I’d say I’d call myself an adventurous foodie person. I like to try things..twice if I like it. Roma is no exception. One of my main goals while we were here was to try some traditional Roman food. I bought a book while I was here that has a few recipes in it about traditional Roman dishes. There’s this funny thing about Roman meats and it’s called the fifth-fourth. It’s basically talking about the parts of meat that usually makes American stomachs turn. Naturally, I wanted to try some here. It started when people would come home from a long day of physical labor and they’d be hungry and want to eat a hearty meal, but couldn’t afford a good slab of meat. To solve this, they cooked with the odds and ends that high class peeps didn’t want. These being stomachs, livers, hearts, tails..etc. So…a few of these became part of my goal. In the traditional Roman meal, there are different courses. Usually there is an appetizer, a first course usually pasta (primi piatti), a second course usually meat (secondi piatti), and dessert. Wine and water and bread are all involved in this big meal too. And there are different versions, this is just the runny one that I remember. Some of the highlighted appetizers in the book I got include a lot of fried things. There’s also a lot of anchovies in it. It’s funny..I don’t really ever remember having anchovies before I came here. Anyway…I was on a mission. I researched all different types of restaurants that I wanted to try that had some of the things that stood out, the more traditional stuff. If you’re looking for some good traditional restaurants while you’re here, I’d suggest either the Jewish Ghetto or Trastevere. Trastevere is where the one that we were looking for was. I say looking because we didn’t actually end up finding it. Which is funny, because after we left the one that we ate at, we looked left down an alley not even a block away and alas…the restaurant we were looking for. The one that we chose though was excellent. It was a little place, mostly outside, but we had to sit inside since the outside was filled..always a good sign. The walls were pink and filled with old photographs..I’m a sucker for old photographs..it’s got to be something in that black and white nostalgia. They had pictures of the Pantheon before the two towers on it were taken off. They also had a lot of weird statues around. The woman waiting on us seemed to be the owner. Busy little bee she was. She seemed to be doing it all for all of the tables there. There was also a man sitting at a desk next to us the whole time that looked exactly like an old, fat, Italian Elvis.
When the woman took our order, she suggested the mushroom ravioli, which was the special that night…I should have gotten it. It was INCREDIBLE. So, lesson learned…when the waitress suggests something good that’s a special..get it. It was in a cream sauce and it was delicious.
We decided to start with appetizers since I’ve been searching for them at different restaurants. Two things that are traditional are the fried artichokes and fried zucchini flowers. I’ve been wanting to try both, so I got one and somebody else got the other. And they were gooood. They were both like nothing that I’ve ever tasted before.
I decided to get the zucchini flowers. These are the tops of a zucchini plant…you got it..the flower. They pull them off of the zucchini and stuff them with anchovies and cheese and some other sauce stuff and then dip them in batter and fry them. I was really surprised that you couldn’t taste the anchovies so much. It reminded me a small bit of an eggroll, but not really. They were pretty darn good.
The fried artichokes were interesting as well. They were flakey on the bottom and thick at the center. I liked the center part best. They’re somewhat crunchy, but not too much. They have salt and pepper on top for flavor. Good stuff.
For the main event, I decided to be brave. I ordered Trippe della Roma. Which is tripe…sheep’s stomachs. So..the idea of eating a stomach kind of got to me. I tried to eat as much of it as I could, but it was the texture that really got me. It was like a noodle mixed with a clam. It was somewhat white and bumpy, covered in red sauce and cheese. I convinced myself that bread made it go down a little bit better. It was definitely an interesting night. I’m glad I tried it though. The thing that kept getting me was that I had stomach in my stomach. A weird thought to think. After I tried this, I was walking past a butcher’s stand and I noticed this white stuff that almost looked like flat coral or the back of a starfish..yep..that’s what was in my stomach…stomach.