Day 2 Rome
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Buongiorno from Rome! After a full nights rest we are ready for sight seeing.
We begin our morning in the courtyard of Tree Charme with a delicious breakfast of omelette, croissant and a cappuccino kindly brought to our table, hot and smelling of freshly brewed espresso, ah the good life!
After being sufficiently spoiled we head to the daily Campo de Fiori "Field of Flowers", receiving this name from the meadow that was once here.
See map: Campo de' Fiori
Shopping for truffles at the market.
This market has been in operation since the late 1300's. The square itself has never been developed and has served as as a place for horse trading, entertainment and food vending. The surronding streets act as a reminder that this center is a place of business. Each street is named for the trade that once was conducted; such as "via dei Cappellari", or hat maker.
Lets not over look the darker side of this square, Campo de Fiori was also used for public executions, yikes! Hard to imagine this thriving square as a gathering spot to watch executions.
Today the market is full of vendors selling everything from spices, cheese, olive oil, truffles to fresh cheese, vegetables and fruit. As a courtesy, ask before touching anything. It is considered impolite to handle produce without asking first. Some vendors would prefer to help you choose by showing you the best of their produce.
We took lunch at "Sloppys" not the best name but the restaurant is right on the Piazza and the food is good. I had a simple meal of grilled chicken with rosemary and grilled zucchini, a perfect light meal for the afternoon.
After lunch we head to the Colosseum, for our 3hr tour.
See map: The Colosseum
We ran into an old friend at the Colloseum.
We chose to tour with Walks of Italy as we had toured with them before and our guide was both knowledgeable and entertaining.
We had two tour guides Davida and Martina, both excellent and made the 3hrs fly by. This tour does take some stamina with several stair climbs and much climbing and walking, also a good majority of the tour takes place outdoors in the sun. I recommend purchasing a small travel umbrella as they are very small and fit easily in a medium size handbag. The umbrella is also good for general waiting, walking in full sun and for the almost daily 3pm showers.
After concluding our tour at Palatine Hill and the Forum, hence the 3hr tour, we take a taxi to our dinner resevation.
Here is another great tip: Don't take a taxi unless the vehicle has the official Roma seal and meter!
We learned this the hard way being over charged for a short ride. To pour salt on the wound the driver used a slight of hand while distracting us at a busy intersection. All in all it was a 25 euro loss, not horrible but very frustrating. Lesson learned. Again, not all white cars at taxi stations are legitimate taxis, look for the Roma number on the door and meter on the dash. Ok, lets move on to the good stuff.
Food! Oh glorious food. Now that we are fully exhausted and starving for a good meal we head to our evening meal. We did some research the night before and found a hidden gem tucked away on a tiny side street, the Retrobottga. We could have just as easily walked on by not even realizing what treasure was inside had we not researched.
See map: Retrobottega
If you have the time, reseach restaurants before you arrive. Sounds crazy but some restaurants are booked out upwards of a month or more. If this is too overwhelming, I suggest contacting your hotel for a list of favorite restaurants and make a reservation online. We discovered that the most popular restaurants were booked out at least a week in advance so we missed out on a few we wanted to try.
We reserved our spot at Retrobottega, a sleek and industrial setting with shared table seating.
Upon arriving we were greeted warmly and brought to our seats at a long table shared by four other couples.
My seat we really the best in the house, I was right by the plating station watching all the dishes be designed and organized. Really, it was like watching a painter create his masterpiece. We chose to do the tasting menu, because, when in Rome do as the Romans do! Our choices were two antipasti, one primo, one secondo and one dolce and wine pairing, of course.
So here we go:
We start with Zucchini and Buffalo Burrata. This dish was swirling of flavor and textures. The zucchini pasta was cooked to the exact texture of an al dente pasta causing you to question is this pasta or zucchini? The pasta was topped with pickled pumpkin seeds which balanced the silky texture of the burrata. A nice vibrant green borage foam sat a top the burrata finished with a dehydrated zucchini blossom. The ribbons of zucchini pasta were delicately wrapped around the side of the dish with a light sprinkle of marinated pumkin seeds. Mind blown!
We move on to Scallops, Borage and Mortadella.
First the plate is sprayed lightly with an oil to help the plate shine and the food stick. Next a vibrant green sauce of borage is layed out in a perfect round circle, the pan seared sea scallop with its shinny coating is placed on top followed by a round mortadella disk and decorated with fresh fennel sprigs and mint leaves. All coming together for a cohesive symphony of flavor.
Now for the primo. Pasta, Peas and Mantis Shrimp. Each tiny pillow of pasta is hand made encasing a small pea and cooked al dente. A fine salty sauce coats the plate followed by three raw shrimp then the pasta raviolli, fresh cooked peas and fine bee pollen dust, oh my! Another winning dish.
Now for the star of the show, the secondi. Lacquered Pheasant, turnups and greens.
Start with a seared pheasant breast cooked medium rare surrounded by sauteed turnip greens decorated with dried pomegrante. What makes this the star you ask? Well it would have to be the sauce or "Lacquer" as they put it. A beautiful silky pheasant reduction that burst with rich full flavor. I soaked up my sauce with each bite savoring the delicate reduction in my mouth. On a side dish was served a small pheasant leg taurine topped with finely chopped bell peppers and onion. Rich in flavor with a nice texture.
Dolce finished the show. Milk and Elder, while the name does not draw you close the dish checks all the boxes. A cookie crumble topped with elderberry pearls, elder water cream foam and flat macaroon pieces. The desert was lite and remined me of a deconstructed pie. The beauty of this dish is in the balance of textures and flavors, completely satisfying leaving you fulfilled.
I just bit right into this one before taking the pic.
We walked away from our dining experience with stars in our eyes and memories to hold onto. I think we might have a possible selection here for the cooking class?
Until tomorrow my friends!