Notwithstanding my job requirements (I am a credit analyst), my mind is still pretty jumbled from the trip, so I thought I would start our account of Italian adventures with some random awards:
Hi-Lo Award (Top Casual Eating and Haute Cuisine Experiences)
Lo: Like two pigs Like two hyenas, we tore into our full-size pizzas with our bare hands, sauce and cheese dripping, crouched with two pizza boxes under a small awning in an alley in the pouring rain, at 10 o’clock in the morning in Naples, via dei Tribunali. It took us somewhere around 5 minutes (which admittedly, does not compare favorably with the eating speed of Pepe, our Amalfi-coast born driver from the day before who asserts he can eat a full-size pizza in 2 minutes flat). Then again, he probably did it sitting down properly, and using utensils…
The mutilated and consumed pizzas were marinara and margherita from Pizzeria Di Matteo, and they turned out to be, just like Pugliese chef Laura Giordano had promised, “the best pizza your mouth has ever had”. Totally basic and truly amazing…
Hi: Prior to our departure, we had made a decision that no Michelin-starred restaurant will be visited on this trip. Luckily, there are many, many chowworthy choices in the non-Michelin continuum. For my birthday, we had made a reservation at Antico Arco, a fine dining establishment on top of the Janiculum hill overlooking Rome. Looking all spiffy (check out a picture of Jeff, looking positively Italian :-)), we had a nice passeggiata (evening walk) before the meal, as the sun was setting over the Eternal City:
All in all, I second the opinion of many others that it is a must for any serious foodie eating their way through Rome. My amberjack tartar and bottarga spaghetti with seabass carpaccio, as well as Jeff’s poached egg, asparagus, yogurt, ricotta and black truffle appetizer and cacio e pepe with zucchini flowers were all exquisite:
Incidentally, this meal also featured the best red of the trip (Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso “Guardiola” 2007), a profound and elegant, Burgundian-style Nerello Mascalese from Mount Etna, Sicily).