I’ve been here two days so far, and have already tried something new, discovered two new restaurants to return to, and eaten old favorites. My old favorites were each discovered at new places:
The second old favorite was pasta alla amatriciana. This, I loved. I had lunch today with old friends at a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try, called Da Armando al Pantheon. There are a ton of restaurants that have this classic dish on their menus. I eat it when I’m in Rome because it’s so hard to make at home. It requires guanciale which is the cured jowl of a pig. While many cured parts of the pig are readily available in the U.S., the cheek is less available, and of course is very expensive. At home, I make this dish with pancetta and it’s simply not the same. After our meal at Armando’s, we ordered espresso and it came in these adorable little cups with lids. It was creamy, hot and delicious.
So, I did mention that I tried something new today…..tripe….yipes! When we were at Armando’s the waiter wanted to tell us about today’s specials which included tripe, “a delicious and classic Roman dish”, we were told. Yes, I know its classic, but was it delicious? Well….yes and no. For those of you who don’t know, tripe is basically the stomach lining of a cow, or pig. Our little group decided we should order it since I’d never had it, so we asked if we could just have a small taste. After our meal, here came a plate with about ½ a cup of tripe in a lovely tomato based sauce. And there was the chef in the background giving us the “thumbs up” signal encouraging us to dig in. One of the group simply refused, having had it before and knowing better. Another in the group gave it the old college try…but her back was to the chef (He couldn’t see her facial reaction). That left me, facing the chef. So how was it? Well, the sauce was delicious with lots of fresh black pepper, but the tripe itself….well, I don’t need to order it again. It’s a textural thing. I kept a stiff upper lip and finished the dish as we all three returned the thumbs up with big smiles on our faces. He was so happy.
I spent some time reading and making phone calls in the Villa Borghese park late this afternoon. As I was leaving the park and the sun was beginning to set, I was able to capture this photo.
Can't wait for my tour group to discover Rome!