Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hiatus Over

It's been a while, I know. I should have warned you about the temporary break I would be taking, but I was so excited about my parents coming to visit that my thoughts were elsewhere. And then they were here and I forgot my camera uploader cord and they ran me ragged (I was their full-time tour guide) and I was too spent by the end of each day to remember to blog. So here I am, two full weeks later, exhausted and blogger-backlogged.

(chicken and poppa came to visit!)

You know how they say that the only way to know if you really know something is to teach it to someone else? Well I think that's the same about showing someone else a city. I (sort of) really know Rome because I was able to show it to my parents. I made an itinerary, including restaurants, gelato tours, scheduled naps and obviously all the important sights they needed to see.

(me and momma at trevi fountain)

It was fun being able to show them my city, the way I choose to see it. And I even got to see things that I hadn't already seen - which, you'd think after three full months, there wouldn't be that many things, but there was a lot. I had never been to the Jewish quarter or the giant synagogue (so beautiful), I had never been inside the coliseum, I'd never seen the Sistine Chapel, I'd never gone to Villa Borghese, or climbed to the top of the Spanish Steps or eaten a real Italian cannoli (clearly the most important). But when you're showing someone else around, you need to do the touristy things. 

(the MOST delicious cannolis from Nonna Vincenza, a sicilian bakery)

While my parents enjoyed the sights Rome has to offer, they were definitely more interested in its culinary delights (obviously, where do you think I get it from?) I restaurant researched for weeks, for good reason, because 6 out of the 7 restaurants we went to were some of the best places I've eaten at so far in Italy.

(burrata with sundried tomatos, mint and filo dough)

We started our eating escapades at Ditirambo, which is right outisde of Campo dei Fiori. The restaurant was hopping at 9:30 when we got there, mostly with locals, though we coincidentally sat next to some old celebrity that my parents knew (my dad was weirdly star struck). We ordered tons of food (as per usual), though the best dish was the burrata. I think it's pretty clear that I love all kinds of cheese, especially when it's sitting atop flaky pastry, but burrata has to be one of my faves.

Unfortunately a lot of places were closed on Easter Sunday, it's kind of a big deal in Rome (you know, cause the Pope's here and makes a speech and all that). So we wandered around the Jewish quarter (they were still open!) and took it easy. Sunday night we ate at Ciccia Bomba, on Governo Vecchio right behind Piazza Navona, and it was possibly the best meal I've had here. Everything was just SO good. The wine, the antipasti, the pastas, my parent's couldn't get over it. They wanted to go back later in the week, but it would be a sin to eat at the same place twice when there's so many other places to try (though I think I'll have to take my friends back).

(fried artichokes)

(butter poached asparagus with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs)

(pear and pecorino cheese ravioli)

(rigatoni with tomato, pine nut and basil pesto)

Sorry for making you all hungry, but La Giostra in Florence is tied with Ciccia Bomba for deliciousness and I couldn't not include all of the pictures. The three of us took a day trip to Florence on Tuesday and went here for lunch. It was a bit outside of the central part of the city (and by that I mean it was a 10 minute walk away from the Duomo, which is like the center), but it was totally worth it. I wanted an entire bowl of the fried artichokes. And though I usually don't like asparagus, I could have eaten the entire plate. And the pear and pecorino ravioli (what the restaurant is known for) was sweet and savory and perfect.


Now, about that gelato. Of course I took them to Della Palma (see this post) for the profiterole gelato that my dad has been dreaming about for weeks. However, on our way there we passed San Crispino, one of the most famous gelato places in Rome. They don't serve their gelato in cones because they think it compromises the flavor, and they don't have their gelato in a big display case like most places. You have to just trust the names. We tried the pistachio and honey flavors. The pistachio was good, but the honey was amazing - it was just cold, creamy honey. Then, because it was right there, we went to Della Palma just for a taste (of course we had to go back later in the week so they could actually try different flavors). During our trip to the Vatican, we stopped at Old Bridge Gelateria, which serves up enormous cones in a variety of homemade flavors. My favorite was the banana and nutella (really soft and creamy, more like froyo). And on their last day here, I brought my parents to Gelateria Frigidarium, right behind Piazza Navona. Remember Magic Shell ice cream topping? The chocolate sauce that hardened? Well they serve that here, in dark and white chocolate. I wish I had picture to show you, but when gelato's in front of me I have trouble thinking of anything else. All in all, it was a great week with my parents. Tons of sightseeing, even more great food, and more one-on-one parent time than I've had since I was two. 

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