Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Rome Trip (Day 5)

Day 5: Sunday, May 21
Civita d'Antino
I got up around my usual time and did a relatively quiet workout downstairs while Mr. E and J slept in. We all gathered for breakfast around 10am, enjoying the locally-made berry crostata and J's expertly made cappucinos. Mr. E and I both needed some extra coffee and protein, so J kindly made us some additional espressos and slow-basted eggs. Given the lingering clouds and threat of showers, we decided to forego our planned hike up to the nearby sanctuary and instead spent a couple of hours walking around Civita and learning more about its history, particularly its unique link to a group of Danish painters during the 19th century.

We eventually wandered over to the cheese-making demonstration and observed the milking of goats and sheep, playful antics of the sheep dogs, boiling and straining of the milk, and a sample of the final product.

Since we still had some time before our lunch appointment, J took us down to the Napoleonic Cemetery (hope that's the correct term), which is one of the few remaining extant examples from the era when all burials had to be outside the town walls. Interestingly, there's a small section outside the main building where one of the Danish artists is buried. Since he was Protestant, he couldn't join the other Catholic remains inside the building, but he was still honored enough in the town to deserve a burial spot.

We walked back up through the lower part of the town, admiring the cobblestone patterns, the fish in the reflecting pool, a couple of other interesting fountains, and a piece of "modern art," on our way to the Antica Osteria Zahrtmann restaurant for lunch.

The restaurant is owned and run by friends of J, who clearly have a passion and joy for hosting people and providing an amazing culinary experience featuring fresh, simple, local products. They were also wonderfully accommodating of my dietary limitations and allergies, which I always appreciate.

We began with fresh bread, a plate of antipasto cured meats for Mr. E and J, and large chunks of two local cheeses. The next course for Mr. E and J was the specialty salted cod, known as baccalá, which was in a salad-like mix with fresh greens, "bear garlic," and strawberries. Due to some potential translation issues, we weren't entirely sure if the bear garlic was "real" garlic (i.e. part of the allium family), but we figured it was better for me to avoid it, just in case. So my first dish was instead a delicious homemade spaghetti with fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes, and a very light sauce. Yum!

The next phase of the meal was ravioli for Mr. E and J and simple baked baccalá on a bed of arugula for me. At this point, my meal was done (that was plenty!), but Mr. E and J were served ribs in a fig reduction sauce with chestnuts and a final dish of baked lamb. Oh my... Mr. E forged ahead with trying dessert, which was a slice of rum-soaked panettone in a chocolate sauce, and I had a small bite just to taste. We all shared a bottle of the house red wine and quite a bit of water throughout the entire 3+ hour extravaganza. At the end of the meal, Mr. E and I also tried the house-made genziana, a distillate digestivo to help process all of the amazing food we had just consumed.

And, for this entire meal for the three of us, the total cost was only 85 euros. Incredible! Definitely worth so much more, both for the quality of the food and just the overall atmosphere and experience. Amazing!!!

Since S and the kids were spending the day in Rome, J kindly dropped us at a Metro stop near his father-in-law's apartment in the city, so we didn't have to take the train back as we had originally planned. We emerged at Flaminio, near where we'd had dinner the first night, and attempted to catch the #19 tram back to our hotel. For some reason, however, it didn't appear to be running, as we waited for nearly 45 minutes and saw quite a few #3 trams pass us by with no sign of a #19. So we ended up walking back though the Villa Borghese park and up the hill on Ulisse Aldrovandi. We were both still pretty full from lunch, so the walk was probably a good thing! I did munch on some of the yummy plain crunchy snack mix I'd bought during our Carrefour trip as we planned for the next day, and then Mr. E read a bit while I did my daily yoga before we both turned in for the night.


Blogger Stephanie Goodner said...

THAT FOOD!! :-) <3

11:34 AM  

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