Tag Archives: Morgan

#toomuchdog/street food at Eataly

Yesterday was a bright bright sunshiny day, which inspired me to make an exception to my normal Saturday morning practice of lying on the couch and napping while watching the news. Instead, I headed across the street to the park rather earlier than usual. It was lunchtime and the place was packed to the gills with picnickers.

This is my favorite tree in Villa Pamphili. I can see it from my window.

This is my favorite tree in Villa Pamphili. I can see it from my window.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but there is somewhat of a design flaw in the area cani in Villa Pamphili: it is only place in the park where there are picnic tables. So naturally the picnickers all flock there. But it is also one of the few places that dogs can be off-leash. You may be able to imagine the rest. Here’s the scenario that I have seen play out about 100 million times: picnickers organize a nice spread in the area cani at one of the tables or perhaps on a blanket on the ground. They may not even know it’s the dog zone because the signs denoting it as such are only up for a few days about every three months since they get knocked down by vandals almost immediately. Idiots. So, the picnickers are happily eating their pasta and whatever and all of the dogs in the zone (and because it’s a nice day for picnicking, there are plenty of dogs) come over and start nosing around. It’s more of an issue for the on-the-ground picnics than for the ones on the table although there is one dog who shall be nameless (his name rhymes with Gorgan) who believes that the picnic tables are his own personal domain — he likes to jump on them the better to observe his kingdom — and he has no qualms about jumping onto a picnic table full of food (and once, smack dab in the middle of a birthday cake). Then the picnickers yell at the dog owners, “Get your dog out of here!!!” and the dog owners yell at the picnickers, “This is the dog area. If you don’t want to deal with dogs, go somewhere else!” And they continue to yell at each other until everyone’s day is ruined. Ball-throwers and kite-flyers face the same degree of canine interest in the dog zone and the results are usually the same.

This is my table!

This is my table!

Lately I’ve noticed that Morgan has a new routine. He runs over to a blanket where a picnic is occurring and sticks his head directly into the first purse, backpack or bag he can find. If the purse or backpack is zipped, he starts pulling on the zipper with his teeth. He’s not succeeded with that yet but it’s just a matter of time.

Let's just see what's in this bag for me, shall we?

Let’s just see what they have brought for me, shall we?

The picnickers — for the most part teenagers — are usually distracted by how awesome and cool they are (and are frequently, shall we say, entwined) so they don’t see him at first. When they do, he immediately launches a major charm offensive, rolling on his back with his legs up in the air, rubbing against them like a cat and just generally being adorable (which he is).

Score! They're hooked. Now where's that bit of pizza?

They’re hooked. Now what’s in it for me?

After a few minutes of this, the picnickers are oohing and ahhing at Morgan’s cuteness and he generally scores a bit of pizza crust out of the deal. And then he immediately runs to the next picnic blanket and starts all over again. Genius. He hit six picnics yesterday and got a little snack at every one of them! BTW, there is a subset of the Italian teen — female persuasion — who thinks she’ll be more attractive to boys if she’s afraid of dogs so when Morgan approaches this idiot she’ll go, “Oooh help! I am so afraid! Protect me!” I’m like, “Moron. This dog is the size of your average kitty cat.  Get a life.”

Yes, it is true. I am a genius.

Yes, it is true. I am a genius.

This weekend, Eataly held its second annual street food festival and my friend Daniela and I went along to check it out. It was splendid.

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Eataly — which occupies a beautifully redesigned train station — is a combination farmer’s market, supermarket, food court and learning centre

The deal was that you bought chips (known as gettone, which are also the name of the things you used to use to make phone calls back in ye olde days of phone booths) and exchanged them for different street foods available around the food court. In addition to Italian street food (think pizza, focaccia and gelato), there were plates dedicated to Germany (currywurst), China (porky dumplings), Greece (gyros), Morocco (cous-cous), Vietnam (bahn mi), Thailand (pad thai), Mexico (chicken tacos), Spain (paella), Argentine (empanadas) and the USA (cupcakes — snore). As usual, my eyes were way bigger than my stomach and I bought four gettone. But after a chicken taco and a trapizzino filled with picchiapò, (peek-ee-ya-poe), which is a spiced boiled beef stew and one of my favorite words ever (it means ‘a little beat up’), I was done. That may have also had something to do with all of the free cheese on offer, of which I partook heavily. I used my leftover chips on take-home dumplings from the Chinese vender. Dinner!

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Daniela (lower right hand corner) waits in line for her pad thai. I did take a photo of her eating it but it was a very scary photo so this will have to do.

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Moeche and other Venetian treats

I was in Venice for the weekend recently with the Upstairs Vegetarian and her friend from Canada, Erin the Anglican Priest. We also met up with Annie, the UV’s former colleague, who was in Venice studying beads for her PhD. It’s more interesting than it sounds. Venice is a magical wonderful city. It’s the kind of place — as my brother once observed — where you keep expecting men in masks and capes and brandishing rapiers to pop out of alleyways and start with the stabbing. That may be because it’s often foggy and because the scariest movie in the history of the world took place in Venice. At any rate, the atmosphere is very — as the Italians would say — suggestive.

Beautiful Venice. The be-cloaked stabby guys hide inside until nightfall.

Suggestive Venice. The be-cloaked stabby guys hide inside until nightfall.

What can I say about Venice? The Biennale is still on and I could tell you about that. But who wants to hear about a bunch of bad art? Empty bleach bottles tied together with bits of string? What’s that all about? Me, I went to Venice mostly for the moeche.

Moeche are tiny soft shell crabs from the Venetian lagoon. They are only available for a few months every year (March-April and September-October) and I’ve been dying to try them ever since I heard about the Italian system for preparing them. They put the live crabs into a bowl filled with a batter made from egg and corn meal. The crabs eat up the mixture, effectively battering themselves from the inside. Isn’t that clever? I love soft shell crabs. And these ones are tiny so you can eat lots.

Self-battered soft shell crabs

Self-battered soft shell crabs. My friend Jane used to work in a grocery store in the UK and she and her colleagues loved to make announcements over the PA system about the sale on “battered cod pieces.” Hee.

The baby artichokes from the lagoon island of Sant' Erasmo are super good.

The baby artichokes from the lagoon island of Sant’ Erasmo are super tasty.

This fish is called San Pietro (John Dory in English) and it is very moist and tender. I do not understand the name change but the Italian name is due to the fact that St Peter caught the fish with his hands to prove he could do miracles. It also may have had something to do with the loaves and fishes, depending whom you ask.

This fish is called San Pietro (John Dory in English) and it is very moist and tender. I do not understand the name change but the Italian name is due to the fact that St Peter caught the fish with his hands to prove he could do miracles. It also may have had something to do with the loaves and fishes, depending on whom you ask.

A big Venetian deal  are cicheti, which are basically fancy bar snacks. While there are many different kinds of cicheti available, you will nearly always find the big three on offer: sarde in saor (fried sardines covered in sweet and sour marinated carmelized onions), baccalà mantecato (pureed dried codfish whipped with olive oil) and insalata di polpo (marinated octopus salad with lemon, parsley and celery).

Cicheti come in all shapes and colors.

Cicheti come in all shapes and colors.

Venetian cicheti. That white stuff on the right is the baccalà mantecato.

Venetian cicheti. That white stuff on the right is the baccalà mantecato.

These random guys just got on stage in the middle of lunch and started playing. Accordians don't get enough respect in my view. Did you know that the accordion epicenter is in Italy? The Upstairs Vegetarian wrote about it once.

These random guys just got on stage in the middle of lunch and started playing. Accordions don’t get enough respect in my view. Did you know that the epicenter of accordion-making is in Italy? The Upstairs Vegetarian once wrote about it in her  newspaper.

This guy totally photo bombed us coming out of the restaurant.

This guy totally photo bombed my friends coming out of the restaurant.

We visited the Venetian Ghetto, which dates back to 1516, making it the oldest one in Europe. In fact, the word ghetto comes from the Venetian word ghèto, which means slag, because a foundry was located near the area of Jewish confinement. There is a small museum and five synagogues in the Ghetto and you can take a nice tour of the ones not currently in use. There was a very prominent (and somewhat snippy) sign hanging in the synagogues we visited announcing that the ‘so-called’ kosher restaurant on the main square was a fraud and not officially kosher at all. Methinks therein lies a tale. As elsewhere, the Venetian Jews were rounded up when the Nazis occupied Italy in 1943. The President of the Jewish Community at the time — a doctor and professor named Giuseppe Jona — killed himself rather than hand over a list of the names of Venetian Jews. Figures differ, but probably about 200 Jews were taken and (mostly) sent to Dachau. There’s a stark and somewhat gruesome memorial in the Campo del Ghetto Nuovo, which is topped with barbed wire.

The Holocaust Memorial, Venice

The Holocaust Memorial, Venice

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Hmmm. I somehow feel that this post needs to end on a lighter note.

Here's a dog in a suitcase.

Here’s a dog in a suitcase.

Osteria Osticcio, Montalcino

My college BFF, Joanne, was here recently and we did a lot of eating. A LOT. I am currently trying to erase the memory of her trip from my waistline, with little to no success. Most of the places we went to were old favourites, like Le Coq, Scarps and the Greedy She-cat, about which I have written at length. But there were a few lovely new finds as well, one of which was Osteria Osticcio. The restaurant is in Montalcino, a medieval Tuscan town that has been inhabited since Etruscan times (probably). During the Medieval period, the town was known for its high quality leather goods. Now it’s best known for its famous Brunello di Montalcino wine.

Joanne chills on pretty bench in town square.

Joanne chills on a pretty bench in Montalcino’s main piazza.

Three things immediately predisposed me to give Osteria Osticcio two thumbs up before we had even ordered. First, they welcomed the dog, graciously and without complaint. That doesn’t happen very often here, at least not when the seating is inside. Second, the waitress immediately brought said dog a bowl of iced water — iced water! That was much very appreciated by the Morgster since it was about a million degrees outside.

Morgan cools off in the shower at Locanda Toscanini, the lovely hotel where we stayed outside of Cetona. The conductor Toscanini used to hang out here in the 1930s.

Earlier in the day, Morgan cooled off in the shower at Locanda Toscanini, the lovely little hotel where we stayed outside of Cetona. The conductor Toscanini used to hang out here in the 1930s.

Finally, this was the view from our table.

Yes, that was our view from lunch.

Yes, that was our view.

My lunch was extraordinarily porky. The starter was raw sausage and Lardo di Cinta Senese. A couple of things before you all start yelling. I realize that the concept of raw sausage is a bit alarming but I figured they wouldn’t put it on the menu if it wasn’t safe. As it turned out, the dog ate most of it. The thing is I can never turn down Lardo. Ever. For the poor, sad uninitiated, lardo is fatback cured with various spices and it is sooo goooood. IMG_1026Cinta Senese is an ancient pig breed — there are depictions of them in art going back to the 1300s.  The breed was nearly extinct in the 1990s but, thanks to a few enterprising farmers (and the foodies), it’s off the danger list now. BTW, the name comes from the fact that the pig has a white stripe around its chest (cinta means belt); Senese has to do with Siena, which is nearby and was the head town back in ye olde times.

Do you like my belt? It's vintage Porcio Armani.

Do you like my belt? It’s vintage Porcio Armani. Photo by M. Simoncini. 

Joanne had chicken liver pate, which was also very fine.

IMG_1027  Next (for me) was roast pork loin with beans and crispy pancetta. At this point, not only was I eating like a pig, my body was about 80% pork products.

Oink!

Oink!

Jo had thick spaghetti with little tomatoes and big chunks of guanciale (pork jowl to its friends, which are legion) and a big bowl of chickpeas with rosemary on the side. IMG_1030 IMG_1028Morgs relaxed on the floor and gave us baleful glares.

More piggy stuff please!

More piggy stuff please!

It was a lovely lunch — I highly recommend the restaurant. And mamma mia, that view!

ENOTECA OSTERIA OSTICCIO
Via Matteotti, 23  53024 Montalcino (SI)
 

Tel.+39 0577 848271 Fax +390577846907

Bau Beach!

Yesterday was lovely — sunny and breezy — so the Upstairs Vegetarian and I took ourselves to the beach. But not just any beach. Bau Beach is a beach for dogs, so named because Italian dogs say bau-bau instead of bow-wow. And that’s not all: Italian roosters say chicchirichí instead of cocka-doodle-doo; sheep say beee instead of baaa; frogs say cra-cra instead of croak-croak; donkeys say i-oo, i-oo rather than heehaw; and mice don’t squeak, they go squitt squitt. Interesting eh?

It was the Morgster’s first trip to the seaside, although he’s been to the dog beach at Lago di Martignano several times. He loved it. There were tons of dogs on the beach, all racing around, digging holes in the ground and surfing the waves. Very chaotic but great fun. Bau Beach is in Maccarese, a short drive from Rome. An annual pass costs 10 Euros.

Welcome to Bau Beach!

Welcome to Bau Beach!

Each dog gets a water  bowl and a dog-sized umbrella.

Each pup gets a water bowl and a dog-sized umbrella.

There's a fresh water source on the beach.

There’s a fresh water source on the beach.

And plastic bags are available for picking up what the little critters leave behind.

And plastic bags are available for picking up what the little critters leave behind.

First visit to the seaside!

First visit to the seaside!

Is this not the cutest thing you have ever seen?

I love this photo of Morgan's shadow. He looks like a hairy baby giraffe.

I love this photo of Morgan’s shadow. He looks like a hairy baby giraffe.

Tired but very happy

Tired but very happy

Morgan and Hugo

My dog Morgan loves to be the centre of attention. He adores having people make a fuss of him. At the dog park, he is certain to greet all of the people and to give each of them ample time to admire and pet him while he rubs against their legs like a cat (one of his many nicknames is ‘Morgan the kitty-cat.’). Or if there are people sitting at one of the picnic tables in the dog zone, he jumps onto the table and starts licking their faces or poking them with his paw if they are not sufficiently awestruck by his cuteness. When I have friends over, he basically goes from lap to lap. After his big sister Lula died a few months ago, I was afraid that he would be distraught, as Lula had been when her brother Shipy ran away several years ago.

Morgan and his big sis

Morgan and his big sis

And he was distraught (and for several weeks he did this thing of sitting in front of the bookcase where I put her ashes and staring at the urn for moments at a time). But it didn’t last long. To be honest, I think he was actually pretty happy not to have to share the spotlight with Lula anymore. The problem is that he no longer has her to play and hang out with 24-7 (which is precisely the number of hours of the day and days of the week that he needs to be entertained). Which leaves me to be chief playmate.

If I happen to be sitting at my computer — as I usually am — he sits next to me and looks at me with intense doggie concentration until I react.

Play with me now!

Play with me now!

If I don’t react fast enough he starts to whine. If I’m on the couch he goes to his toy box and pulls out the toys, one by one. He also spends a lot of time staring out the window at his friends playing in the park. And whining.

What am I missing out there? Everybody's having fun but me!

What am I missing out there? Everybody’s having fun but me!

So you can imagine my delight when he started to bond with one of the stray cats who hang around our building. There are about five of them — brothers and sisters whose mother was hit by a car. They are about a year old. One of them is particularly friendly and handsome and this fellow has taken a shine to the Morgster. He runs out whenever we come by, often accompanying us on our walks. The dog and cat sniff each other’s bums and sometimes engage in a bit of good natured wrestling.Morgan and Hugo check each other out.

Morgan and his cat friend check each other out.

I’m not quite ready to get another dog and, even though I’m not much of a cat person, I was pretty happy about the idea of bringing home a buddy for my pup. Woohoo (I thought)! The whining ends here.

I got in all the gear — hot pink cat carrier, bowls, food, a very cute kitty litter box (I know that sounds weird but this one has cat drawings all over it) — and set off to bring Hugo (which is what I named him) home with the assistance of the Upstairs Vegetarian.

The Rolls Royce of kitty litter boxes

The Rolls Royce of kitty litter boxes

Hugo did not like this plan AT ALL! After several attempts, which featured lots of banshee-like crying and scratching, we got him into the carrier and then into the apartment. Thus ensued ten minutes of pure bedlam: more banshee shrieks; Morgan chasing the cat and jumping all over him. Hugo was terrified and Morgan was protecting his territory like the little alpha dog drama queen he is. We finally opened the window and the cat jumped out to freedom (I’m on the first floor; it’s an easy jump). I guess it was not to be. The interesting thing is that by the next day all was back to normal. The two still play together and Hugo still comes with us on walks. I’ve been advised to put some cat food on the window sill and see if he comes inside to check it out but I fear that once an outdoor cat, always an outdoor cat.

Hugo!

Hugo!

Ostia Antica

Spring has finally sprung in the Caput Mundi and, to celebrate, the Upstairs Vegetarian, the Morgster and I headed out to Ostia Antica. Ostia was Ancient Rome’s seaport and is about 20 miles northeast of the city. This is one of my favourite day trips out of Rome. It’s a huge and sprawling site, covering 80 acres and because it’s not as well known as, say, Pompeii, it often feels like you have the place to yourself, at least once you get off the main thoroughfare.

Welcome to Ostia Antica!

Welcome to Ostia Antica!

Yesterday, for some reason, most of the visitors seemed to be French, including several groups of French schoolchildren who toured the site waving flags and singing. Most odd. Ostia Antica is a great place for a picnic and they welcome dogs.

Back in the day, Ostia lay at the mouth of the Tiber. Now, due to silting, the sea is a mile and a bit away. Legend has it that Ostia was originally founded by Ancus Marcius, the 4th King of Rome in the 7th century BCE, although the oldest archeological remains on the site date to the 4th century BCE. The town was sacked by pirates in 68 BCE. The pirates set the port on fire, destroyed the consular fleet and kidnapped two senators. The sacking prompted a law granting 39 year old Pompey the Great tremendous power: he was placed in charge of a naval task force to solve the pirate issue, which he did inside of three months. I just love a good pirate yarn, don’t you? Here’s some other things about pirates you may not know:

  • When he was 25, Julius Caesar was captured by Sicilian pirates, who wanted to ransom him for 20 talents of silver (about $600 000 nowadays). This was before he got into politics. He laughed at them and demanded they ask for 50 talents, which they did. Caesar hung out with the pirates for about a month, while his buddies were rounding up the money. He bossed them around, read them poetry and played games with them. It was all very buddy-buddy. After he was released, he came back and had them all crucified. He also got all the money back.  
  • 19 September is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Aaarrrr!
  • One of the language options available on Facebook is Pirate English.
  • One of Morgan’s nicknames in the dog park is the Little Pirate (Il Piccolo Pirata). That’s because of his swashbuckling manner and also because of Captain Morgan’s rum, named after the 17th century Welsh privateer.
Shiver me timbers!

Shiver me timbers!

Now where were we? Ostia was further developed by Tiberius, Claudius (who rebuilt the harbour) and Trajan in the 1st century CE. At its height in the 3rd century, Ostia had about 50 000 inhabitants.

Columbaria (dovecotes), where urns containing the ashes of Ostian citizens were buried. This is in the necropolis at the Porta Romana entrance to Ostia Antica. Burials always took place outside of the cities in ancient Roman times.

Columbaria (dovecotes), where urns containing the ashes of Ostian citizens were buried. They can be found in the necropolis at the Porta Romana entrance to Ostia Antica. Burials always took place outside of cities in ancient Roman times.

Eventually, Ostia was eclipsed in importance by a newer port (quite reasonably known as Portus). For awhile, the city became the place for rich Romans to build their summer houses but it declined after the fall of the Empire, got sacked some more and was finally abandoned in the 9th century. Abandoned but not forgotten: for centuries, the marble facades of Ostia Antican buildings were stripped, the marble used in Roman palazzi and various cathedrals around Italy. After that, foreign visitors came searching for statues and inscriptions to grace their private collections. The first excavations started in the 19th century and picked up pace in the 1930s under Mussolini (of course), who wanted to showcase Ostia Antica in the 1942 World’s Fair. The Fair never occurred, Mussolini being otherwise occupied.

Today, walking along Ostia Antica’s narrow stone streets gives you a real sense of what it must have been like to live way back when.

The theatre at Ostia Antica. They often hold concerts here in the summertime.

The theatre at Ostia Antica. Concerts are often held here in the summertime.

People lived in multistory apartment buildings, transacted business, shopped and worshipped in various fora (Ostia has 20), hung out at the public baths (and in communal latrines), drank in wine bars, where pictures of the offerings were posted on the walls for the benefit of the illiterate.

An Ostian bar, where a message on the fool reads (roughly) "Fortunatus’s Place. You know you’re thirsty — come on in and have a drink.

An Ostian bar, where a mosaic message on the floor reads (roughly) “Fortunatus’s Place. You know you’re thirsty — come on in and have a drink.”

A menu for the benefit of the illiterate at Fortunatus' place, where you could apparently get carrots and pomegranates to go with your glass of wine.

A menu for the benefit of the illiterate customers at Fortunatus’ place, where you could apparently get carrots, lentils and pomegranates to go with your glass of wine.

You can see the remains of restaurants, shops, bakeries and the oldest synagogue in Europe. The site has a decent cafeteria, nice little museum and souvenir shop featuring a very grumpy non-dog friendly cat.

Mosaic on the floor of a shop that presumably sold fish. Another floor features an elephant. Did they sell elephants there or (more likely) things imported from Africa?

Mosaic on the floor of a shop that presumably sold fish.

Did this shop sell elephants?

Did this shop sell elephants?

Gang latrine at Ostia, where it appears that ablutions were a sort of social event.

Gang latrine at Ostia, where it appears that ablutions were a sort of social event. Kinda reminds me of college.

The synagogue dates from the reign of Claudius (41-54 CE). There are little carvings of menorahs on top of the columns.

The synagogue dates from the reign of Claudius (41-54 CE). There are little carvings of menorahs on top of the columns.

Helpful signage

Helpful signage explaining that the mosaic of Neptune is closed for maintenance and expressing regret there for the uneasiness.

It’s easy to get here by taking from the Ostiense station to Ostia Lido. Here’s a great website and a reconstruction of what Ostia Antica would have looked like in ye olde times. And just for fun, some footage of the 1938 excavations, complete with a visit by Mussolini.

So many smells!

Where to next?

Zoc!

The Upstairs Vegetarian is a very fine journalist who works for an esteemed publication and, as you might have heard, Rome has been awash with newsworthy goings on as of late. So she’s been working hugely long days for weeks. To celebrate the whole Pope thing getting more or less sorted out and the fact that it was a glorious spring day after what has seemed like months of torrential rains, we treated ourselves to a nice long walk with the reward of brunch at the end (of course, rain was threatening again by the end of the day). The Morgster was delighted to be invited along. Springtime in Villa Pamphili. ©epovoledo

Springtime in Villa Pamphili. ©epovoledo

We ended up at Zoc, the restaurant that fed the U.V. and her journalist colleagues over the past month while they rushed around doorstepping cardinals and searching the horizon for white smoke. She’s has been raving about Zoc and it was very good indeed. Zoc is very much into the whole kilometer zero business as is its trendy sister in Monti, Urbana 47. Kilometer zero normally refers to the particular location (usually in a capital city) from which distances are measured. The Milliarum Aureum (Golden Milestone) was a marble column (possibly) that was covered by gilded bronze. It was erected by the Emperor Caesar Augustus in 20 AD near the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum. All roads in the Empire were declared to begin at this monument and all distances measured from there; whence cometh ‘All roads lead to Rome.’ In Italian foodie language, kilometer zero (or ‘km 0’ for the hipster foodies) has become the battle cry of Italy’s growing locavore movement, which is based on the principles of direct supply chain and locally foraged ingredients. Locavore means, not to put too fine a point on it, ‘eater of local food.’ Zoc espouses all of this but they also rely heavily on a lot of foreign spices. Not sure I get the logic there but anyway.

The restaurant is cute and filled with lots of funky vintage furniture. Because of the dog, we opted for the garden, which looked a bit like Honey Boo Boo’s backyard, to be honest. Do you know about this person? Honey Boo Boo is the star of a massively popular reality show (Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child); she’s a seven year old beauty pageant participant from Georgia. Honey Boo Boo is somewhat of a foodie herself. She loves ‘ sketti,’ an old family recipe (ketchup+melted butter poured over cooked noodles). Here’s how it’s done. I could watch this video forever.

Because they made us wait a bit before taking our order, the restaurant offered a little starter, which was creamy scrambled eggs over crispy shredded carrot, artichoke and onion.

Scrambled egg on fried veggies.

Scrambled egg over fried veggies.

Next, the Upstairs Vegetarian had a plate of grilled aged stracchino cheese atop a little mound of steamed greens and spicy jam. I, ever true to my  carnivorous nature, had a succulent barbecued pork rib and patatas bravas, a Spanish tapas dish featuring fried potatoes with a peppery sauce.

Melted cheese is never a bad idea.

Melted cheese is never a bad idea.

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Nor for that matter is barbecued pork.

No complaints about the food; it was really good. Sadly they were out of the codfish hotdog, which I was dying to try. Doesn’t that sound awesome? But I do have a rant to rave. It being Sunday and early afternoon and brunch being on the rise in these here parts, they brought us the following menu.

You call this brunch? Seriously?

You call this brunch? Seriously?

Don’t get me wrong; this all looks delicious: crisp rösti potatoes with scrambled eggs on top (Okay, so that’s a bit brunch-y); ravioli stuffed with curried chicken; lamb chops; orange sorbet. A good price for four courses. I would eat it all happily. But Italy, a word? I have been lobbying very hard against the overwhelming urge of Americans to order a panini (plural) when what they want is a panino (singular). Likewise with biscotti/biscotto.  The least you can do in return is to get this brunch thing right. Brunch is a neologism (relatively speaking) that combines the words (and, importantly, the concepts of) breakfast and lunch. That means eggs (preferably of the Benedict variety), bacon, lox and bagels, mimosas, tons of coffee and jazz. The Sunday New York Times would not be amiss. Call me a snob who spent too much time in NYC, but brunch is not simply lunch that happens to take place on the weekend.

Via delle Zoccolette 22 (Ponte Sisto).Tel: +39 06 68192515. Open for breakfast from 9.00 to 12.00; lunch (saturday and sunday brunch – HA!) from 12.30 to 15.30; dinner from 19:00 to 24:00.