When we first moved to Rome from Zimbabwe our list of desires for where to live were all about ease and practicality. I wanted stable electricity and water that came out of the tap every time I turned it on. I wanted a safe neighborhood where I could walk to grocery stores and coffee bars. It also had to be not too far from school for Noah or work for Mark. We ended up in Balduina, a very well appointed neighborhood just north of the Vatican that had just about everything on the list.
As our time here in Rome marched on so did our desires and needs and we moved off the Monte Mario to Monti and have found another very happy place to call home. I loved our time living up on the hill. It took a long time to find another butcher I liked as much and I still think that the Castroni in Piazza della Balduina is the best one in town.
The only thing that takes me back to the old neighborhood is that is where my dentist is. So you can guess how often that happens. The other evening after a dreaded, but ultimately just fine visit, Mark and I decided to go back to one of our old haunts, Il Peperoncino Dispettoso, for a quick weeknight pizza dinner.
When I was in Paris a few weeks ago I spent the better part of the morning at one of my favorite places in Paris. Not the taking in the Matisse and Renoir's at Musée d'Orsay watching the chic Saint Germaine crowds pass by at the Cafe Deux Magot, but at the legendary Le Bon Marche. This is a tradition of mine. I start at the beauty counters, move to the shoe department, linger in the house and stationery floor and eventually end up at Le Grande Epicere where I purchase a suitcase full of french groceries. Here in Rome we do not have department stores with quite the grandeur or selection that the grande boulevards of Paris offer, but we do have two really good department store options.
How are those New Years healthy eating resolutions going? After a trip to Paris and a few weeks of Carnevale treats I am ready for some crunchy salads and vitamin packed juice. I hate the phrase "eating clean" but I just realized that bikini season will be here in a a little more than six weeks. In the name of research and my waistline, here are two more places to supplement your pasta and pizza eating.
Rome is in the in-between right now. It is clear that spring is on it's way. I know that it is still technically winter, but the days are getting perceptibly longer, the shadows are changing, and most noticeably the produce selection in the market is getting some very welcome additions. Notably artichokes.
I have loved artichokes since I was little. My mother would boil them in salty water and serve them with lemony butter and I would scrape every last tender part off the spiky leaves, scooping up as much butter as possible of course. The choke was my favorite part, but it was a hard won reward, requiring delicate almost surgical precision to slice out the thin, sharp thistle. Here in the Rome the local artichokes, known as carciofo Romanesco have leaves that are tender and a choke without the fearsome prickle. I am happy to share some of my favorite places to eat artichokes in Rome.
This past weekend was action packed. We had houseguests and there were some major demonstrations that shut down most of central Rome for most of Saturday afternoon. It was also a few days of ridiculously pretty sunny skies and a flurry of activities organized for a group of visiting bloggers from Florence. Friday night I joined in on the fun that began with a very lively aperitivo hour and the Beehive. As dinner hour approached we piled into taxis and headed to the Enoteca Provincia Romana - Terre e Domus.
If your are reading my blog from pretty much anywhere on the east coast of the United States I know that you are fed up with winter. I have some great news for you. I have just finished putting all of my favorite places on the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Paestum into an ebook that you can download for your Kindle or Kindle app. Click on the book cover at the end of this post.