Roman snapshots

As you probably know by now, Rome is one of my 3 favorite cities in the world (together with NYC and Copenhagen). We spent a nice summer weekend there a few weeks ago - as you may see in this post, this other one and also this one.
Here are some other random pictures from our weekend in the eternal city.

Fiat 500

house covered in plants near Piazza Navona

Ruins near the ghetto

Kosher restaurant in the ghetto (the one where Mark Zuckerberg ate)

Roman alley

Turtle Fountain in Piazza Mattei

detail of a turtle, probably added by Bernini in 1659.

St. John of the Florentines church

Castel Sant'Angelo (Mausoleum of Hadrian)


Bresaola rolls

11 years ago, when I moved to Italy, I had never heard of Bresaola before, so it was one of the best discoveries of my Italian life (together with pasta allo scoglio, supplì, panna cotta, etc. etc.). For those of you who don't know what it is, bresaola is a spiced, air-dried beef (not pork) originated in Valtellina, a valley in Northern Italy. It is tender, delicate and delicious. And it's great for your salads, sandwiches and appetizers, as the one I'm sharing with you today. In the summer, when it's so warm and you don't feel like cooking, this super-easy rolls are the best option.


Piazza Navona, Rome

For me, the world's most beautiful square is Piazza Navona, in Rome. I don't know why but from the moment I saw it many years ago, I loved it and everytime I come to Rome I try to visit it.
It was built over the ruins of the Circus Agonalis, a long, rectangular stadium build by Domitian to celebrate the Greek athletic games. In the 15th Century, the city market was transfered here giving the square its festive and live atmosphere. In 1647 Pope Innocent X commisioned the construction of a fountain in the centre of the square to the architect Borromini (who many years later built the church of Saint Agnes, in front of the fountain) but the Pope then commissioned it to Gian Lorenzo Bernini, after seeing a small silver model of his project.


Autumn colors

I've been hunting for nice summer clothes on the sales these days but the new colors are already in the shops... It makes me sweat only seeing those jackets and dark colors, and I know it will get worse in august because the windows in the shops will tell me that summer is over...
There's nothing I can do about it so I started my research on the next season's colors and styles. I must say that after a spring-summer filled with neons and pastels, I was expecting something a bit more colorful or at least less heavy, but you know what happens with fashion, when you see some new trend for the first time you don't like it but then you end up loving it (at least that's what happens with me :))
Anyhow, next season's trends are dark colors (grey, bordeaux, dark green, navy, etc.), the occasional pale pink and lots of textures: houndstooth (pied de poule), tweed, photo prints, snakeskins, chunky fabrics, all-over prints, etc.
Guess I'd better start updating my closet!


Flavio al Velavevodetto

When we decided to go to Rome for a weekend, the first place that came to my mind, being the foodie I am, was Sora Margherita, you know how much I love that place, so when I called a couple of weeks in advance and heard from them that they close on summer weekends I was so sad (I know these are not real tragedies, but these are a foodie's tragedies). So the quest for the new Roman restaurant offering tripe was on. By that time I didn't know Eataly was about to open and that they had a Roman Osteria with tripe as the special of the day.


Abitart Hotel, Rome

Everytime I'm planing a trip to Rome I get a bit concerned because of the hotels... I don't like hostels and I would love to stay in the best hotel in town but the price is always important. We've come to an average budget of 100 - 130 euros per night per room for an European 4 star hotel (thanks to advance booking and good deals on travel websites we've always been lucky). Unfortunately in Rome, these budgets are never good. Like many other European capitals (London, Paris, etc.), Roman hotels are expensive. And most of the times you pay lots to get bad service, rundown structures and bad locations.


Defending pasta

How many times have you heard the following phrases?:

- "When I went to Italy I gained lots of weight because of the pasta"
- "No pasta for me, I'm on a diet"
- "Pasta makes you fat"
- "How can you live in Italy and eat all that pasta and not gain weight?"

Well, I've heard them lots of times and now it's time to defend my first Italian love, the healthy and delicious pasta, from all the nonsense. (the last question is obviously not true because I have gained some weight, but it's not pasta's fault)


Aventine, Rome

As you know, we visited Rome last month. It was a really hot summer weekend. After visiting Eataly, we headed to visit the Aventine hill, an area in which we had never been before. So we took a bus from our hotel that dropped us at the foot of the hill, next to the Tevere river.



It's been so hot on Milan these days! And to be honest, I don't hate it, I mean, yes it's bad to jump on the subway and get all those funny (bad) smells and the sensation that the asphalt is melting under your heels is not a pretty one but, I'm a summer person, and I love summer clothes and sun and bright light so I can get past all those things to have a sunny warm summer.
And I happen to know a great dish to make a hot summer day a bit more bearable, it's called Salmorejo, it's a cold soup and it comes from Spain, Andalucia, to be more specific. It's like the more famous Gazpacho but it's lighter since it has less vegetables in it (gazpacho contains also cucumber, peppers and onion). And since salmorejo is thicker (due to the bread in it) it can also be used as a sauce.
It has a very antique tradition, and actually a nice story for us Hispanic-Mexicans because, even if it is a 100% Spanish dish, it has a bit of Mexico in its history. I'll tell you why: salmorejo was prepared in Spain since ancient times by mincing bread and mixing it with vinegar, but it was a white 'dish', since tomatoes didn't exist in Europe. It was after the discovery and Conquest of America that they were brought to Spain. Among the conquerors, there was an eyewitness called Bernal Diaz del Castillo who later wrote all about their trip and their findings in the New World, and he described that the natives used tomatoes to prepare a sauce that was similar to their 'white salmorejo'. So, after they brought the this vegetable with them, tomatoes were accepted widely in Spanish kitchen and also introduced to the salmorejo. Here's the way I prepare it:


Ingredients (serves 4):


Cupcake Maker

I never told you but when we visited Dubai we got a great thing: the Lakeland cupcake maker!
You might remember my newly found passion for baking cupcakes, well, this nice item makes it a bit easier: it doesn't actually mix all ingredients  for you (that would be really easy right?), it just bakes them, so as soon as you have your mixture ready, you turn it on, line the cupcake papers and pour the mixture, then you close the lid and let them bake for about 15-20 minutes, then you can open it and see if they're ready (with a toothpick), otherwise you can close the lid again and let them bake for some more minutes. Then you still have to prepare the frosting and decorate them but that's the fun part. What I like about the cupcake maker is that, since I'm not very skilled with baking or using the oven, I used to burn the top of the cupcakes but with the cupcake maker I don't have to worry about that! It also comes with a nice recipe booklet.


Italo, competition has arrived

Since the end of April 2012, Trenitalia, the Italian State-owned railways, were introduced to their competitors: Italo, the new high-speed railway company owned by a group of Italian entrepreneurs, leaded by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Ferrari's president.