Here's my dad, Anthony Bruzzese, radiologist, wine enthusiast, opera lover, and all-around know-er of all things (he's the smartest person I've ever met, no exaggeration). He also happens to be the best dad anyone could ever ask for (also not an exaggeration).
Meals out in Rome with my dad are taken very, very seriously, often planned out in advance, and are seen as a great opportunity to eat at that restaurant we've-been-meaning-to-try-for-a-while or revisit some of our old favorites. Below are some of the standout restaurants for us this past week. For anyone visiting Rome soon -- consider the below restaurants as tested, approved, and highly, highly recommendable!
Da Enzo 29 is a tiny whole-in-the-wall restaurant in Trastevere, and my dad's #1 favorite place to eat in Rome. Da Enzo serves classic Roman cuisine (amatriciana, cacio e pepe, carbonara, coda alla vaccinara, that sort of thing) with the addition of a few specials that change often (I highly recommend the panzanella or the burrata, tomato, and basil appetizer if its on the menu). This time around we ordered ricotta with honey and various jams, plus the rigatoni all'amatriciana, pasta con sugo di coda, or rather pasta with an oxtail ragu', plus polpette, aka meatballs, a side of bittery, spicy cicoria, and mascarpone with baby strawberries to finish the meal. Yummm.
We had read about Trattoria Da Cesare al Casaletto in an issue of Bon Appetit Magazine (the #1 food magazine in the U.S, and my reading material of choice growing up) not too long ago. If Bon Appetit said it was good, we knew we wouldn't be disappointed. The menu was classic Roman fare with a few little surprises -- our favorites here were polpette di bollito (braised beef meatballs) crochette di melanzane (eggplant fritters with a spicy tomato sauce) and pasta alla gricia con carciofi (pasta with guanciale, pecorino, and artichokes). Is it time for lunch yet?!
RECIPE - COLOMBA FRENCH TOAST!
I made time for a little cooking too, of course! My sister and I had purchased a colomba -- a sweet, sugary, almond studded cake eaten in Italy around Easter in Italy -- the week prior, overlooking the fact that we are only two people and we had purchased a colomba weighing 1 kilo. This is what it looked like when we bought it:
Whisk together 2/3 cup of milk (158 ml) with two eggs and a dash of cinnamon; dip the stale bread (we used about 10 of the little slices above) briefly in the resulting cinnamon-y custard, and fry in butter over medium low heat on the stove -- if you use a fairly large skillet you can fry 2-3 pieces at a time. When the french toast is a deep golden brown on both sides, its ready -- serve hot with maple syrup, fruit, and blood orange juice.
We didn't just eat the whole trip, I promise! We got our fill of culture, too. On Sunday we went to see the opera Andrea Chenier at Teatro Costanzi. My dad is a huge opera fan -- he has been since he was a little kid, following in the footsteps of his uncle who got him started early -- and every time he visits we try and go see whatever is on that month. Andrea Chenier is an opera whose plot is loosely based on the life of the French poet by the same name, who was executed during the French Revolution -- as you can imagine, it didn't have a happy ending (not too many operas do!) but it was beautifully done.
And to finish off this post -- here are some more photos of our week with our dad, mostly taken by him during our visits to the Monti and Trastevere neighborhoods, and in the case of the first two photos below, from the terrace of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, where he visited me at work. As always his week here has gone by far too quickly, but he'll be back soon (the restaurant list making as already commenced!) Love you dad!