Monday, April 21, 2014

Where to Eat in Rome

When Bill and I travel, lunch is our main meal of the day. We prefer inexpensive, family-run restaurants. May we recommend a litre of wine and a bottle of bubbly water with your meal? Follow with a siesta, in the Italian fashion. Then you can get up late in the afternoon, put on your best clothes, and go for a stroll in the evening as the Romans do.

The best place we ate in Rome was Da Gino (Trattoria dal Cavalier Gino). Now the catch is that it is very popular with locals so you must make a reservation.
A reservation is worth the trouble. So plan ahead. You won't regret it.
Gino has just brought us this trimmed artichoke.
Da Gino is in a tiny alley (vicolo) -- Vicolo Rosini 4, across from the Piazza del Parliamento It is just off Via di Campo Marzio which runs parallel to Via del Corso. Phone: +39 06 6873434.

Another family-run trattoria in the historic centre is the Enoteca Corsi, Via del Gesu, 87/88. Phone +39 06 679 0821. Another very popular spot so don't be late.

Claudia, daughter of the owner, was always very welcoming.
She is also the pastry chef.

Dal Pollarolo is at Via di Ripetta 4/5, very near to the Piazza del Popolo. We had many delicious meals here.
Staff, as is typical in Rome, are warmly welcoming.
And the food is uniformly divine. Here's a pumpkin risotto.

One more general restaurant recommendation. This one is in the Jewish Ghetto.
You'll find Sora Margherita behind this unmarked door at Piazza della Cinque Scuole, 30. The food is indescribable.
Here I've broken into a deep-fried zucchini flower to show you the cheese and anchovy stuffing.

We'll close with two recommendations for pizza, both inexpensive. Pizzeria al Leoncino is not far from Da Gino just up the street at  Via di Leoncino, 28.
La Signora (the lady) is not one for small talk but your appetite is in good hands.
This is Bill's Primavera pizza with tomatoes and fresh basil.

Our other favourite pizza spot is
Pizzeria La Montecarlo at Vicolo Savelli, 13. If you sit indoors expect a noisy environment with the waiters rushing by. It's a real show!
Outdoors is a little more serene. Staff will  not keep you waiting.
The crust is thin and the toppings delicious; true Roman pizza.

Let's end with a serving of gelato. One of the oldest and most trusted places is Giolitti at Via degli Uffuci del Vicario 40 very near to the Piazza di Montecitorio.
You'll find Roman's lining up there every afternoon and evening.
The expression on Bill's face is a direct transcription of the intense flavours of mango and lemon. Buon appetito!

Remember that the fountains of Rome flow with clean water. So do as the Romans do -- stop anytime to wash your hands, rinse your face or grab a sip of water. 

Twister: Lynne McIlvride Studio Visit

Our friend Shelley Savor invited Bill and I to visit her friend Lynne McIlvride's Easter Art Show. McIlvride lives just outside Uxbridge, north of Toronto.
 It was an overcast spring morning with a hint of rain.
 Bright colours -- this must be the place.
 We were impressed by McIlvride's new studio
Lots of light and room inside.
McIlvride is well known for her brightly-coloured watercolour landscapes like this one. 
Neighbours Judith and Viktor Tinkl on the left. 
Bill on the right. 
Most recently, McIlvride has been creating a series of tornadoes. Here's A Disaster Waiting to Happen.
A Disaster Waiting to Happen (detail).
 Always nice to see pencil titles on plaster.
Turn, Turn, Turn
Turn, Turn, Turn (detail) 
Lynne McIlvride and Shelley Savor with ceiling twisters. Look for Lynne's work at this year's Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in July.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Songs for Lent at College Street United Church

Last weekend Bill and I went to hear our friend the mezzo-soprano, Lee Ramsay, at the College Street United Church.
She was there with three other singers for Lacrimosa, their program of Lenten songs.
The light coming through the stained glass windows and the wonderful acoustics make this church an intimate gem. I was transfixed by Lee's opening duet with soprano Maria Case. Forgot to pull my camera out. Bill pulled out his camera in time to catch Lee's first solo.
Lee Ramsay singing Pergolesi's "Fac, ut porter Christi mortem"  (May I bear Christ's death).
Ramsay and tenor Keenan Viau singing "Et misericordia" from Bach's Magnificat.
Bass, Domenico Sanfilippo, singing "The people that walked in darkness" from Handel's Messiah. The line "Upon them hath the light shined" was particularly apt in this light-filled space.
Viau and Sanfilippo singing Mendelssohn's "For So Hath the Lord" from St. Paul.
Maria Case, Ramsay, Viau and Sanfilippo concluded with one last song by Mendelssohn, a rousing "O come, every one that thirsteth".
We applauded the fine pianist, Erika Reiman, as the beautiful spring day beckoned. Bill and I reflect on the joy of live music on a Sunday afternoon.