less refers to the way they bake the bread, flat and either square or round and then topped with something, anything. This had sausage, parmesan, and mozzarella. It was really good and hit the spot. They also fold it in half like a sandwich.
I then was still hungry and had some time to kill, so I walked to this local gelato place my good friend Padre Benjamin Aguilar recommended called Giolitti. I got the pistachio and nacciole hazelnut or chocolate with hazelnut gelato. It was amazing. So smooth and creamy, not too sweet. It was really refreshing after a long hot day.
I was truly a happy fat kid with an ice-cream cone at this moment.
For dinner Fr. Carl took me to this place Padre has been hyping up ever since I told him I was going to Rome. The place was called Osteria Dell’ Anima (which means restaurant of the soul). Between me and you I think he was a bit jealous it was Fr. Carl eating there with me and not him.
Upon getting there Fr. Carl immediately tells me to pick out a bottle of wine for us, and then tells me he can’t drink that much cause he’s on some antibiotics. He goes “you can drink a whole bottle of wine right?” I didn’t really have a choice at that point the waitress already opened it, and I’m not one to leave a drink on the table.
He then told the waitress to bring two plates of this famous pasta dish they have. That, I as well as him, has never seen anywhere else or even heard of. But he insisted it was amazing. They were little dumplings of pasta stuffed with cheese and pears in a creamy carrot sauce. They were f*cking incredible. Salty, creamy, sweet, a nice nuttiness from the parmesan. It was very much a perfectly composed dish. Well balanced and light. A great way to wet the appetite and start the meal.
He then ordered us Saltimbocca to the Roman. See, theres an Italian translation, but I couldn’t get it on the website menu, so here’s a screen shot of the english version.
It’s veal in the Roman style which means its breaded and fried, then covered in prosciutto and topped with a piece of sage and a white wine sauce. It was also incredible. Salty, tender, savory. The vegetable were cooked perfectly, and I couldn’t get enough of the white wine sauce.
Side note, Fr. Carl is ordering all this stuff in Italian so I have no idea whats coming next or what he’s saying. But the waitress just smiles and nods at him and keeps bringing things to the table.
Next came after dinner drinks, tiramisu, and espresso. Fr. Carl had strawberries since they were in season, but the waitress said the tiramisu was the best in the city. She wasn’t wrong, it was arguably the best tiramisu I’ve ever had.
He also ordered us some digestivos which are after dinner liqueurs to help everything get digested, the most common is limoncello. Yes, after 3/4 of a bottle of wine and a shot I was starting to get drunk with the former head of my high-school. It was a bit of a surreal moment.
It was a wonderful dinner and really awesome to catch up, get the inside Carmelite scoop, and to talk to a familiar face after being alone for 8 days.