I’m not exactly proud of it, but we found ourselves back at Rossopomodoro for lunch. I know, it’s almost sacrilege to return to a place that might even be a distant cousin of Applebee’s in its ethos, but it was a pretty simple equation on this day – it was hot as fuck out there, and they were the closest place that had indoor seating with air conditioning. Any thought given to sticking to alfresco dining despite the temperatures tipping 90 degrees were quickly silenced by the faces of the souls we walked past in the Jewish Ghetto who had made such a decision. The grimaced expressions and foreheads beaded with sweat did not effuse “relaxing lunch.”
However, I’m glad we went back. I can explain why in two words – fried pizza. Yes, fried pizza. Now, I’m pretty sure that I would need five digits to accurately count the calories in this thing, and it probably took about four months off my life span, but it may have been worth it.
Scanning the dozens of pizza types on the menu, I couldn’t help but skip ahead to the one at the bottom that sat alone under a heading of “Fried.” I mean, how can you not try that? I assumed it was probably something akin to a calzone, and the menu listing was more of a translation error than the promise of something different.
Oh no. This was a pizza folded in half, and fried at some point in the cooking process. Don’t know how they did it – don’t care. It was amazeballs. Imagine something that had the sweet fried taste of an eggroll shell, only it’s soft and chewy, and it’s a fucking pizza. This was one of those dining situations where you’re full about 65% of the way through it, but you keep telling yourself “I can’t stop. I mean, it’s too good. Who knows when I will get to do this again? I can’t take that chance.”
Anyway, after lunch EZ and I parted ways; she went out to explore the wonder and joy of Rome without someone next to her making double entendre sex jokes and suggesting “we should totally stop for gelato here” every seven minutes. Hopefully she still found a way to enjoy it. I had to, alas, spend a good portion of the day in the flat writing. Was it a result of my dedication to my craft or the presence of air conditioning? How dare you question my passion. How dare you, I say.
As dusk approached we hopped on a bus and headed to Villa Borghese, which is somewhat the Central Park of Rome. It houses an excellent sculpture museum, but it was closed at this hour, unfortunately. We strolled leisurely and directionless for the better part of an hour, stopping only for some liquid refreshment and a few snapshots.
From there, we walked down the Spanish Steps, aka The World’s Most Overrated Tourist Attraction. Seriously – they suck. It’s a staircase. Kind of ornate. Left to its own devices it might be a charming place to settle for a few minutes, but when you add a hundred or so drunk and/or annoying tourists making a minefield of the descent, only to reach a gaggle of shady characters shoving flowers for sale in your face when you reach the bottom, well, it becomes a little less than.
Before heading home for the night, we stopped for dinner at Hamasei, a Japanese restaurant with an excellent sushi selection. I couldn’t hide my ugly ethnocentrism when the Japanese hostess, and then three consecutive Japanese waitresses, could not speak to us in anything other than Japanese or Italian. I whispered to EZ, “really? They just skipped over English and went straight to Italian from Japanese?” Where I was cranky, EZ was just surprised, given that she’s essentially a walking Rosetta Stone and is not used to being in a situation where none of her four fluent languages are applicable.
Bellies full of assorted raw and cooked goodness, we took a lazy serpentine path back home through the core of Rome. We stopped for – you guessed it – gelato and sat by the Pantheon for some people-watching before calling it a night.