Continued from July 22nd, 2023 ...
Yesterday was the day I feared the most, the eye of "Caronte" or the day that Rome broke it's all time heat record. Again I decided to start my day early. This time I hit a couple of the top local food markets near the Vatican in Rome. The first was a pretty small and very working class one called Mercato dell Unita. This market was not flashy at all, but the quality and prices seemed to more than make up for it. I was on the early side and didn't see much to eat, but if you were in the hood it might be worth checking out. I then returned to a place I'd been before the Mercato Trifonale. This is easily one of the best markets anywhere and by that I mean not just in Rome. The quality and look of everything is beautiful. I spent about 20 minutes talking to a woman in my rough, but getting better Italian at the booth with all the condiments pictured above about my/our favorite Italian ingredients. I filled up my backpack with a selection of jarred condemnti, pesto, chili, and also bought some herbs, onion tarali and a fresh roman pecorino infused with pear. Sounds a little weird, but it was amazing and hopefully will make it through customs. I know it's strange that I'm bringing home jars of stuff from Italy since I have a full store full of the stuff, but Stephy I swear this is different stuff.
On the way home I took a quick detour to check out the Spanish Steps to see how many idiots would be hanging out on them during the hottest day ever recorded in Rome. Turns out not too many, I've seen them so packed before that you can't see a single step. A few folks decided to go into the fountain below the steps as you can see above. I hurried home, grabbed a panini on the way and some watermelon (I didn't realize that Rome in the summer is filled with watermelon, it's everywhere) cranked the AC, took a shower and rinsed all my clothes since I still had no luggage.
After a long nap, I grabbed Kate and we hit a local steakhouse called Joseph. It's a strange name for a Roman restaurant, and even stranger that the couple employees I asked had no idea who Joseph was and why the restaurant was called that. My wife and daughters love steak so I thought this would be a good break for Kate and she got a beautiful New York for 24 Euros. The restaurant has all types of aging rooms and beef from all over including Wagu at prices that were amazing for the quality. I of course stuck with a seafood pasta and an appetizer of gambero rosso crudo - the famed red shrimp of Italy that spawned the bible of Italian gastronomy of the same name. The restaurant has about 4000 reviews and most are very favorable. If you go there you must make a reservation or you'll be in trouble. It's like the Jocko's of Rome. When we left at least a hundred people were waiting to get in. Maybe Joseph is Jocko's cugina (cousin).
And................................ on the fifth day we got our luggage. The luggage saga is too long to tell, but I got a pair of Apple Air Tags for Father's day leading up this trip and I will never travel without them again.
After close to four hours, and the Rome airport staff telling me our bags weren't there, I basically led them to our bags with my phone via those Air Tags - no joke. I celebrated shortly after, with a Trippa alla Romana sandwich at a place - you guessed it - in a market - it was very tasty and less than 5 euros. They asked is I wanted a little something after and I thought they said some sweet wine, but I was presented with a 2 pound chunk of watermelon. It was cold, refreshing and perfect and I tried to eat the whole thing to not offend them as the staff watched me. The place is called DAJE CUCINA Romana and word is they make some mean pasta too. Next time for sure - check out the cool graphic that clearly shows the difference between all the roman classic pastas - might have to use that at the pasta bar. I've never seen Einstein so happy.
I looked like a hero to my daughter getting her bag back and we celebrated the evening from a roof top in Rome high atop the fanciest department store in town, called La Rinascente. If you take the escalator up all six floors past all the high fashion Italian items, the top level contains a marketplace of Italian gourmet foods. I saw many items that we carry at Etto and others I wish we did and maybe will someday. Around the corner is an outpost of one of Naples top pizza restaurants with 8 Euro pizza. Beyond that is a restaurant with a rooftop cocktail lounge that offers one of the best views in the entire city. Please keep it a secret, sure the cocktails a little expensive at 15 Euros, but you get snacks with your cocktail and a priceless view. I look forward to reporting about Bologna next week and coming back to Paso soon with a million new ideas. And with that, Buona Notte.