Voltaire. Ohh…Walter?

I can’t believe how fast the days (& weeks!) go — I’ve been in Roma for 16 days already. Since I’ve been here over 2 weeks, it was due time my friends and I ventured out to grab a bite to eat. Don’t get me wrong, we were fed great food this past weekend during our orientation trip, but up until yesterday, I’d never actually gone out and ordered what I was craving at the moment. I’m actually a fan of Mensa at our school, but let’s get real here: don’t you love to sometimes spoil yourself and have the ability to order whatever your little heart desires? 🙂

My schedule is all messed up (but in a good way!): last semester at college, I had an 8:15 or 8:30 am class every weekday morning. Here? My earliest “class” (a singing lesson on Thursdays) doesn’t start until 10 am! Thus, I find myself going to bed a little later and waking up a little later. And if I work out right when I get up, that puts breakfast at…11 am? So I usually just have a snack in the morning and then find plenty of ways to get my cals in later during the day (I mean, I’m in Italy. How hard can it be, really?)

That being said, yesterday (Wednesday) is one of my weekdays (Friday also) where I don’t have any classes at all. Pure bliss. After a great run (indoors, I lament. I’m still working on running outside…getting lost, avoiding the copius amounts of dog poop lining the sidewalks, and steering clear of crazy Italian drivers is a deadly combination), I was so ready for lunch. What to do? Get paninis! Julie, Erin, and I strolled down the hill and found a cute little corner bar, where for 2,50 Euro, I got this yummyyyy sandwich:

Salami & parmigiano, toasted in a ‘nini maker (of course) so the bread got all thin & crispy…

Look at that flaky crust!! Mmm….

There were quite a few sandwiches to choose from (all cold), and once you made your selection (after about 20-25 minutes of trying to decide haha), the owners put it in the machine to warm it up for you. The options ranged from tomato, basil, & mozzarella to a breadcrumb-crusted fish, to a simple ham & cheese.

Julie just had to snag a bag of these Hello Kitty chips (clearly the Italians have an infatuation with this beloved creepy character:

It even came with a Hello Kitty magnet inside, with space for a treasured photo. Hmm…alrighty then.

Though we had planned to eat dinner at Mensa last night, on a whim we decided to de-virginify me at Pizza Magi.

Pizza Magi is around a 15 minute walk from our campus, in the Balduina neighborhood of Roma. The pizza is cheap, good, and the workers are pretty funny guys. While ordering my pizza, one of the workers asked my name. It was fun to practice my Italian (or learn it, really), and a comical misunderstanding occurred when he introduced himself as what I thought was Voltaire. After repeating Voltaire numerous times — and seeing his fellow friends/workers laughing in the background — one of them wrote on a napkin that his name was actually Walter. Whoops. And I thought I was chummin’ with a man reminsicent of a French Enlightenment writer 🙂

 I hadn’t been to Pizza Magi since I’d arrived in Roma (a sin, really), so I was delighted when it truly lived up to my expectations. I loved the atmosphere: a rather small dining area, with stacks and stacks of pizza boxes lining the walls and counter space, a plethora of drool-worthy pizza offerings enticing hungry passerby, and bright blue walls with yellow tiles.

My selection? 2 square slices of thin, pillowy-crust pizza with melted mozzarella cheese, thin slices of prosciutto, and truffles:

Erin & I ready to buon appetito!

Throughout our short visit, I became good friends with “the boys…”

…so I was hooked up with a free fried rice ball (more fried food, I know…)

An oblong assortment of rice, tomato-paste, and melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella. Erin & Jules called “dibs” on mine, had I not finished it. But let’s not underestimate me…

To wash it all down, I selected a pesca (peach-flavored) juice. So refreshing — those hills not only make you work up an appetite, but makes it a necessity to quench your thirst, too!

Cheap & delicious? I will most definitely be returning to Pizza Magi often. There are so many “pies” I want to try! Think grilled sausage & roasted broccoli, tbm (tomato, basil/pesto, mozzarella — or caprese), sauteed eggplant & mozzarella, carmelized mushrooms, thin ham & mozzarella…

On another note, today for lunch I was (again) starving. (A 20-minute) voice lesson & (an hour-long) lit lecture really wear a girl out 😉 Since I’m starting to long for some sort of normalcy in my lunches, I got creative and whipped up a sandwich, using the deli meat and cheese they provide on a platter, adding in some fresh tomatoes and mixed greens, and slathering some soft-to-the-touch whole-wheat bread with brown mustard. (I didn’t even know I liked brown mustard!!)

On the side? Because I’m feeling so under-the-weather (translates into: staying in tonight and watching a movie and trying not to get to the end of my 3 Euro Kleenex box…), I loaded up on fresh pineapple and vitamin-C packed oranges. With a hard-boiled egg on the side, because I was cravin’ some protein!

Off to rest & recuperate…and attend my last class (Italian) for the week. This cold needs to leave, ora!

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About ciaotochow

ciao to chow: initially created as a little spot on the web devoted to the "chow" I find while studying abroad in Rome. But really, ciao to chow is about my life: the day-to-day experiences, funny stories, moments of laughter, and the food...that continue to inspire me and make me grateful for each new day.
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11 Responses to Voltaire. Ohh…Walter?

  1. Kaley says:

    Annnnnd you should return there because one should never underestimate the value of having friends who work at food places. Especially in Italy!

    I am in Spain, working as an English teacher, and also love good food so I’m enjoying your blog.

    • ciaotochow says:

      Thanks for stopping by! How long have you been teaching in Spain? What an incredible opportunity — I was only in Spain for about 2 weeks during a class trip in high school (we stopped in Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, and Sevilla), but the scenery was breathtaking, the people unbelievably hospitable, and the food…TDF!

  2. Mmmm, that fried rice ball looks so good!

  3. LinnE says:

    Gahh all of that food looks so delicious!! I have no words to describe my jealousy. And speaking of Voltaire, I’m reading him right now. What a coincidence! Love you miss you.

  4. So jealous of your ITalian pizza. I was in Rome over the summer and now I can barely stomach american pizza…

    there was this really good place near-ish to the vatican but I don’t remember what it was called, but you paid by kilo and they had one variety that was just tomato sauce and mushrooms (prob multiple places have that though) and I still crave it… haha. 😉

  5. Julie says:

    Yummm, if I had Pizza Magi right now my life would be complete! Can I just say to everyone reading this that those waiters LOVED Anna!?! Good thing we’ll be going back there often….there’s too many pizza pies I want to try. I had a delicious pizza topped with mozzarella, pesto and tomatoe…mmmm, buono!!! OK- Ciao raggazi!!! 🙂

  6. Just wondering, what exactly is brown mustard? Is is a different kind of mustard seed that they use?

    • ciaotochow says:

      I had to check on this (good question!), but I believe yellow and brown mustard are made from the same seed, only yellow mustard is yellow in color because of the added tumeric. In spicy brown mustard, the seeds are more coarsely ground, and this is what gives this type a speckled, brownish/yellowish color. A lot of times, brown mustards also include some horseradish to enhance its flavor and add some HEAT.

      I never was a huge fan of mustard — until now! Crazy how your tastebuds change, if only you allow yourself to get out of your “usual routine” every now and then.

  7. MareMare says:

    Returning for cheap and delicious. . .hmmmm. Do those cute boys have anything to do with your plans?? xxxooo MM

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