Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The taste of Rome

Thanks to the little bar at the top of Gmail that throws newsitems and blog posts of my interest at me, I came across this delicious piece from this past Sunday's NYT.
Say Rome to me and my first thoughts are not of the swirling traffic around the marble wedding cake that is a monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, nor of the eaten-out stone melon that is the Colosseum, nor of the "Dolce Vita" set as immortalized by Fellini. Rather, I think first of the creamy foam, or spuma, that tops lightly sugared espresso at the always jammed Sant'Eustachio around the corner from the Pantheon, the coffee bar that I still consider this city's best.
[Of course, my first thoughts of Rome tend to be of a dank, gloomy dirt pavement lined with tombs: de gustibus ... :-)]
About 20 years ago I happened into Osteria dell'Angelo, then a tiny slice of a place in a quiet residential district, not far from the Vatican Museum, only to return whenever I am in Rome. Owned by the congenial Angelo Croce, a retired celebrated racecar driver, it grew into a much larger space still decked with photographs of many sports stars who have visited. Brown-paper-topped tables and a handsome stone floor retain the feeling of the tiny adjacent original, and the strictly Roman fare is listed in local dialect. Thus, the second courses appear on the menu as seconni instead of secondi, and sweets are dorci, not dolci, and nun instead of non means no.
Oh boy! I can't wait to get back! :-)

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