Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

Mimi E Coco outdoor seating

The Stolarz family at Mimi E Coco

Margarita pizza with mushrooms and pancetta


Jamie says:  For our final dinner in Italy we decided to a restaurant from a street close to our apartment.  Mom suggested we check out our options on the entire street before committing to a restaurant.  Surprisingly, this was quite difficult since many restaurants caught our eye, but we followed Mom’s advice.  It was a good thing we did because we ended up choosing Mimi E Coco (near Piazza Navona, Via del Governo Vecchio, 72; tel. 0668210845), a restaurant toward the end of the street.  There were outdoor tables in the street and also indoor tables in the cute restaurant.  We chose to dine inside this time- away from the disruptive street vendors who tried to sell everything from roses to laser pointers.  The customer service at Mimi E Coco’s was one of the best we had during our trip.  They brought chips to the table and, as a gluten-free option, brought a cup of green olives.  I’ve never had olives like these; they seemed to be without any salt or preservatives and tasted so fresh.  The waitress and owner were very friendly and engaged in conversation with us- telling us stories and asking questions about us.  There were so many good options on the menu it was hard to choose.  We ordered two margarita pizzas with mushrooms and pancetta (they also placed a green olive in the center of each).  Pancetta covered the top of the pies and a generous layer of mushrooms lay below the pancetta.  The crust was the perfect thickness- moto bene!  I tasted one of Dad’s potatoes- they were really tasty, too.  They brought us all lemonchellos, which was a treat since I had wanted to try one in Italy and I had forgotten, and toasted “chin chin.”  This was the trip of a lifetime!

Read Full Post »

Grom gelato

Grom menu

Kathryn says: One afternoon, we split up to do our own things. I went shopping around Piazza Navona and bought a cool pen; it has a pull-out scroll that you can write a message on and it retracts back into the pen. I haven’t figured out what to write on it yet, so I’m open to suggestions…

Of course, after about an hour of shopping, I made my way to a gelateria for a mid-afternoon refresher. I went to Grom (Piazza Navona 1, angolo Via Agonale; Rome, Italy; Tel. 39 06 68807297; http://www.grom.it/ita/) I couldn’t really understand the menu since it was in Italian, but I knew it looked good, so I asked the server what he suggested and kind of winged it. I ended up getting Crema di Grom, which tasted like vanilla cream, and Torroncino, which tasted like cookies and cream. Both fine choices.

I sat by Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain and savored the treat, which melted fast but tasted so good. I tried not to get any on the postcards I was writing to my friends back home, and I couldn’t resist telling them how I was enjoying a cup of Italy’s best dessert while writing to them.

Read Full Post »

Castel Sant’Angelo


View from our table at Castel Sant’Angelo of St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican

The Stolarz family dining at the restaurant in Castel Sant’Angelo

Sweet rolls

Swordfish with potatoes

Spaghetti with red sauce and pancetta

Artichoke lasagna

Iced coffee

K & J on top of Castel Sant

Jamie says: When I was little, I remember eating in Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World. That was about my only castle experience until now. We were in for a real treat when we visited Castel Sant’Angelo after visiting St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. My Grandfather’s name was Angelo (meaning angel) so this castle had extra significance to us. We climbed the cool, dark interior of the castle with a destination in mind- a café for lunch. We had some “Stolarz luck” when a table cleared out right before Kathryn’s eyes. But it wasn’t just any table, it was one with the most beautiful view of the city and St. Peter’s Basilica. For lunch, we shared artichoke lasagna, swordfish with potatoes, and spaghetti with bacon. The table bread was very different than anything we had had in Italy before- lightly sweetened rolls. This was the first time I had swordfish. It was a thick fish and tasted alright (I remember reading it’s high in mercury, though). I was glad to have tried it but probably wouldn’t order it again. I liked the spaghetti with the red sauce and chunks of pancetta. Kathryn absolutely loved the lasagna.

Kathryn says: Some meals are unforgettable, and this lasagna was one of them. It was so good that once I tasted it, I knew I wanted my own plate of it. Mom and J had eaten the other two-thirds of it since we had planned on splitting everything. So after taking a bite of the swordfish and spaghetti, I gave the rest to Mom and J and ordered another lasagna. The layers of tender noodles, oozing mozzarella cheese and soft artichokes were topped with a fine powder of Parmesan cheese and surrounded by light, bitter arugula leaves and drizzles of a sweet balsamic vinegar reduction. The ingredients blended beautifully into an incredible orchestra of flavors. There I was, enjoying the best lasagna and the best view of the city sitting atop a castle with my dear family. I also enjoyed a sweet, bold iced coffee in a fancy glass. I felt like a princess in a fairy tale.

Read Full Post »

Peaches, strawberries, plums, and figs

Oatmeal with Craisins and cookies (Campiello frollino) with chocolate hazelnut spread (Nocita)

Cookies (Colussi Gran Turchese) with chocolate hazelnut spread (Nocita)

View of Piazza Navona from our apartment roof top

Jamie says:  I woke up early and was ready for breakfast.  I made a fruit salad with peaches, purple figs, plums, and strawberries.  When Dad woke up, he started making a pot of his oats and offered me some.  I contributed some dried cranberries to the pot which became nice and plump.  To my bowl, I added two packets of skim milk powder I saved from the airplane flight, and topped it with three cookies (Campiello frollino) with Nocita (like Nutella) on top (I saved these from Hotel Maxim in Florence).  I was surprised how much I liked the cookies and found another packet of two cookies (Colussi Gran Turchese from Hotel Diana in Venice) and another container of Nocita.  Cookies for breakfast- yum!  I’m thinking you could add that chocolate hazelnut spread to anything and it would be delicious!  Dad and I then headed up to the “roof top” of our apartment to check out the view of our piazza, Piazza Navona.

Read Full Post »


Bar Tre Scalini

Four Rivers Fountain in Piazza Navona

Jamie says:  After falling in love with the tartufo I ate last night, I learned that the Rick Steves’ Italy guidebook recommended Bar Tre Scalini (Piazza Navona 28/29, 00186 Roma, Tel. 06-68801996) for their tartufo which, according to the guidebook, was “world-famous among connoisseurs of ice cream and chocolate alike.”  K and I saved room for dessert (we barely touched the panna cotta at dinner) and sauntered to Bar Tre Scalini with 5 Euros in hand.  The restaurant/bar even had a sign about their tartufo that read something like, beware of imitations.  We ordered our tartufo and the man at the counter topped it with fresh whipped cream and placed two heart cookies in it (he could tell we were sharing it).  We brought it out to the piazza (Piazza Navona) and sat in front of the Four Rivers Fountain and enjoyed it.  The chocolate ice cream was rich and firm and covered with a shell of chocolate.  It had a slight hint of an alcohol taste that I remembered in the other tartufo.  It was delicious and decadent- very similar to the other tartufo we enjoyed at Caffe’ Domiziano.   I would have to disagree with these connoisseurs of ice cream and chocolate and say that the tartufo at Caffe’ Domiziano was my favorite; although, Kathryn would agree with these connoisseurs Rick Steves’ speaks of.

Read Full Post »

Ponte & Parione Restorante-Pizzeria

Tuna salad (Insalata Nizzarda)

Spaghetti with tomato sauce and bacon (Bucatini Amatricana)

Gnocchi with mussels and mushrooms (Gnocchetti Vongole)

Seafood risotto (Risotto Pescatora)

Caramel custard (Panna Cotta)

Jamie says:  The streets of Rome were bustling as we searched for a restaurant for a late night dinner.  We found a nice outdoor restaurant in on a street/ally by our apartment in Piazza Navona.  I was thinking, it’s so charming to sit at an outdoor table in the ally in Italy, but at home in the U.S., not many would even think of dining in an ally.  I thought the name of the restaurant was Cucina Romana because there was a sign by door that said this, but I later discovered (by looking at the receipt) that the true name of the restaurant was Ponte & Parione Restorante-Pizzeria (Via S. Maria dell’ Anima, 62, Tel. 0668192278).  We ordered Risotto Pescatora (seafood risotto), Bucatini Amatricana (spaghetti with tomato sauce and bacon), Gnocchetti Vongole (gnocchi and mushrooms), Insalata Nizzarda (tuna salad), and Panna Cotta (caramel custard) .  I enjoyed my Bucatini Amatricana with the thick spaghetti, red sauce, and especially the bacon.  K thought the seafood risotto was ok.  Mom’s Gnoccheti Vongole and Panna Cotta were not my style, but Mom loved them.  The salad was nothing special and looked mediocre (the egg looked bad).  We reflected on our epic day, the highlight being climbing the 28 Holy Steps, the stairs that Jesus walked up on the day of his crucifixion, on our knees and reaching the top just in time for mass and then having a holy man of the church (a soon-to-be priest) invite a few of us to stay late and give us a private lesson about the steps.  His one request at the end was that we each pray the rosary for him.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever prayed the whole rosary, but after a moving experience like that, I was sure going to honor his request.

Read Full Post »


Jamie says:  I enjoyed an apple from the Campo De’ Fiori Market on our way to the Holy Steps.  (For some reason, I was inspired to take this picture and really liked it.)

Read Full Post »

Front door of Sora Margherita in the Jewish Ghetto of Rome

Inside of Sora Margherita

Front of hand-written menu

Inside of hand-written menu

Fried artichoke

Inside of fried artichoke

Egg noodles with a chunky pink sauce

Egg noodles with mushrooms

Eggplant slices in vinegar with spices

Zucchini slices with oil and herbs

Mozzarella ball with arugula, cherry tomatoes, and a basil leaf

Restaurant bill with J's price prediction written in oil

Dad and waitress

Jamie says:  We didn’t order our lunch, but it sure was delicious.  We ate lunch at Sora Margherita (Jewish Ghetto, Piazza delle Cinque Scole 30, 00186 Roma, Italy, tel. 06.6874216). It was the only restaurant recommendation in Rick Steves’ Italy guidebook for the Jewish Ghetto we just finished touring on the Rick Steves’ audio guide.  The restaurant is so hidden; there’s no sign- just some frilly strands hanging over a door.  The man at the door asked if we had reservations (we didn’t).  He told us to go stand under this overhang down the alley, a five minute wait.  We were lucky to get in.  The place was small, and interesting (no frills for sure).  The waitress was a little tough, but made the dining experience so entertaining.  She didn’t even bring a menu at first and asked if we wanted artichokes- out came four orders of fried artichokes (we later found out this cost us 24 Euros for the four).  They were greasy and crunchy on the leaves, but soft (and still greasy) in the heart and stem.  I really enjoyed the heart and stem, tried a few leaves, but didn’t really care for them.  Neither did my Dad.  When she saw that we weren’t really eating them, she picked one up off my Dad’s plate and pretty much shoved it in his mouth.  Kathryn and I got a little scared.  We hid some of our uneaten leaves under the napkin on the plate, crushed some up, and started stacking plates.  But our waitress caught on.  She lifted up the plate off the stack and noticed our trick.  In all honesty, Kathryn and I were scared.  The waitress brought out a menu at our request (it was handwritten in marker and had a drawing on the front), but we really didn’t have much of an idea of what we were reading except for a few basic menu items.  My Dad explained to her that we didn’t want meat (we became vegetarians for the day since we had no clue what she would bring us).  No worries, though, she just picked random menu items and brought them out.  We had no control.  It was kind of nerve-wrecking and exciting.  Out came egg noodles with a chunky pink sauce- tasty!  Whew!  Then came egg noodles with mushrooms and lots of oil- awesome!  Eggplant slices in vinegar with spices and thin zucchini slices with oil and herbs- amazing, too!  A huge mozzarella ball encircled by arugula and quartered cherry tomatoes and topped with a basil leaf arrived, especially for my Dad (but we shared it since it was huge).  It had a chewy, spongy texture and lots of liquid in it.  It was interesting and almost tasted like a goat cheese.  At the end, we all guessed what the bill would be (since the waitress did all the ordering and we didn’t order off the menu) by dipping our finger in the excess oil on the plate and then writing our guesses on the paper table cloth.  According to the guidebook, this place was supposed to have awesome food at a low price.  My guess of 84 Euros was the highest, and the bill ended up being more (92 Euros with sitting fee and 15% included service fee to be exact). Although it was a bit pricey, the food was outstanding and the entertainment unforgettable.

Read Full Post »

Coffee shop

Coffee shop

Making the granitas

Granita caffe con panna

Kathryn says: We made sure to find our way to La Casa del Caffe Tazza d’Oro (Natalia Ficchetto, Via D. Orfani 84-RM, Rome, Italy; Tel., http://www.tazzadorocoffeeshop.com, info@tazzadorocoffeeshop.com), which was known to have the best “granita caffe con panna” (coffee ice with whipped cream) in town, according to the Rick Steves’ Italy guidebook. That’s a bold claim since nearly every gelato shop here serves granitas. It was our only coffee granita in Italy, so as far as we were concerned, it was the best. The ice tasted like bold strong coffee, likely frozen espresso. It was served with fresh whipped cream on top. The icy and creamy combo was different, but it worked. I got a caffeine jolt from this one.

Read Full Post »

Green and purple figs at Campo De' Fiori Market

Torta Di Ricotta Cioccolato (ricotta cake/pie with chocolate chips)

Purple and green figs, plums, red and green grapes, Rustico Prosciutto Mozzarella (ham and cheese sandwich), Torta Di Ricotta Cioccolato (ricotta cake/pie with chocolate chips)

Jamie says:  Dad and I foraged today.  We still had some produce at the apartment but figured (correctly) that the market would be closed on Sunday.  We lucked out and found a vendor who sold a whole basket of purple figs (the best ones in our opinion).  I eagerly bought them since they were so difficult to find.  We also bought more fruit from different vendors.  On the way home, I bought four interesting kitchen tools from an old man who proudly demonstrated their use to us a couple of days ago (for a picture of the man and to check out the Zucchini Curls I made with his tools at home check out the Two Sisters One Kitchen post).  We made a final stop at the wonderful bakery we found a couple of days ago, Il Fornaio (between Piazza Navona and Campo Di Fiori, Via Dei Baullari 5/7), and bought the favorite Rustico Prosciutto Mozzarella (ham and cheese sandwich) and something new for us- the Torta Di Ricotta Cioccolato (ricotta cake/pie with chocolate chips).  At the apartment I arranged breakfast- purple figs and plums, red and green grapes, and the two bakery goods.  The purple figs were so tender and sweet, the plums were good but slightly bitter, and the grapes were good but not as good as yesterday’s.  The ricotta cake was great; it had just the right amount of sweetness- not too much for a morning meal.  K and I thought it tasted like a soft doughy cookie with condensed whipped cream and chocolate chip on top.  The ham sandwich was still very good (a little drier today than the other day).  We were full and happy and well rested.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »