Weekend Travel Food – Rome (Canova Tadolini Suites)

Roman flavors- Canova Tadolini Suites

http://www.canovatadoliniroma.com

Things change. Even in Rome. Buildings go up and come down – except for maybe the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and about 80 percent of downtown Rome. Culinary fads come and go – except for the good espresso, flavored grated ice, homemade peach and lemon iced tea, gelato, pasta all’amatriciana and maybe 80 percent of Rome food. OK, some things don’t change much, at least here.

But some things do. The dramatic rise in cash in the local economy coming from mass tourism from the east and corrupt politics has taken away much of the uniquely Italian, human flavor that used to be.  And made a lot of things awfully expensive. As rents rise many local shops have shut down, so it’s getting harder and harder to find what were once ‘normal’ things here like artisan pasta stores or a good seamstress or a repair shop. A sense of community and pride in what you do is hard to maintain when the next batch of tourists will sit down and buy a snack or lunch or dinner and gobble it down whatever you put on the plate. Most of the cooks now a day come from South America. Plus many of the locals can’t afford to live downtown anymore.

That’s what makes Canova Tadolini rather special – the old school warmth and competence of the people who run it. The LoBianco family, Romans from another time. The rooms are spacious and clean, the location ridiculously central – smack dab between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, and prices for this kind of reception and quality basically impossible to find elsewhere anymore.

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What’s more, when you step downstairs and out into Via del Babuino, you’ll only be a few meters away from Canova Tadolini, the bar, or now-a-day called an art restaurant – because it’s inside Antonio Canova’s, who was likely the most accomplished neoclassical Italian sculptor, ex-atelier – and filled with his figures: Gods and busts, life-sized, white statues looking someplace else with timeless expressions. A pleasant place to have your espresso and cornetto, mid-day snack break, or a terribly romantic dinner.

If you’re looking to find a friendly, well-managed place to stay in Rome, book your room at the link above. The LoBiancos will make sure it becomes one of the most pleasant stays you’ve ever had. And that will not change.

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Weekend Food: Rome, Sant’Eustachio: The Best Coffee in the World

Travel Flavor: Rome. Sant Eustachio: Espresso summit.

There is American coffee, long and sweet, perfect with sausage links and pancakes topped with vanilla maple syrup. And there is french coffee and milk for buttery croissants, or to sip alongside a fresh, crunchy baguette with marmalade. There is German coffee – which works as a turpentine replacement in a pinch – Cuban, Turkish, Ethiopian, Neopolitan, Italian…and then there is Sant’Eustachio.

They don’t really make coffee so much as an out-of-this-world espresso emulsion that even Adria, (the looney genius chef of the now closed El Bulli,) wouldn’t be able to emulate. People have been speculating for years what Sant’Eustachio adds to its grind that makes that lovely, fragrant, creamy foam. Egg whites? Some kind of grain? Alka Selzer? Some secret mechanism in the old espresso machines they use?

Could it be that they continue to buy the best coffee beans on the market, blend and then roast them perfectly, and slowly train their barristas – Marcello in particular. He’s usually at the machine on the left as you walk in, medium height and build, in his 50’s, and worth his weight in gold as he is, in my opinion, the best barrista in the world – until they have full control of the proper technique to make in turn the best espresso in the world? Nah, must be the egg whites. Anyway.

 

The bar is a very short walk from the Pantheon. And though the coffee in the bar is good all day, the Pantheon usually gets packed like a sardine can from 11:00 on. So get there, to Sant’Eustachio, early-ish, before the tourists tire of hanging out in front of the old, magnificent building nearby. On the way to the bar, behind and to the right of the Pantheon from the piazza, you might want to veer even further right into San Luigi to take a long peak at the Caravaggios in the church. You could even try to linger there awhile but the sardines, er, French tourist groups, usually swim in to see the paintings before getting netted by a tour group leader and then hauled to the piazza in front of the Pantheon. The piazza itself used to be a a low marketplace from which you had to take the stairs up into famous building. But centuries of, well, garbage, and one or two lost French tourists, accumulated into the mound you now have to move down from to get to the steps. Anyway.

Back at the bar, after the first sip of espresso a serene smile will appear on your face and you’ll probably forget about the garbage dump in front of the Pantheon, Caravaggio and pretty much everything else. But if after spooning the last of the heavenly foam into your mouth you decide to take a stroll in a different direction, say, to Campo de’ Fiori, and by chance a French tourist mistakes you for a Roman and asks you directions to Sant’ Eustachio, point them to the piazza in front of the Pantheon instead. Keep the bar, its espresso and Marcello for yourself.


link – coffee: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brewing-a-great-cup-of-coffee-depends-on-chemistry-and-physics/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sa-editorial-social&utm_content&utm_term=chemistry_partner_text_free

Weekend Food – Roma, Sant’Eustachio: Il miglior caffè del mondo

Roman Food – Bar – Caffè Paradise


C’è il caffè americano, lungo e dolce, perfetto con le salsiccine semi-dolce che mangiano a colazione assieme alle frittelle ricoperte di sciroppo d’acero e magari insaporite con la vaniglia. E c’è il cafè au lait  francese per i croissant al burro, o per sorseggiare accanto ad una fresca, croccante baguette spalmato con marmellata. C’è il caffè tedesco – che funziona come un sostituto di trementina nei casi d’emergenza – cubana, turco, etiope, napoletano, italiano … e poi c’è Sant’Eustachio.Essi in realtà non fanno tanto il caffè quanto un irreale emulsione d’espresso che anche Adria, (lo chef genio e scoccuzzato del ormai chiusa El Bulli,) non sarebbe in grado di emulare. La gente specula da anni su ciò che quelli di Sant’Eustachio aggiungono al loro miscela di checchi macinati che risulta in quella bella, profumata, schiuma cremosa. Albume d’uovo? Una specie di grano? Sodio bicarbonato? Forze qualche meccanismo segreto nelle vecchie macchine da caffè che utilizzano?


O potrebbe essere che continuano ad acquistare i migliori chicchi di caffè sul mercato, che poi vengano arrostiti perfettamente da loro, e che lentamente formano i loro barristas – (Marcello in particolare. E solitamente in dietro la macchina sulla sinistra appena entri, altezza media, ben proporzionato, sui 50, e merita il suo peso in oro, a mio parere, come il miglior barrista del mondo) – fino a quando non hanno il pieno controllo della tecnica corretta per rendere a loro volta il miglior espresso del mondo? Nah, dev’ essere gli albumi. Comunque.

Il bar è a pochi passi dal Pantheon. E se il caffè al bar è buono tutto il giorno, il Pantheon di solito viene confezionato come una scatola di sardine dalle 11:00 in poi. Tanti di quelle sardine poi vanno al caffè dopo le loro visite, aggiungendosi ai politici e alle autiste dei auto blu già seduti o in piedi comodamente a fare un cazzo. Quindi vacci presto al Pantheon eppoi da Sant’Eustachio, prima di quel’onda dei turisti e politici. 

Il bar e dietro e a destra del Pantheon.  Si ti va, poi virare ancora più a destra per dare un’occhiato a San Luigi e una volta entrato dare un’occhiato piu lungo alle opere di Caravaggio nella chiesa. Potresti anche tentare di stare li un bel po ma le sardine, ehm, gruppi di turisti francesi, di solito nuotano per vedere i quadri prima di essere pescati dalle loro guide e trasportati alla piazza davanti al Pantheon. La piazza, una volta più in basso del Pantheon, e stata il luogo di un noto mercato per secoli. Ma secoli di, beh, immondizia, e forse uno o due turisti francesi persi, si sono accumulati e oggi dovrai scendere dalla piazza alle scala d’entrata invece di salire. Comunque.Tornati al bar, dopo il primo sorso di espresso un sorriso sereno apparirà sul tuo viso e probabilmente dimenticherai della discarica di fronte al Pantheon, di Caravaggio e forse quasi tutto il resto del mondo. Ma se dopo che l’avrai preso a cucchiaiate l’ultime gocce di schiuma divina ti decidi di fare una passeggiata, magari in una direzione diversa, ad esempio verso Campo de ‘Fiori, e per caso qualche turista frances ti ferma e ti chiede indicazione per Sant’Eustachio, non darglieli. Punti verso la piazza davanti al Pantheon. Tiene il bar, loro espresso e Marcello per te.

link- caffe: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brewing-a-great-cup-of-coffee-depends-on-chemistry-and-physics/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sa-editorial-social&utm_content&utm_term=chemistry_partner_text_free


Weekend Food, Roman Delis – Antica Caciara: Small voice, Great deli

Roman Food – Small voice, Great deli – Antica Caciara

Subdued voice, Great deli: Antica Caciara in Trastevere.

 The cobble stoned streets in Rome are tricky, particularly if you’re wearing high heels, particularly if you’re a tourist. They’re lovely to look at, and since they are, well, streets, you trust you can walk over them without paying attention. But if you don’t look where you’re putting your feet, those streets can literally steal your shoes. The photo below I took a few days ago. It isn’t a set up: someone actually must have gotten stuck, tried to pull her shoe out but the stones wouldn’t give. So she lost her heal, most likely then gimping up and down on her way back to her hotel while swearing a bit under her breath.


A similar same sort of thing happens with people. Well, with men anyway. Often men with full voices inspire trust. That, our attitude regarding a well articulated, completely resonating tone of natural command comes from our evolution. Big voice = competent guy, we often assume. ‘He knows what he’s doing. Must be respected.’ Lots of executives learn that trick early on, (particularly short ones.) ‘Listen, see, I’ve got a naturally commanding voice. Follow my lead.’ They stand up straight and wear expensive, tailor-made clothes. But sometimes if you follow them without paying attention they’ll take your shirt. And your shoes. And your underwear, for that matter. Think Wall Street.

Smaller-voiced men with hunched shoulders are by contrast often neglected. You know, the pee-wee Hermans of the world. The ones that can seem to fade into the background.

In Rome there are a few well-kown, visually impressive, ‘big-voiced’ delis, particularly downtown. And some of them aren’t at all bad. Roscioli, Franchi….are the Dean and Deluca’s or Eataly’s of the eternal city. They usually have the most well-known, high-class produce and artisanal salamis and such. Snob stuff. And they make you pay very dearly for that snobbery. There are plenty of others that pretty much make you pay dearly for even mediocre stuff, pretending that they’re giving you good counsel and offering you something special. Particularly if you’re a tourist. Watch where you’re putting shoes or you’ll loose a heal. And a good chunk of whatever’s in your wallet.

In the heart of Trastevere there’s instead a small place that might appear even a bit shabby at first glance: Antica Caciara Trastverina, of Roberto Polica, in via San Francesco a Ripa. Maybe you wouldn’t even notice it if you pass by, as it sort of fades into the background of the street. But take a closer look. That sheep’s milk ricotta you see stacked up inelegantly in the window is still glistening with freshness. That was cheese was definitely done this morning. And look at the price: it’s more than a little reasonable, and so much less expensive that the Balducci-like places a bit closer to the tourist attractions. So step inside.

That guy there, the owner, is almost always behind the counter. He’s thin and sort of wiry but with a subtle, strange elegance like a young apple tree. He’ll greet you kindly, humbly, almost apologetically and ask you if he might help you in a kind wisp of a voice. Ask him. Trust him. He’s one of the most culinarily knowledgable men you’ll ever meet. Anywhere.

And his store’s produce reflects that knowledge. Every single lunch meet, or dried fish, or cheese in the store is simply remarkable. He doesn’t just have, say, a bresaola. He’ll offer you a taste if you seem uncertain, explain to you its flavor in detail, in inception when you place into your mouth, its evolution once you begin to chew and its aftertaste. And where it comes from, how it’s made. Go ahead and taste it. You’ll pause, and then remain overwhelmed. Poetry. The best. The best pecorino Romano, the best coppa, the best ricotta, the best salted herrings in Rome…can be found right there in his deceptively modest-looking store.

When the bill comes you’ll again be overwhelmed…at its smallness. Here you won’t loose your wallet, shoes, shirt, underwear or anything else. You’ll gain something instead: flavor and knowledge. And maybe next time another full-voiced, full-of-himself guy offers you his ‘follow me’ spiel on the streets or on TV while he’s running for office, you’ll reach for your pocket to make sure your wallet remains in place. And remember that sometimes smaller voices carry much greater weight.

I just wish people like Roberto would go into politics and banking. That is, finance. But, like a smart, experienced Brit once said: ‘There’s no money in poetry. Then again, there’s no poetry in money.’ Roberto, in his way, is one hell of a poet.

http://www.anticacaciara.altervista.org/index_altervista.htm

 

…if you happen to know of other great delis in Rome, let us know in the comments…