Parents: A Welcome Sight
Posted by Andy Steves in on September 15, 2010.
About a month into my study-abroad experience, my family came to visit me. For a college student, seeing your parents has many benefits: one, it's great to be back with family again, but also it means a break from budget eating. I was about to have some of the finest dining experiences of my life that week night after night.
On Monday after class I met up with my family (mom, dad, and sister Jackie) at Campo dei Fiori to have dinner with them and a local tour guide and a hotel owner listed in my dad’s guidebook. For what Sean, an elfish 29-year-old Irish owner of a tour company in Rome, lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in his gift of gab and personality. He is never without a hilarious story to tell, or a fascinating insider’s tale of the movie industry. At 19, he started doing odd jobs with films in Africa, at first behind the scenes, then as an extra. And now, he’s been all over the world working in short films or documentaries and loves to recount his experiences. That night we tried a variety of cheeses with honey and a fine red wine as an appetizer. I used to hate that sort of thing, but I think the “old-people taste” that I dreaded as a child is sneaking up on me. After that, we barely had room for some simple but really good pastas before we headed out for a night walk.
The next night, we met up with a group of my friends at a classy mozzarella bar called Obika. There, they take the science of Mozzarella di Buffala seriously. Their cheeses are brought in daily from the buffalo farms around the region, explained our waiter, as he pointed out each town on the map that was our tablemat. We started out with three huge hunks of the stuff on a bed of ruccola, cherry tomatoes, and a pesto sauce. One cheese was regular, the other smoked, and another aged. I was a fan of the first--I tend to like whatever I’m consuming the least altered as possible, whether mozzarella, espresso or Jameson. The next course was pasta with a bit of mozz incorporated in there somehow, I forget. The desert was a delicious mix of chocolate cakes and puddings. So good.
The next night, on Wednesday, I was planning to meet up with my parents in the historic center. I was just walking out of class when I got a call from my dad telling me to invite a few friends. By the time I stepped out of the school’s gate, we were a posse of 10 heading towards the Pantheon. We reached my parents’ hotel and hung out in the lobby as my sister finished her hair. When the "princess" was ready, we made our way to a place called Sacro e Profano, a pizzeria near the Trevi Fountain. In this place, they make the pizzas in a wood-burning oven right in front of you. The name means the sacred and the profane which references how the place used to be a church turned brothel. If diners look closely, they’ll notice the semi-appropriate (both sacred and profane) paintings on the walls. With 14 of us at the table and 14 pizzas on their menu, we just ordered one of each and asked them to come one at a time with 14 slices. It was a fun, 14-course pizza meal as we literally ate our way through their menu and washed everything down with good wine. It seemed like my dad relished the chance to keep us all drinking that wine. I don’t think any of us will forget the evening.
My WSA experience was incredible. It was very well-organized, and my tour guide made me feel right at home. I always felt safe, which was important to me. We got to see so much in a short amount of time, but it didn't feel rushed. I was very impressed!Katie Barglowski, University of Northern Colorado ~ St. Patrick's College, Dublin, Fall 2015
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