Every trip needs one day of excess – too much of everything. For us, it was today.
We started off by meeting Tom, Katherine, Darren, and Misha at Malafemmena, a restaurant we like, located a few blocks from the Spanish Steps on the Via Vittorio. Our taxi driver seemed puzzled by the location, or maybe there was bad traffic near the Via Del Corso, or maybe (as is often the case) the Carabinieri had shut down some of the streets…in any case, it seemed to take forever to get there.
When we arrived, the others were waiting at the table, perusing the menus. We had already enjoyed a lunch here with Tom and Katherine, but it was a new spot for Darren and Misha. The menu is extensive, with a focus on traditional Roman dishes and seafood. Our waitress talked us into getting a bottle of red (Montepulciano) and white (Gavi), and we were off and running. David had the involtini of swordfish, while Tom and Katherine shared a lobster salad. The lobster was beautifully presented, with enough meat to feed two people as a main course. For the balance of the table, the choices were basically pasta dishes, with Amatriciana sauce. All of them were excellent. As the wine flowed, we shared laughs and recounted our various adventures of previous days.
The main courses were as good as the starters, with veal for Katherine, Saltimbocca for Tom, a risotto with langoustine for Darren and David, and pastas for the rest of us. Two more bottles of wine arrived, and our enjoyment grew. David ordered a special gelato, fruit flavors with each being served in its natural fruit, e.g. banana in a half banana, chestnut in a chestnut shell, etc. While David ordered just one, the owner sent us the entire assortment. then, as if that wasn’t enough, he sent us complimentary Lemon cello.
We staggered out the door to the street, and decided to go to the nearby Antica Enotecca, a wine bar that David had sent Darren to many years back. Great wines in a cavern-like setting. We ordered a glass of wine each from the blackboard menu, and proceeded to have a great time. The young barman joined in, helping us take pictures of our group and adding to the merriment. In due course, we went on to a second glass, with David introducing the group to a southern white wine we enjoy, Greco di Tufo. We began a text correspondence with Katherine’s kids at home, including exchanging videos with Tim and Alexis. We bounced out the door at around 5 pm, bringing our long lunch to a happy close. Darren and Misha decided to walk back to the Minerva, while the rest of us grabbed a cab.
After brief naps, we met in the Minerva lobby to determine what we wanted to do for dinner. The consensus was that we weren’t really hungry, so a light dinner would be plenty. we headed for the back of the square adjoining the Pantheon and got a table at da Fortunato, a spot where David and I had a nice meal a couple of years back. The menu had becoming a bit more formal, as was the setting and service, but the food and service turned out to be excellent – Bresaola, Caprese, artichoke Romano, etc. We decided to pass on dessert and headed two blocks further up the street to Darren’s favorite Gelato spot, sporting a 150-flavor selection. We all put together a small cup with two scoops gelato and devoured it as we walked back to the hotel.
Then, it was off to bed, as tomorrow is my (last) dialysis day which means getting up at 4:30 am. Tom and Katherine will be leaving for London I the am, and Darren and Misha will use the day to see some new sights.