I Ate…What?!

One of my last nights in Roma was spent with good friends — and good food!

The meal started off with some warm bread & fresh parmesan reggiano, which, in my opinion, has the perfect hint of saltiness. Yum!

My friend’s generous step-dad was treating us all to the meal and encouraged us to order appetizers, a first course, a second course, dessert, the works. Alright…if you’re gonna twist my arm 😉

Suppli for all!

For those of you who haven’t yet been introduced to the much-loved Italian appetizer, suppli are rice balls that are generally mixed with tomato sauce and wrapped around a piece of mozzarella, then coated with breadcrumbs and fried. Y’all know I’m usually not one for fried foods, but there are exceptions. When in Rome, right? 😉

Before we knew it, the first course was arriving at our table. I chose to order the Bucatini all’amatriciana, one of Italian’s most-loved dishes. This particular recipe was certified by the Amatriciana counsel for being so darn tasty! 🙂

Whoever is on that council was right — this was unbelievably delicious.

You know those meals where you try to put your fork down because you’re getting full but then your dish just keeps tempting you from smack-dab in front of your face? Yup, this was one of ’em.

It was so cool to see the waiters mixing up the dishes right before our eyes — in huge pans right in the middle of the dining room!

My friend Erin was the last of us to receive her bucatini, so the lucky girl got to eat out of the cooking pan itself:

Because I wanted to try something completely out of my element, for the next course I ordered oxtails with raisins, pine nuts, and…chocolate?

So the menu said. What I ordered and what was placed in front of me was definitely NOT the same thing. Does that look like raisins, pine nuts, and chocolate to you?

Blechhhh!!! Sorry for my minor freak-out. I just “googled” oxtails now and realized that they are in fact the tail of cattle. Ok, before you judge me on that last sentence (which makes me sound incredibly smart, I know), hear me out. Sometimes things are called things they’re actually not, right? Right?

Anyways, these things were incredibly hard to navigate. There was basically no meat and I found that, instead of eating, I spent the majority of the time trying to cut meat off the bone. During which I had numerous knife-slips. Whoops. Who knew eating could be actual work?

The meal ended with a delicious berry tart:

Don’t you just love fresh berries? Yay x 1,000,000 to summer temps & fresh produce 🙂

“The Flats” Travel around Roma

Unbeknownst to me, I discovered a few weeks ago that I had actually received mail in my school mailbox! And how cool is this: it was Flat Layne and her good friends, Flat Lisa & Mike.

They wanted to see as much of Roma as they could, but because it can be a little difficult for them to flag down the 990 bus down to the Vatican, I gladly helped ’em out and served as their cab driver for the day.

First stop? 

My campus of course! We call it JFORCE — also known as the John Felice Rome Center.
They loved sticking their noses in the blooming flowers and even got some sun while laying in the courtyard. But enough moseying around…the tour di Roma must go on.

Our next stop was the Vatican, and we got some exercise in along the way because we walked. It was a beautiful day out and why wait 15-20 minutes for a bus when we could enjoy Roma in all of its sunshine-filled glory?

They got up close & personal with the late Pope John Paul II. Well, a poster of him at least:

Speaking of Pope JP2, isn’t this a pretty awkward title for a book paying tribute to his life?

As Andrew so wisely suggested, couldn’t they have titled it: The man who loved mankind?

After walking around St. Peter’s Square, the trio started complaining that they were starved. I took them to grab a panini at my favorite little spot mere steps away from Old Bridge & DueCento Gradi. I’ve already shared my affinity for square foccacia bread, but I’ll share it again: there’s just something so wonderful about it! Thin & crispy with just a twinge of pillowy softness in the middle and a hint of buttery goodness? To die for.

Prosciutto, mozzarella, & arugula.

Judging by the way they attacked that sandwich, I’d say they shared my sentiments.

We then walked across the bridge and through the streets of the city until we arrived in Piazza Navona:

They are huge Bernini fans. Can’t you see the excitement on Mike’s face?

Gelato was on their mind, and since Frigidarium was right around the corner, I treated them to a cone of their choice.

Layne doesn’t like ice cream (true story), but she sneaked a few many bites of my gelato:

I got a small cone with the classic Frigidarium flavor (chock-full of cookie chunks!) and After Dark, also known as mint, my absolute fave!

Here’s to my last gelato in, well…who knows how long!

Next up: a quick walk to the Colosseum.

We admired it at a distance because it was jam-packed:

Does this building ever not look stunning?

After we had got our gladiator-on, we walked to the Trevi Fountain,

and then on over to the Spanish Steps, which were simply gorgeous dotted with purple flowers:

Lisa & Mike chose to have a little afternoon date here:

While Layne rode it solo:

Before we left the area, I had to pet the horses, because I’m a five-year-old I love horses.

The heat, tourist-laden streets, and exhaustion of finals week were beginning to take a toll on us, so we decided to head back to campus and relax before a final group dinner.

A bunch of us decided to keep it simple (and tasty) and dine at Il Chiodo Fisso, our favorite go-to spot located a mere 10-minute walk from our school.

Layne wasted no time sneaking sips of Ali’s beer:

Could that possibly explain why she fell off the chair a few times? 😉

After Julie raved about the Chiodo pizza she had ordered the last time we dined there, I decided to try it myself:

The Chiodo is a pizza bianca, which means that, rather than featuring rosso or tomato sauce, it has no sauce at all. Sounds plain, but trust me — it was delicious to be able to actually taste the buttery-ness (yes, that’s a word) and saltiness of the crust. Along with slices of prosciutto, parmesan cheese, arugula, and tomato? Pure perfection, people!

This is one of the times I SO wished Italy “did” take-away boxes. I wanted to wrap this pizza in my arms and take it home with me. I loved it. That. Much.

Night, night Roma.

Or shall I say, ciao…’til we meet again!

And I Ask You: When dining out, are you super-adventurous with what you order (aka oxtail), or do you generally stick to the classics?


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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7 Responses to I Ate…What?!

  1. Layne says:

    Bahahahaha! This is absolutely fantastic.

  2. Allison Krueger says:

    I love your “flat Stanley’s”! We had a great last day in Roma! Miss you Anna!

  3. Fun post! I’m sad to hear you’re leaving Europe soon, but I look forward to following your state-side adventures too now.

    When dining out, I like to think I branch out and try new things. But at certain restaurants I know exactly what I want when I walk in the door and there’s no steering me away from it.

  4. MareMare says:

    I hope Layne, Lisa and Mike have as many fond memories of Roma as you do!! For YEARS, I ordered the same thing at Applebee’s — chicken fettucini alfredo. I’m into changing it up a bit more now! xxxooo

  5. Kenz says:


  6. Mike and Lisa Flanagan says:

    Nice pictures! Looks like we had fun!

  7. Pingback: Family = Craziness, Family = Love | ciaotochow

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