When is really hot, eat always a good Ice - Cream !!
Although not quite the ice cream mecca Florence is, Rome's gelato is still heavenly.
Any gelateria (ice cream parlor) that advertises produzione propria (homemade) will have a high-quality, tasty stock, but who has the best gelato in town?
Well, that's a question fiercely debated by any and all ice cream lovers.
First, a few ground rules:
★★ Caffè Giolitti - Perhaps the most famous gelateria in Rome, going strong since 1900 and still serving the best classic Roman ice cream...
★ Tre Scalini - Classy cafe on Piazza Navona serving the classic homemade tartufo, a gelato gobstopper with a cherry in the center...
★ The granita cart - On warm, Roman summer nights, the last remaining traditional shave-ice stand in Rome parks on the banks of the Tiber River in Trastevere....
Sources and Copyrihts: http://www.reidsitaly.com/destinations/lazio/rome/dining/gelato.html
The Best Wine Bars in Rome
I’m here in Rome, camping out between bike trips. While looking up wine bars, I happened across an entry in Hungry Girl, where she runs into Mario Batali and he tells her “I only eat at wine bars in Rome. That’s where the best food is.” So I decided to put my list of bars up against Mario’s. The research has been exhausting! In checking them out, I found some new favorites, found that some of my old faves had gone downhill, and verified that the tried-and-true great wine bars of Rome are NOT resting on their laurels! For this “best of” list assume fabulous wine selections and good food … wine bars with sh**y selections didn’t make the list. Each address below is linked to the google map.
Cul de Sac – This has always been my favorite. Why? Walls lined with bottles, outdoor seating, always crowded, perfect location, great array of cheeses and meats, darn good food, too. Along a cute sidestreet close to the Piazza Navona. Piazza di Pasquino, 73
Il Simposio di Constantini – Classy place connected to a very good restaurant. I was sitting at the bar, enjoying a glass of Pinot Nero and the free hors d’oeuvres, and I met a group of ex-pat journalists, which led to two more glasses of wine, which led to …
… a party a couple of nights later, which led to more new friends, which led … you just gotta love Rome. Close to Castello Angelo. Piazza Cavour, 16
Enoteca Ferrara – I can’t totally like this, as it’s the favorite of my ex-hubby, but with 24 wines by the glass and a cruvinet, there is always something interesting to try. Free antipasto served all night. The seating in the front room is kind of cramped in a weird layout and doesn’t lend to a good “da solo” experience, so bring a friend. In a student-y area of Trastevere. Via del Moro, 1/a
Trimani – Great food and atmosphere, and open for both lunch and dinner. Call for reservations, so you don’t get stuck sitting upstairs in Siberia which has next-to-no atmosphere (but good for large parties). Close to the train station. Via Cernaia 37B
313 Cavour One of the largest selections in Rome, and an extensive menu, too. Unlike some Roman wine bars (can you say “Trimani”?), the service is very friendly. But always call beforehand because they are often closed for no apparent reason. (No posted hours). On a traffic-heavy street close to the Coliseum. Via Cavour 313
Roscioli –Incredible cheese and salami case out in the front. Not a lot of food options, but the pasta is truly the best I have ever had in Rome. Great music, great service. Jewish Quarter. Via dei Giubbonari, 21
Il Goccetto – Old, old old school. Lots of Italian wine biz guys hang out here. Some of them look like they’ve been around since the days of Mussolini! The walls are lined with bottles, so go to it and find something great. Little rickety wood tables … place looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in 20 years. But good prices, and what a selection! Via dei Banchi Vecchi 14
These ones didn’t make the list. If you are only in Rome for a couple of days, these won’t give you the full Roman wine bar experience, but if you are hanging out for awhile, there are still reasons to try these out.
Enoteca Piccolo – small selection, but other than Cul de Sac and Il Simposio, the only other one with outdoor seating.
‘Gusto– Huge, modern interior. ‘Gusto is a pizzeria, restaurant, grocer AND wine bar. Nothing about this place feels Roman to me.
Casa Bleve – In a 15th Century building off of Piazza Navonna. Very elegant, but very expensive.
Palatium – Specializing in the not-that-great-but-interesting wines of the area (Lazio). This is an excellent place for lunch as it serves very authentic Roman cuisine. Always hopping with locals. By the Spanish Steps.
Hint: At many places you can reserve a table! It’s such a drag to enter a fun, crowded bar and find out there are no available tables. But a little-known secret is that many of these places will take reservations. Numerous times we got dirty looks from people who had been waiting a long time but because we called ahead, we got seated right away.
Sources and Copyrihts: http://starckland.wordpress.com/2008/10/13/the-best-wines-bars-in-rome/
My first mouthful of bucatini all’amatriciana was at a small restaurant tucked away on the cobblestone streets of Trastevere. I was exhausted and drenched from the rain when I spotted a trattoria with cheery little lanterns on every table. On that first cold day of autumn the peppery pasta warmed me through. When well-executed it’s the kind of satisfying dish that makes you want seconds, thirds, even fourths. To my mind, there is no better introduction to Roman cuisine.
Bucatini all’amatriciana is an ode to simplicity – rich smoked pork, sweet tomatoes, heat from chili peppers, and the sharp, salty kick of pecorino cheese. Because amatriciana is a classic dish it has a long history and because it is Italian, this history is controversial and hotly disputed. Most but not all agree that “amatriciana” comes from Amatrice, a tiny town in the mountains bordering Abruzzo about 100 miles from Rome. (Some Romans claim that the dish is truly alla matriciana, developed by Romans and that Amatrice has nothing to do with such culinary bliss). Most agree that the dish descends from gricia, a pasta dish made with pepper, cheese, and smoked pork jowl, also known as guanciale.
Bucatini all’amatriciana has a different flavor profile than most Italian pasta. In its purest, most classic form the sauce has only four ingredients: cured pork, tomatoes, cheese, and hot peppers. Because of the recipe’s poor origins (this was the dish of shepherds, not statesmen), there is traditionally no onion, no garlic, no herbs. Because of this it tastes wildly different from the familiar Italian-American tomato sauce served with spaghetti and meatballs. The modern Roman version often adds onions, garlic, or a splash of dry white wine. Best of all it comes with bucatini, a kind of pleasantly plumpened up version of spaghetti that has an irresistible spongy surface to soak up the sauce.
I spent a few weeks playing around with the recipe, throwing in the onion and garlic you see often in the Roman version, substituting pancetta for the classic guanciale. I tried Marcella Hazan‘s version with butter and olive oil but it tasted of northern Italy, not Rome. I tried the recipe from Mario Batali - it was filled with the lively flavors of herbs, carrots and garlic, a scrumptious dish but not the one I was seeking.
In the end I found a recipe summing up the best of amatriciana – simple, just enough contrast between the ingredients to bring out their best. The onion you find in Roman versions is included adding a satisfying textural crunch but the garlic is absent.
Because of amatriciana’s simplicity, making it in Italy is easy. You go to the butcher, ask for un etto (100 grams) of guanciale, buy a few cans of tomatoes and you’re in business. In the States it is a bit more complicated. If you are fortunate enough to live in a large city near a fine Italian or imports grocer, you may be able to find guanciale. It is also available through a number of online vendors, such as AgBASE or Zingerman’s. Cut from the pig’s jowls, guanciale has a high fat content that gives the simple pasta a luxurious depth.
If guanciale is unavailable, pancetta is a fine substitute. However as you can see in the photo above, guanciale (shown bottom) has a significantly higher fat content than pancetta (shown top). If neither guanciale nor pancetta is available in your neighborhood, you can always use a top-quality lean bacon. The ever-knowledgable Patricia Wells suggests blanching bacon for one minute in boiling water to remove some of its smoky flavor. If substituting either pancetta or bacon, I would recommend adding an extra tablespoon of olive oil before sauteeing the onion to compensate for the lower fat content.
1. Place a large pot of water to boil. Put in a small handful of large-grain salt.
2. Dice the guanciale into medium pieces, cubes of about 1/2 inch. Be wary of dicing the meat too small, if so it will be easier to overcook and you’re aiming for tender rather than crispy.
3. Sautee the guanciale and hot pepper in the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. As soon as the fat becomes translucent, remove the meat and set to drain on a paper towel.
4. Add onions to the rendered fat and sautee, stirring constantly, until translucent. Add the tomatoes and the guanciale. Simmer on low heat about 5-10 minutes.
5.When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta. Traditionally you use bucatini or spaghetti, though rigatoni is also an excellent partner for amatriciana. Cook the pasta 1 minute less than the package states. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce. Toss with the sauce and add the pecorino romano, stirring constantly so that the melted cheese coats the pasta. Remove from heat and serve immediately with additional grated pecorino for sprinkling on top.
Serves 4 people who are also eating a side salad, 3 hungry people, or a famished couple who skipped lunch.
Sources and copyrights: http://www.romeloft.com/food/amatriciana/