First of all, I hate travel bloggers. You know the ones, look at these wonderful cool things I’ve done, and I’m better and more photogenic than you ever will be!
But I went to Rome, and had the best meal in my entire 30 (…something) years of existence, and I need to tell you about it. Does this make me better than you.. Depends. Have you called your mom lately? Does it make me more photogenic than you?… the weather in Italy was great for my hair… so maybe (just this once.)
This day it was a pretty warm 37C, and I had just climbed 515 stairs to reach the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. The heat and exercise had made me hungry. I was ready for an Italian feast.
If you wander the main streets of Rome you will find restaurants geared specifically towards tourists where the pizzas look okay, but cost more than they are worth. However, if you begin sauntering down the little side streets of the city centre, you are guaranteed to find gems, some have been there for centuries.
This is how we found Trattoria Der Pallaro.
As we walked up we were told no menu, indicating that there was no a la carte available, it was a set menu. I locked eyes with the woman who resembled a stereotypical Italian grandmother with her hair wrapped in a handkerchief, and knew I needed whatever she was cooking. With our very broken Italian, we agreed, with no idea of the price or what our meal would entail.
We saddled up on the warm patio with a local man named Yuri who clearly was good friends with the family who owned Trattoria Der Pallaro. I looked at Yuri and assessed he had good taste in food and felt even more confident in our lunch choice.
As soon as we sat down we soon received a jug of white wine (viano bianco!) I mean, why aren’t we all just serving our wine in jugs? This was soon followed by fresh bread, the freshest tomatoes I’ve ever had sprinkled with basil, mozzarella balls, delicate prosciutto and a series of croquettes. I was filled with emotion after our historical and laborious tour this morning, but as I had a tomato in my mouth I almost cried. “This is the best thing I’ve ever tasted!” I exclaimed.
The croquettes had a mix of mushroom, rice and ricotta (at least, say my taste buds the gin hasn’t killed yet.)
Next we were presented with the star of the show (in my opinion) fresh, gorgeous pasta, which was in a mix of carbonara and rose sauce – which I later learned is matriciana sauce. The flavours paired well together but were so individually unique. As an uncouth North American I usually like enough sauce on my pasta so the noodles or swimming, but these were merely coated, but it was so flavourful that is all you needed.
We thought this would be the main dish of the meal, so sat back to let the wondrous carbs digest. But soon we were brought another course. Pork and wilted spinach. I’ll admit, pork is not my go to protein. I can never cook it well and find it chewy. But *this* was the most tender cut of meat I’ve had in my mouth (insert pun here.) I can only imagine that it had been cooking for many hours. ‘Beautiful, Marvelous!’ I tried to let our Italian host know as I couldn’t even begin to find the words in Italian.
After that we were left to let our food digest with another beautiful jug of wine. In this time a couple of tourists came to see the menu and told exactly what we had ‘no menu,’ and walked away. And I regret not yelling after them ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life!’
However, the feast was not done, dessert was soon presented. I believe you would call this a flan, although I was so full, I still ate the entire thing. It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal. It was a dessert, but not too sweet or heavy to push you over the edge.
I think we spent almost 3 hours in the Roman sun just eating the most perfect food, drinking wine and soaking up the scenery, and I can honestly say it was probably the best 3 hours of my entire life.
With that being said… I’ve booked flights to go back. Where have all of your Italian food dreams come true? I need to know (before mid-September, preferably!) I’ll be coming at you with a couple of my other favs from this treat of a food weekend, but this highlight deserved it’s own post.. I mean, I could probably devote a novel to it, but I won’t put you through that today.
Ci sentiamo presto! (I’m an asshole, aren’t I?)