Monthly Archives: May 2009

Our European Honeymoon, The Final Installment

View from our apartment of Dubrovnik City Center

View from our apartment of Dubrovnik City Center

When I was in high school every year there was an organized trip to Europe for anyone who could afford to go. My parents were social workers so I never made it. But I looked forward to the presentation. Afterwards I would dream of heading to Europe, meeting fascinating people, eating exotic foods – anything to get me out of Tallahassee. My freshman year Dubrovnik was one of the destinations on the trip. I fell in love with the city through a slideshow. Shortly after the presentation the conflict between the former Yugoslavian members intenstified and the US went to war in Iraq. The trip was canceled and the idea of visiting Croatia was put on the back burner.

When Chris and I were planning our honeymoon I kept hearing buzz about Croatia.  The chance to finally visit Dubrovnik was in my reach. So after convincing him we were not going to be killed by a land mine, Chris gave in. After having such bad experiences in Trogir and Hvar I was a little worried Dubrovnik would let me down – it did not.

This picture of me is horrid, but it captures my joy at eating for the first time in five days

This picture of me is horrid, but it captures my joy at eating for the first time in five days

The Jin Gis Khan Platter at Taj Mahal

The Jin Ghis Khan Platter at Taj Mahal

Upon arriving in Dubrovnik we settled into our apartment. Apartment Duga, is well situated, right above Banje Beach and a three-minute walk to the old city.  This was by far our favorite accommodation in Croatia. It was clean, not over-priced and so close to everything. The only drawback – a crazy old man who talked to pigeons. We were able to overlook this. We spent the first day just walking around the city and taking it all in. I was still not eating, so we had an early night.

The next day we went straight to the beach. I finally got my relaxing, sunny destination portion of the honeymoon! After lounging for a couple of hours, we cleaned up and headed to lunch. It was finally time. Since I had not eaten in so long Chris let me pick. I chose Taj Mahal, a Bosnian restaurant. Bosnian food is closely related to Turkish and Greek cuisines. After eating solely carbs and broth I was craving some meat and vegetables. We started with Spinach Burek, essentially spinach in phyllo dough. It was so good. The spinach filling was slightly creamy and the phyllo was crispy in some areas and dough-y in others. For our main course we  settled on the Jin Ghis Khan platter. I think at this point I was making irrational decisions. The Jin Ghis Khan is a meat extravaganza including a sampling of grilled chicken,  chevapi, lamb, sausages, rumproast and pork kebabs. There were also two baked potatoes, grilled carrots and the largest grilled green beans I had ever seen. The platter was served with a basket of bread, diced raw onions, mustard and a traditional Croatian and Bosnian spread called Ajvar. I loved Ajvar, it is essentially a mixture of roasted red peppers and eggplants with olive oil and garlic. I will put a recipe at the bottom of the post. It goes without saying (but since this is a blog I kind of have to say it) we did not finish this awesomeness. We got the rest to go and put it in our fridge. We basically ate the rest for lunch over the next couple of days.

Awesome Ham, Mushroom, Cheese and Pepper Pizza at Mea Culpa

Awesome Ham, Mushroom, Cheese and Pepper Pizza at Mea Culpa

After our fantastic lunch we went back to the apartment and took our obligatory vacation nap.  We got up we showered and went to grab drinks at a very cool cliff side bar called Buza. It is literally situated on the outside walls of the fortress surrounding Dubrovnik. While it’s a beautiful spot to grab a drink it is also very touristy and the drink prices show this. I would recommend going there for a drink during sunset. And then finding somewhere with more reasonable prices. After our drink we went to grab pizza at Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa is well known in the city for fixing yummy pizzas at cheap prices.  We ordered a ham, mushroom and cheese pizza and added sweet peppers. The pizza was perfect. We also ordered a couple of glasses of a local wine called Mali Plavac. In Croatia it is almost impossible to find wine that is not Croatian. This wine was pretty good. For our Texas friends it tasted a lot like wines you get in the Hill Country. It had a lot of oak and went very well with the pizza.

The next day Chris and I rented a car and drove to the Peljesac Peninsula to visit their wineries. It was approximately an hour away by car. And if you are a wine lover I think this is a great day trip from Dubrovnik. On our way we stopped at a store and grabbed bread, cheese and salami as a snack for later in the afternoon.

Beautiful view of the Peljesac Peninsula

Beautiful view of the Peljesac Peninsula

Our first stop was Vinarija (croatian word from winery) Vukas. Here we picked up a nice red for only $10. But let me paint a picture for you describing the  tasting experience: me, Chris, a woman who spoke no English staring at us and her granddaughter pulling at her leg. Oh, and we were in her living room. It was a pretty high-pressure sale. It was also indicative of the rest of the wineries we visited. There were a few that were a little more structured, such as Matusko and Dingac. At the rest of the wineries we went to we were the only people there and we had to try and find people to do tastings. This was even the case at Grgic. Which, if you are a wine connoisseur you have most likely heard of him. Miljenko Grgic is one of the most respected winemakers in the world. In 1977 he opened his Grgic winery in California. And in 1996 after the conflict in the region was over he fulfilled a personal dream and opened a winery in his native land.  So I was kind of expecting a lot. The wine was perfectly fine, but there was no ambiance in the tasting room. It also felt we had disturbed the lady by asking her to do a tasting. That being said it was still interesting to see a burgeoning wine region before it becomes filled with tourist and over-priced wines. We never paid for a tasting and the most expensive wine we bought was $22.

After doing a few tasting we stopped and spent a few minutes at a World War II Memorial depicting communist resistance soldiers fighting off the Nazi’s. This was a very cool monument and the setting was incredible. The peninsula is not only home to wineries it also has some of the most outstanding landscapes we saw in the country. Lots of fjord-like inlets as well as low-lying beaches with crystal clear water.

Mixed Shell Fish in Buzzara Sauce at Kaepetano Kuca

Mixed Shell Fish in Buzzara Sauce at Kapetanova Kuca

Another resource the peninsula has in abundance is shellfish. The villages of Ston and Mali Ston at the base of the peninsula have some great restaurants. The most renowned is Kapetanova Kuca. Chris and I stopped by on our way back from the winery trip. We started off with a nice light wine wine, I believe it was a Posip. They brought out a complimentary appetizer of fish pate, we then split a half dozen oysters. For our main course we split a mixed shellfish grill with a Buzzara sauce. Buzzara is a yummy white wine, garlic and parsley sauce that is used in Dalmatian cuisine. It was a delightful, light meal.

us on the city walls of Dubrovnik

us on the city walls of Dubrovnik

The next day we hit the beach again for a few hours. Then we cleaned up and walked the city walls. If you go to Dubrovnik this is something you have to do. It’s only about $9 and it allows you to walk the entire fortress walls around the old city. It is so fascinating to see this special city from above. You can witness everything from the war damaged walls and the sea of terra cotta roof tops to brightly-colored laundry blowing in the breeze. It’s about an hour and a half of walking. So just keep this in mind.

Cream of Zucchini Soup with Dill

Cream of Zucchini Soup with Dill

For dinner I was craving vegetables. Unfortunately, Europeans tend to not eat vegetables very often, at least in the Dalmatian region of Croatia. Most of the area restaurants focus solely on seafood and meat dishes. I was a little tired of this so we decided to splurge and go to Proto. We both loved this meal. I am going to state upfront this was the most expensive place we ate on our trip. But we both agreed later it was worth it. I started off with a very light, yet tasty cream of zucchini soup flavored with dill. Chris got a fisherman’s soup that was tomato based and brimming with scallops, chunks of fish, mussels and shrimp. While our soups were wonderful it was really our entrees that blew us away. I ordered a lamb shank Osso Bucco served with a side of polenta dumplings and baked, sweetened apples. It was perfectly cooked with the lamb simply falling off the bone. Once again it was Chris that ordered the best. His main course was turkey stuffed with golden raisins topped with a prosecco wine sauce. It was so tender and full of flavor. A perfect meal! Since it was so expensive at Proto we did not order dessert there. We just walked to a small cafe and ordered a couple of cakes and digestifs and then headed home.

You can't fool us again

You can't fool us again

On our last day in Dubrovnik we ate our breakfast at the apartment, went to an Internet Cafe in order to catch up with some emails and then visited the beach. Since it was our last time at Banje we stayed for a bit longer than usual, swimming in the cold, salty Adriatic waters. Then we packed up and decided to hit the town a little early since it was our last night.

When we got to the town square we were rewarded for our early outing by viewing a brass band concert. We sat at a cafe and watched as a variety of brass bands played and exited the stage. After a bit we decided to try and find another bar we had seen while walking the city walls. We found it after a bit of work but it ended up being a lot like Buza.  So we had our one drink and headed to dinner.

This is where it got interesting. I wanted to try some real Dalmatian food so we decided to try a restaurant not in the guidebooks called Ragusa 2. This was a big mistake. My husband is one of the most unfailingly polite people I have ever met,  he hates to make a scene or do anything like that. But his entree was so obviously rotten he refused to eat it. At the advice of our waiter he ordered the special sea food platter including squid, a whole fish, shrimp, mussels and more. When he unpeeled the shrimp it crumbled into pieces and stunk like nothing I have ever smelled before. My entree was a spaghetti bolognese that tasted like Chef Boyardee. We simply asked for our check and left.

After this Chris really needed some comfort food. And to Chris comfort food usually means Italian and more specifically lasagne. So we went to a highly recommended Italian restaurant called Toni’s. It was a perfect antidote to Ragusa 2. Chris ordered a lasagne bolognese and I ordered the veggie lasagne. They were both fantastic.

After dinner we walked around and enjoyed the full harvest moon that was out. It was our last night and we were sad to go.

Chris drinking beer at the pub

Chris drinking beer at the pub

Lamb pasada

Lamb pasanda

The next day we started our long trek home with a very cool stop over in London. This was Chris’s first time. So we did a lot in the 20 hours we were there. We dropped off our bags and started walking. We saw Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and a huge protest. It was so exciting. As we were walking we stopped into different pubs. And we noticed a disturbing trend, – three of the five pubs we stopped in had the same menu and same taps. So we are guessing that there is one owner. What I love the most about pubs is going in and seeing the different types of beer and twists on the same classic English dishes (yes, there is some good English food. Just not a lot). While it was a bit disheartening it did not stop us from hopping in and grabbing a drink.

For dinner I was craving Indian food. Our hotel recommended a place around the corner called Paradise. We were not disappointed. I LOVE Indian food and this was great stuff. We ordered a whole mess of stuff and just started eating. We feasted on naan stuffed with veggies and a garlic naan, I ordered lamb pasanda (lamb cooked in yogurt and spices), Chris ordered chicken dansak (a Parsi dish cooked with spices and lentils) and we had a side of curried vegetables. We were both in heaven and it was also a very well-priced meal.

After dinner we visited one more pub. But we were both exhausted and needed to rest up for the long flight home the next day. While we were both sad the trip was over, we were both ready to get home and sleep in our own beds, see our puppy Olive as well as our friends.

Below is a recipe for the very yummy Ajvar sauce used as a spread in classic Croatian and Bosnian cuisine.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants, about 3 pounds
  • 6 large red bell peppers
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 475 degrees. Place washed eggplants and peppers on a baking sheet with a lip to catch any juices, and roast until their skins blister and turn black, about 30 minutes.
  2. Place roasted vegetables in a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let them steam for 10 minutes.
  3. Peel off and discard blackened skins, stems and seeds. In a large bowl, mash or chop vegetables, depending on how smooth or chunky you like your ajvar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garlic and lemon juice, and drizzle in oil, stirring constantly.
  4. Transfer to a glass dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish, if desired. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
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Our European Honeymoon Part 2 (aka the foodie who could not eat)

yep, that's me in a croatian hospital bed

yep, that's me in a croatian hospital bed

After three days of cramming in historic sites and three nights of shoving loads of food into our mouths Chris and I were ready for the slower pace of Croatia. I definitely got my wish. Kind of funny when your wishes come true –  they usually do not unfold the way you envision. I will get to this picture above in a bit.

It was not this, I can tell you. This is Chris's rump steak with a mushroom sauce.

It was not this, I can tell you. This is Chris's rump steak with a mushroom sauce.

Was this the culprit?

Was this the culprit?

After we flew into the Split airport we took a taxi to Trogir, the next stop on our honeymoon. Just a piece of information the Split airport is much closer to Trogir than Split. But after reading more of my blog you might see why staying in Split is a better bet.

Trogir, is a UNESCO world heritage site – the entire city. Although I should tell you the entire city is about half the size of a New York City block.  It’s very quaint and the streets are still very medieval. You can touch both sides with your hands and they are stone cobbled. A very cute city. After settling into our apartment at Stafileo Palace, we headed out to dinner at Konoba Idra. Most Croatian eating establishments start with Konoba. It’s essentially like the Italian Trattoria. Usually this means the restaurants is family-run and might even grown some of the vegetables on the menu. Sounds good, right? My verdict is still not in. We started off with a Croatian specialty – Dalmatian smoked ham and olives. It was ok. It suffered from the Italian antipasto syndrome, a lack of real care and thought. It was just there. For my main course I ordered a tuna steak and a mixed salad. The fish was ok, it had a real strong fishy smell. Which, as most of you know, fish is not supposed to have. My salad was perfect. A nice blend of cucumbers, cabbage, shredded carrots and a very light white wine vinegar dressing. Chris ordered a pretty heavy meal of a rump steak with a mushroom sauce and a side of grilled veggies with a side of cream sauce. Both were ok. After eating we headed to the small town square and had a beer. We then headed home early.

Chris and I at Diocletian's Palace in Split

Chris and me at Diocletian's Palace in Split

A few hours later it started. I got up about five times during the night. No need to go into what happened. Let’s just say all the food I had eaten was gone from my body. The next day I felt a little better so we headed to downtown Split by bus. Now here is why it’s better to stay in Split. The bus service from Trogir is a nightmare. No one knows when the buses are going to be there. We got charged three different prices on three separate occasions and if you miss a direct bus you have to take the local # 37 bus.  The quick 20-minute jaunt turns into an hour and a half long, bumpy ride. And when your stomach is in upheaval that ride is torturous. When we got to Split we walked around and enjoyed Diocletian’s Palace. The palace was built around the turn of the fourth century AD by Roman Emperor Diocletian as his retirement residence. Now only a few walls stand, but it’s a very cool sight to see. Most of the town is essentially built into the walls so it’s very much a living monument. We grabbed a light lunch, which turned out to be a bad decision. So we headed back to Trogir on the local #37. And I spent most of the time bent over trying not to faint. After getting to the room Chris ran to the local Pharmacy before it closed to get me some medicine. He also grabbed some water, chicken soup and beer (for him). And thus began my five days of no eating.

This is what our meals looked like

This is what our meals looked like

When I say no eating, what I really meant was not eating good foods. Oh, I tried and with very bad consequences. There was the pizza, the ice cream, the muesli cereal. Here is what I learned – if you have a stomach virus or food poisoning do not eat cream or cheese. Actually just stick to tea, saltines, broth and rice or noodles. Luckily, most places to stay in Croatia are apartments. So we were able to buy groceries and just cook at our apartment.

After spending two night in Trogir we headed to Hvar, an island situated approximately an hour away by ferry from Split. While in Hvar we stayed at Apartment Bicanic owned by the fabulous Miro. We thought he was great. And our apartment was cute, but I would suggest not getting the apartment we got (#1). The bathroom was pretty awful. But the apartment is in a great location and it is definitely affordable.

I was very excited about Hvar and desperately hoping my stomach issues would go away so I could enjoy this beautiful island. I had so many plans – a bike ride around the island, maybe a visit to some wineries, a ferry ride out to the Pakleni Islands. Hvar is also known for  fun night life, there is a club located near the palace on a hill, it is also home to the cool cafe/bar Carpe Diem where George Clooney was spotted. Pretty much none of this happened. We laid around, read books, watched lots of German television and visited the bathroom.

I want to spend a couple of sentences stating how wonderful my husband is. During this time he made me soup, never complained, reassured me I was not going to die and eventually took me to the hospital when we both realized I was not getting better. After spending most of the Croatian portion of the honeymoon sick we went to Hvar’s hospital (fortunately Chris’s fear of us being quarantined because of the Swine Flu did not occur). The doctor gave me an IV, told me to stop trying to eat and gave me a prescription. Her verdict was a stomach virus. I am still not sure if it was a virus or the fish. But hey, she’s the doctor.

Beautiful Hvar

Beautiful Hvar

The view from our room

The view from our room

After visiting the doctor and getting the IV I felt much better. I had actually thought about just packing up and going home. But instead we decided to leave Hvar early and heard for Dubrovnik. While Hvar was beautiful we just found the town to be a bit boring. Mostly because I did not feel well enough to get off my ass and we went out of season. In many parts of Croatia the time to go is in July and August. I would bet that June and September are pretty good months too. But May is not the right time. The weather is  still cool, the residents are a bit stand-offish and the mood is just a little down tempo. So I would still recommend visiting Hvar, I would just state that it’s best to do this during the season.

So one early morning at 6 a.m. we boarded a ferry to Split, hopped on an 8:30 a.m. bus and headed for Dubrovnik.

Stay tuned for the final installment of our honeymoon blog… Dubrovnik and London.

Our European Honeymoon, Part 1 (Rome)

Musici Veneziani: Enchanting Opera Arias

Musici Veneziani: Enchanting Opera Arias

As many of you know Chris and I just returned from our fantastic honeymoon. First stop – Rome, Italy. I have traveled through many other parts of Italy including Florence, Venice and Cinque Terre. I went with my sister in August 1998. While we had fun together I left with a sense that Italy might not be for me – it was hot, my sister is blond (man we got harassed) and the streets were empty (Italian residents pretty much clear out in August to travel). But when Chris wanted to go to Rome, I decided to give it another try. I am so glad I did. Rome made me believe again in the beauty of Italy.  Where else can you eat a fantastic four-course meal, get vats of wine for mere dollars, go for an after-dinner stroll and bump into the Forum or perhaps the Pantheon?

Our adventure did get off to a rocky start with a diversion to Wales for a couple of hours, because of fog in London. I was so exhausted and groggy from Xanax it seemed like a few minutes. But when we did get to London (with  beautiful blue skies, not a single cloud) we waited in an atrocious line to re-book our flights. But eventually we got a flight to Rome and arrived only a few hours late. We took a taxi to our hotel (avoid this and just take the Leonardo Express to downtown Rome, it’s cheaper and efficient), jumped in the showers and went to the opera. The opera was a smattering of arias from different famous operas. It was a wonderful show, not too expensive and in a wonderful venue – Chiesa Di. S. Paolo Entro Le Mura. I believe these shows are easy to get tickets to and not too expensive. While it was a fantastic show we left half way through because I could not wait to start eating (and I was slowly fading due to jet lag and I have my priorities).

Pasta course at Antica Boheme

Pasta course at Antica Boheme

After sneaking out we headed to Antica Boheme, a restaurant highly recommended to me by my very good friend and fellow foodie Candace Maloman.  We started off the dinner with a pasta course. I ordered the orecchiette carciofe, a perfectly cooked orecchiette pasta with a butter and artichoke sauce – fantastic! Chris ordered lasagne bolognese. That’s a pretty standard dish for him and it was superb. The tomato sauce was good, but I will say I prefer my tomato sauce a little less creamy and a little more tomatoe-y. But that’s just a preference. For the second course we ordered veal. Mine was done Bolognese style with a tomato sauce, melted cheese and ham on top. It was cooked perfectly, but it was a bit much. Chris ordered a simple paillard of veal and it was outstanding. It was a simple, sauteed piece of veal garnished with lemon. I highly recommend his dish.

After drinking copious amounts of wine we headed to our bed and breakfast, Art & Relax Suites for some much-needed sleep. After sleeping for 10 hours, we got a small tap on the door and our perfect Italian breakfast was served.

OJ, Coffee and pastries at Art & Relax

OJ, Coffee and pastries at Art & Relax

After breakfast we walked around the city and hopped on a tour bus of Rome. It may sound cheesy, but doing one of the hop-on, hop-off bus tours is a must. It’s fairly inexpensive and a great way to see the city and learn about the sites. There are a number of bus tour options, none are really better than others. Just pick one and go.

yummy salad and antipasto

yummy salad and antipasto

After doing some walking we grabbed lunch at a cute neighborhood restaurant called Trattoria Lilli – another Candace recommendation. As we had eaten a lot the day before I had a light lunch including a FANTASTIC salad (arugula, tomatoes, mixed greens and an olive oil and salt dressing) and an antipasto platter. Chris ordered a pasta dish with a tomato and basil sauce.

After lunch we headed to a Vatican tour using a company called Eden Walks as a tour guide. Now, I usually do not like to use guided tours, but this one came highly recommended. Plus, I wanted to really learn about all the history and background. We were not disappointed. Grant, our tour guide, was unbelievable. He talked very fast, but I learned more in that three hour tour than I ever thought possible. Please, do yourself a favor, and book a tour with Grant if you plan on visiting Rome. They do a number of different tours. And most definitely visit the Vatican. It’s a must-see.

Guinea Fowl Three Ways - All Yummy!

Guinea Fowl Three Ways - All Yummy!

For dinner I had my heart set on a restaurant called Trattoria Del Pallaro – a trattoria that had no menu (a recommendation from another great foodie friend Sarah Swanson). You just eat and drink what they bring out. After spending almost two hours looking for the place we gave up and went to another place on my list – Ditirambo. Ditirambo, is not a traditional Italian trattoria. It’s a little trendier and the prices show this, it was by far our most expensive Italian meal. It was also one of our most memorable experiences. We started off the dinner with a pasta dish we split. It consisted of a sampler including a risotto with asparagus and gnocchi with shrimp, tomatoes and eggplant. I will be brutally honest, this was not a great choice. The shrimp did not smell fresh and the risotto was exceedingly bland. Our second course made up for this. Chris ordered the Guinea Fowl three ways – in a phyllo dough pastry, in meatball form and baked. This was one of my favorite dishes. It was incredibly rich and full of flavor. My dish was just as good it was a simple strip steak coated in herbs with a side of the crispiest fried potatoes I have ever had – wow! I must also mention our wine. It was a superbly smooth Nero D’Avola called Feudo Montoni. Since we were a bit sauced we decided dessert wine pairings would be a nice way to end the night. And despite our inebriated state, this was indeed a good call. I got a yummy apple tart and Chris got a millefeuille. I think since we were ordering so extravagently our waiter decided to get us more sauced. He then brought out bottles of grappa, limoncella and brandy – awesome!

Digestifs at Ditirambo

Digestifs at Ditirambo

The next morning our itinerary included the Borghese Museum, another must-see in Rome. And get the audio guide. It’s inexpensive and fills in all the details about this glorious, but ill-begotten art collection. If you love sculptures, then go to this museum. It is filled with the best Bernini sculptures.

Sinfully delicious fusilli with truffle oil, sausage and mushrooms

Sinfully delicious fusilli with truffle oil, sausage and mushrooms

For dinner we headed to Tavernetta 48, located on the tiny Via Degli Spagnoli. Once again we had a superb dinner. Chris and I had gotten so lost earlier in the day, we ended up off our map. We probably walked 14 miles. So were were definitely ready to eat. We started with an ok antipasto. I would not recommend getting it. But it was not bad. But our pasta dishes were perfect. I got the amatriciana with bacon, garlic, tomatoes and onions. The pasta was cooked perfectly. It was al dente! But once again Chris picked the best. He ordered a fusilli in a cream sauce with sausage, mushrooms and one of my favorite ingredients in the world- truffle oil. I was so jealous, but fortunately Chris believes in sharing. For our second course I ordered the veal in a barola wine sauce and Chris ordered a chopped sirloin steak with a gorgonzola wine sauce. Both were fantastic. For dessert we split the tiramisu. It was pretty standard stuff, good, but did not blow us away.

Me in front of the Trevi Fountain

Me in front of the Trevi Fountain

After dinner we spent some time just ambling around the city. It was a holiday the next day and the start of a three-day weekend. So it was very alive – parents and their kids were sitting at cafes eating gelato and drinking coffee. Tourists were out in packs wending their way through the ancient streets, all speaking different tongues. And Chris and I were taking it all in. We stopped by Trevi and threw our obligatory coins, we had a couple of pints at a pub and  ended the night at a cafe near our hotel. It was our last night and we were ready for the next phase of our vacation, but we were not ready to leave.

Awesome Antipasto at Trattoria Del Pallaro

Awesome Antipasto at Trattoria Del Pallaro

So a funny thing happened on the way to get lunch on our last day. After finding that Sora Margherita was closed for the holiday (a revered Rome lunch institution in the Jewish Ghetto area), we accidentally happened upon Trattoria Del Pallaro. I was so happy I almost cried. It was by far my favorite dining experience in Rome. Chris disagrees and he thinks I liked it because our grandfatherly waiter kept telling me how beautiful I was and kissed me on the cheek numerous times. He might be right. But I still loved it. Immediately upon sitting our adorable waiter brought out a jug of white wine and a collection of antipasto dishes including green olives, fennel bathed in olive oil, lemon and garlic, the yummiest lentils I have ever tasted, salami and prosciutto and suppli. I was in heaven. This was the antipasto I had dreamed about before arriving in Rome. I had been fairly let down so far in terms of antipasto. But not this time. Our second course was so simple, yet heavenly. It was a pasta dish in a creamy tomato sauce smothered in parmesan cheese. Our third course was a veal roast bathed in au jus topped with mozzarella balls and a side of zucchini. And lastly we had a perfectly cooked apricot tart with a side of mandarin juice. This meal was the perfect ending to our Roman adventure.

My next installment will cover the Croatian towns of Trogir and Hvar…