As mentioned on my other blog, I had a few hours of me-time or more like alone-time walking about in Rome. I braved the crowded streets, took photos of important landmarks, fed my senses with everything Roman. I met people here and there, most of them were tourists too and oh how I love meeting people from all walks of life! We engaged in bits of discussions before going about our businesses – being tourists.
No, I don’t really want to bombard this post with lots of photos so here’s a few. Outside the Vatican was this genius of a musician/street performer. His sign reads “I need money to fix my time machine and go back to the 50’s” – he was playing Elvis! I of course put in some money and noticed as I took a photo that he looks like Johnny Depp! 😛
I walked around a bit more, shopped a bit and afterwards felt the pangs of hunger and left with a phone almost battery-dead. I ended up at one of Rome’s longer streets, Viale Giulio Cesare, with a mission: find a decent restaurant where I can charge my phone, lol. The train station Ottaviano is in that particular street, it’s where you get off in case you want to visit the Vatican.
Like the previous trips, I wasn’t able to research on the best restaurant in Rome to dine in – all Italian cities we visited actually. It was a matter of walking in and hoping for the best. They say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do – so literally being in Rome, I say; eat what their region is most famous for!
Pasta remains to be one of the foremost constituents in Roman cuisine, I bet the whole of Italy too! Some of the listed famous sauces would be carbonara, Alfredo, cacio e pepe, amatriciana, and gricia. I was only familiar with the first three. There are 6,719 restaurants listed on Tripadvisor and what are the chances that I will not get to dine in one that is at the bottom of the list?
Thank goodness I didn’t! Just across the train station is a trattoria called Pastarella. Trattorias in Italy are an eating establishment less formal than a restaurant, serving mostly local fare and where wine is sold by the decanter not by bottle. Pastarella has tables outside for those who prefer dining al fresco but because I wanted to charge my phone I chose a seat near an electric socket. I was facing the doors and so I can do what I enjoy most: people-watching. ^_^ Above photo shows empty tables coz the customers where mostly outside save for a couple on my other side. (Can’t really go paparazzi there no?)
So came a rather serious-looking server. Handed me the menu and I looked it up, searching for something not so familiar. There’s carbonara, of course, and there’s gricia. The description shows them almost having the same ingredients so I was prompted to ask what’s the difference. He graciously replied (we were conversing in English), carbonara is cooked with eggs while gricia is cooked with cream! Then and there I felt embarrassed, how could I forget? I’ve always said in my recipe blog that carbonara is not cooked with cream. – Click here.- Searching now, I can’t find a reference to gricia having cream so I might have heard wrong (lol). Though I’d say that carbonara is creamier because of the egg.
I forgot which type of pasta was this but it did go well with everything. (Edit: found a photo on my instagram feed with the caption: bombolotti alla gricia. 😀 ) If I’m not mistaken, the sauce has jowl bacon – probably cooked the same way as carbonara with olive oil, pepper and pecorino Romano cheese. You do know by now, as I state that in every post that I’m no big eater and I’m also slow to chew so when the server saw that I still have a lot on my plate, he asked if the food is good- in a serious tone. I just smiled and nodded, it was really good – I might be slow for savoring the flavors though, haha. I sometimes hope though that there’s more space for dessert. 🙁
When he passed by again I motioned for the bill, there’s still some pasta so he asked if I’m sure that I’m done. I nodded again. He came back with my bill and asked where I’m from. Unsure how to answer I said ‘I’m from the Philippines but I live in Vienna now.’ He suddenly said “kumusta ka?” (How are you?) and smiled to my surprise. Turns out he’s not so serious after all. He also asked me “Alles klar?” (All okay?) which sent me laughing because of a perfect German diction. And aside from Italian, he also speaks French. Later on in the conversation when he learned my name, he spoke in French, my name being one. And I totally don’t know what it means – probably “your name is French” was what he said. I then asked how I could get to the Pantheon and he gave me directions.
I left with a happy tummy, a cheerful aura and a phone with its battery half-full.
Trattoria – Pizzeria – Braceria
Viale Giulio Cesare, 64-66-68
Info line +39 063701135
That guy does look like J. Depp! Haha. Love this post.. I felt like I was walking and eating with you. Love the detailed “kwento,” sis! 🙂
Oh, the joy of travelling alone and do what the locals do. But I haven’t tried that myself, hopefully in the near future. If only dreaming could mean travelling physically as well, I would have been to Greece by now, remember my dream? Hahaha! The street performer does look like Fafa Depp. Hay, dapat may picture din with him haha! You have to go back lol! But I’m more interested in the food, I only know of carbonara and alfredo in those you mentioned.
Yeah, that guy really looks like Johnny.. That post in the guitar case made me smile, i wanna say “please tag me along” ha ha…
But, wow! that was a great time exploring rome all by yourself. I mean if you really a traveller, travelling alone does not matter because that’s what you love doing.. 🙂 and after the long walk, everything ends with satiating your tummy. Those carbonara made me drool..he he, that’s my favorite too 🙂
I see I’ve been “here” before. Haha! :p I did not notice that Colosseo in my first visit. It’s definitely one structure I’d love to see someday!
My MIL came here in summer and they had so many pictures, I asked, was there ever a time that you stood all alone and just watched people? She said no, they were busy taking pictures, they’ve missed one the most important thing to do in Rome, chillaxing like the Romans. hihihi
Wish I could go to this eternal city one day and eat the same pasta as youve eaten hahhah #feelinginggit
I hear many good things about Italy and I love to visit one day but I guess it would take for a while since husband just stayed there for 5 years and he doesn’t want to go back there until our little one is grown up.
Nova S says
Very lucky of you to have such the time and opportunity to tour around Rome, lovely place to visit, there are plenty of historic spots to learn. That pasta looks great.
exploring a city could be as much fun alone, right? love your travelogue and gives me confidence to be able to do this someday just by myself too. i probably would have to explore this place all by myself since hubby has been here and in most places around, and now he is not as interested with civilized tour and prefers nature trips. since cities are safer to explore alone, I am, confident i could travel here without asking hubby to sacrifice his time, only that, often, I always find myself wanting more to see nature wonderlands too, and always tell myself i probably will find myself here when i am not as physically active anymore to hike and climb mountains.
In my bucket list is Rome and hopefully, I’d be able to set foot in this place someday, and if ever that day comes, I’ll refer to your post, and hopefully, that basker is still there and I’ll give him some bucks! lol! He does look like Captain Jack Sparrow! I’d be lost if I travel alone, by the way! 🙂
Chubskulit Rose says
I love that sign that the musician used.
Wow! wallnig around St. Peter’s square, galing mo sis. Itsaly in particulat Rome offers much nostalgic and romantic places for visitors to see. I love pasta and it would be great if I can savor the original Italian pasta.
Channel Imperial says
I agree. He does look like Johnny Depp.
I immensely enjoyed the virtual tour! In this lifetime I may never see this place in person.. .unless I could own a time machine too! 🙂
the pasta looks delicious. I love shopping alone but I don’t think I can roam around a big city alone but it’s an adventure for sure.
Rome is one of my favorite cities. I’ve seen plenty of beautiful places around there. And all the foods i’ve tasted were superb.
You sound like me when you said you need to hunt for a restaurant to charge up your phone. Hahaha!
I wish I could visit Rome, too. I am aware it’s not gonna be too soon though 🙂
I can’t stop admiring your adventurous nature. I wish I could travel by my lonesome too. Who knows, one day I could brave the same thing 🙂
Geez! The guy is just so gwapo!!! And I agree, he looks like Johnny Depp! 🙂
Oh Rome, I hope you wouldn’t just be a dream destination to me. <3
I have fascination with Italian and Spanish cuisines. Perhaps, it’s because of my heritage as part Basque, Spanish with Mediterranean features.
And I’m intrigued about your server. Is he a Filipino?
Hi! Nope, he’s Italian. I bet he has Filipino friends to have learned a bit of Tagalog…
riz tomacruz says
so the server’s not Filipino -he must be damned a good linguist 🙂
as for the carbonara, a lot of people here too says it’s cream that’s what’s in carbonara. and, the egg’s the reason too why i am not so fond of that recipe. i’m more of the cream-type pasta sauces -a la alfredo et al
You’re right, he does have some resemblance with Johnny Depp. 🙂
Rome must be such a beautiful place to explore. Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.
Pepper Tan says
You know what they say… When in Rome… eat with a Johnny Depp look alike! 🙂 I’d give my left arm to roam Rome… It wouldn’t hurt to have someone as good looking as him by my side.