2015 Italy Food Diaries, Day 3

We’ve covered so much territory in the past 2 days I’m  not sure if I can remember it all…but I’m willing to try.

Sunday was another late start….after so much walking on Saturday we sort of took our time. Before I got my morning caffe, we grabbed a small slice of Joe’s new favorite potato pizza at La Renella, then walked across the lovely Ponte Sisto to meet up with our friends. We could not, of course, walk past Punto Gelato without Joe getting a morning cone. I think he got salted caramel, but honestly I’m losing track.

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We wanted to walk by the Vatican area to show the kids, so we headed west on via Monserrato (we rented a fabulous apartment there on our first visit) and then via Giulia. We popped into a bar on Monserrato for a bit more caffe and some fresh squeezed orange juice for the kids.  We’re fond of a little bar on via Giulia but it was Sunday, and it was closed. One more gelato stop for the kids before we crossed the river again to Castel Sant’ Angelo.

Without doing the research,  I can’t tell you much about Castel Sant’Angelo except that it’s a rather massive cylindrical building that you can climb up into (picture the spriral ‘staircase’ at the Guggenheim museum.)…I feel like it was somebody’s crypt but that could be totally wrong. There IS a sizable wall/tunnel connecting the castel to the Vatican, and it was meant to be a place for the pope to run to for safety if he needed protection. Anyway, the view from the top is pretty stellar, but there was a big line to get in so we opted to check back later. We walked around the back of the structure where there was a playground, shade, and plenty of locals chilling out on a Sunday afternoon.

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Behind Castel Sant'Angelo

Behind Castel Sant’Angelo

After a brief rest in the shade we strolled over to St Peter’s. Never have I seen so many people in the square. (The square that is a circle). We had no plans to go inside (while I’m willing to sleep in on a vacation, I’m not willing to wait in a line for half the day)…just wanted to show the kids the area. Our group got split up in the masses, so Joe and I decided to spin off and take a walk south of the Vatican back towards our neighborhood. (Getting split up is infinitely less stressful in the era of cell phones and texting!)  I had never walked in that area and was curious.  After a quick gelato/macchiato stop we started on the main road toward our ‘hood. It turned into a slow incline with no turn-offs. We were tackling Gianciolo (Janiculum) Hill.  I could almost hear Janus whispering from the earth “Don’t even THINK about turning around now….I’ve seen what you two have been doing with gelati!!  In the end, we survived, and were rewarded with a fabulous view from the top of the hill.

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Several decending staircases later, we were back in our little neighborhood. Our goal for lunch had been a place called Pianostrada Laboratorio Cucina. We found it, it looked awesome, it was tiny, it was packed and we were too tired to wait. (It was also pushing 3 pm and we didn’t know if they might close the kitchen soon). We reluctantly wandered around the corner to Taverna della Scala. I have to say, the food was pretty good, but the service was so impersonable that it sort of wrecked the meal.  We had bruschetta with beautiful prosciutto (drizzled with a delectable olive oil), a little cacio e pepe suppli (a cheesy peppery fried rice ball), an artichoke potato ‘pie’ and potato encrusted sea bass. While individual elements of the dish were tasty, there was something about the combination of fresh lemon on the fish with the potatoes that just seemed an odd combo. (And a service charge with unwelcoming service, and not even bread, is just not ok.)

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The short stroll back to our apartment included, of course, gelato. From Cremi, right around the corner. Can’t remember the flavors, but it was yummy.

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We took a little siesta. OK, maybe a big siesta. I’m trying to remember if there was anything we actually accomplished after lunch and before dinner. Nope. I think just a siesta. And some reading. Well, it is the foodie tour after all.

Around 8 pm we walked out our door and all of 75 feet to Antico Caffe del Moro. Joe had a delicious Risotto della Pescatore….risotto with all kinds of seafood. I had a mouth-watering bruschetta with gorgonzola cheese, paper thin pears, and a little dollop of sweet jam (totally re-creating that on the deck when we get home)…..along with a classic, (and very filling) lasagne bolognese. Delicious food, and delightful service. I told the waitress in Italian (I think) that my son enjoyed the meal very much and he will write a good review on Trip Advisor. It looked like they had a nice appertivo hour going too, but we were a little late for that. Next time.

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