Two designers creating a roadmap to a simpler more fulfilling lifestyle
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
THE ITALIAN DIARIES - DAY THREE
DAY 3, July 10, 2013
We woke up just in time to make the ten o'clock cut off for breakfast at the hotel. Rick and I dressed and tried to rouse Emmy but she was having nothing to do with rousing or breakfast. The ritual of a teenage girl getting herself presentable in less than an hour included showering, putting on and taking off at least ten different outfits before deciding she had nothing to wear, and applying a new face. This brought us to our first crisis, well really second crisis of the trip. The first happened back in Madison. We had traveled halfway to the entrance to the interstate when a scream came from the back seat. Emmy had forgotten an attachment to her IPhone that she absolutely had to have so we absolutely had to turn around and get it.
This new crisis revolved around having left her forty-dollar foundation back at home. This was such a travesty it even produced real tears. It was a special type of make-up only sold at Sephora. We assured her there would be a Sephora somewhere in Rome and we'd make it a priority to go there to get it. Following breakfast we got in a cab and off we went in search of a new face for our little girl. The Sephora store ended up easy to find but unfortunately the brand she needed didn't exist in Rome. Try as hard as we could it was impossible to describe a clay-based foundation to a Roman Sephora salesgirl with minimal English. We tried pantomiming digging in the earth, making ceramics on a potting wheel as if we were Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghosts, and consulting the backs of every box of foundation in the store looking for a clue to the word clay. Nothing seemed to convey the information we were trying to get across.
Emmy had to settle for a liquid version of what she wanted and we continued to pull her sad face along the famous Via Condotti where even the site of Italy's most famous couture design houses couldn't pull her out of her feeling of despair.
Rick and I remembered a men's clothing store we had gone into on every trip we had made to Rome. Dragging Emmy with we went in to Pal Zileri and drooled over sport coats and jackets
when even at 40% off were still in the eight hundred dollar range. We left empty handed except for a recommendation for lunch.
Around the corner was a restaurant, Ginger, that was perfect, fresh and crisp serving organic foods. Our timing was perfect, no waiting and even though the outside dining was enticing with fans that blew a cool mist over the diners we chose to sit inside. When we left a line a half block long had formed waiting for a table.
The food consisted of traditional Italian meals along with huge fruit plates, and smoothies and milk shakes made from exotic ingredients. We settled on prosciutto and melon, a plate of linguini alla pomodoro and a salad of mixed greens, baby spinach, arugula, grilled chicken, sliced almonds and raisins. Emmy topped her meal off with a smoothie called Red Love.
The whole meal was exquisite and reminded us how no one has better prosciutto and melon than the Italians, thinly sliced prosciutto wrapped around sweet wedges of cantaloupe.
After lunch we did a little more sightseeing including a trip to the Pantheon and a walk by of Giolittis, Rome's most famous gelateria.
This is Rome's equivalent of Seinfeld's soup kitchen. You need to know the routine before you go in and most tourists don't. Here's the secret. You need to pay for your gelato at the front cashier before you try to order your gelato at the back where all the gelato is. Bare in mind that the front cashier will claim no knowledge of the English language and will snap at you like a duck on a June bug if you aren't quick about telling her what you want. The guys behind the serving counter are as pleasant as Italian arm wrestlers made to give mani-pedis at a beauty parlor. The service is surly but the gelato is almost worth the indignation.
Then it was back to the hotel for a nap and a spectacular thunderstorm. We had intended to go to the Piazza Navona for dinner but with the rain we decided to stay locally. There was a little restaurant around the corner that had caught our eye and not wanting to venture too far a field with the threat of rain still looming overhead we popped into Restorante Al Chianti.
What a find. The restaurant has been family owned and this year was celebrating its 100th anniversary. It was also our hostess' birthday and the entire front table was filled with family and friends. The hostess proceed to tell us she didn't speak English but she did this in almost perfect English and continued to talk to us throughout the evening in English we could completely understand. There were stories about her great-grandmother who had started the restaurant, her young children who were roaming the restaurant and periodically popping up at our table,
and her father who was our server and the one explaining everything we should have which included more prosciutto with figs and melon, a mushroom pasta, and a slab of Florentine steak that was grilled to perfection, served rare and cut apart like butter. This one gets four stars in our book.
Of course the evening wouldn't have been complete without a return trip to our gelateria and another bowl of Gran Bigne and Stracciatella capped with a dollop of whipped cream and that miniature sugar cone