The other night I went to Angelina for dinner. But before I get to that, just let me tangent for half a mo. Earlier this month I was back in the USA checking out the old folks and going to my college reunion. I went to Princeton (b***h) and our reunions are supposedly the best attended in the world. About a third of my class of 1100 came back this year and, overall, the 4-day event welcomes about 20 000 alumni family and friends each year (most people come back every fifth year). For the first 20 years, alums wear costumes and it is good fun to see the campus crawling with people dressed as Roman senators, firemen, hula dancers, astronauts and pretty much anything else you can imagine. From the 25th reunion on, apparently having reached an age where greater gravitas is warranted, we ‘graduate’ to blazers, which themselves tend to be wacky and emblazoned with tigers, ivy and other silly things. Donald Rumsfeld and his class, back for their 50th this year, wore kimonos and those conical hats you see in every photo of an Asian rice paddy. The costumes seemed somewhat racist but at least he didn’t shoot anybody in the face. The high point of reunions is the P-rade where the alums traipse around campus accompanied by marching bands (and this year, the Mummers! ). The theme of my reunion btw was the World Cup, which I didn’t really appreciate until several half-naked Brazilian dancers jumped the queue to lead us in the march. The Old Guard usually ride in golf carts during the P-rade (the oldest alumnus to return this year was from the class of 1935, making him 100 years old by my count). The P-rade is usually accompanied by many locomotive cheers (so-called because they sound like train engines), which is when classes greet each other by shouting Hip! Hip! Rah! Rah! Rah! Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! Sis! Sis! Sis! Boom! Boom! Boom! Bah! Insert class number here, as in: Oh-Eight! Oh-Eight! Oh-Eight! Rah!!! Here are some photos:
Reunions — despite the silly jackets — was great fun, especially because it gave me the opportunity to catch up with many old friends and roommates, one of whom (Amelia, not pictured) inspired this tangent by turning up in Rome this week and that’s how I ended up dining at Angelina. The restaurant is in Testaccio, formerly a very traditional working class neighborhood but these days very up and coming and full of interesting restaurants and night spots. It’s just down the street from the Mattatoio (once Rome’s slaughterhouse and now home to museums, music schools, bars and all sorts) and across from the hideous new farmers’ market, which looks like an underground parking garage.
Formerly a warehouse where animals and animal products were bought and sold, Angelina has several dining rooms and a large terrace that features a happy hour from 7 pm on during the summer. Everything in the restaurant is painted white and there are some butcher-type implements — wooden benches, scales, price lists — hanging around to recall its past and give the place a homey feel.
Given its history, Angelina’s is all about the meat. You can get pretty much any animal barbecued here and they even feature the inside bits that restaurants in Testaccio love so much (Known as the ‘quint quarto’ or fifth quarter, slaughterhouse workers took these bits — which included heads, tails, hearts, lungs, glands, intestines, feet, and esophagus — home as part of their pay and the neighborhood tradition of eating them stuck after the slaughterhouse closed in 1975). The Upstairs Vegetarian was somewhat nonplussed but there are lots of vegetables (and pizza) on the menu so she managed just fine. Here’s some of the things we ate:
We were too full for dessert but I have partaken on a previous occasion and Angelina’s tiramisu in a jar is highly recommended. Why does everything come in a jar these days?
Angelina, Via Galvani, 24/a – Rome. Tel: 06 5728 3840