I spent the last four days in Rome absorbing the charm and blue skies of this magnificent city. After spending nearly a month in Europe, I have only seen the sky blue twice-- a rather difficult feat for this made-in-San-Diego chick. When I was in Rome, though, the number of blue skies experienced in Europe doubled. The weather is rather banal, so let me move onto a much more interesting topic-- the RoMAN.
I met three RoMAN archetypes. First was the night in shining armour. "You're lost? Let me help you find your way." With pearly white teeth and silver-fox handsomeness, Claudio insists on escorting us to dinner. Victoria, Aster and I, even with our silly iPhone navigation systems, had gotten lost in Trastevere's unpredictable alleys-- all a euphemism for having gotten lost. Claudio asks where each of us are from, and when Victoria says Virginia, he runs back into his house to grab a souvenir he got during his visit there. Absolutely adorable to see a silver fox skipping. When we get to our destination, Claudio introduces us to the restaurant owner Gianni and asks if we can dine. The owner says that the evening is full. However, I plead with him and ask him to serve us, "Abbiamo fame" with a few batts of the eyes. I'm sure that it was not this tom-boy's clumsy attempt to seduce to get her way that got us a table but rather a good old night-in shining armor's charm.
Gianni turned out to be our other RoMAN. He was the fatherly figure, though he did seem to play a bit of the drunken uncle at times when he started hitting on Aster. Gianni's place is not an actual restaurant: it's Gianni's living room that he turned into a dining room to host people that want to eat at his home. Very authentic Romano food. He brought us dish after dish as he sang "O sole mio" to us. By the second course, I was already full but I had to keep going because we still had two more courses. But right as we're about to enjoy course number twenty-something, a raucous group of men trickle through the door. Gianni rushes to our table to assure us that these men will not harm us-- "No avete pausa..."-- don't be scared or something of the sort. And I tell him in my broken Italian, "No, we're definitely not scared" as I complete my gaze across the table at one of the new guests.
Turns out this group of men came to celebrate Alessandro's birthday. He comes to our table and asks us to join them. I was wondering when they would finally ask us to join. The entrance of RoMAN archetype numero tre is il paggliacchio. No persuasion required to join this group of gorgeous RoMANs, especially birthday boy and his friend Federico. Thank goodness I skipped dessert because I wouldn't have had room for the limoncello and sparkling wine they brought us. These men were the laughs of our night. When I asked them if they could recommend a good place to go for drinks after, they insisted that we come out with them-- c'erto! I paggliaccci do what they do best- entertain.
Thanks Rome for reminding me: Chivalry is not dead. Home-cooking is still arguably the best. A drink with a looker is so much tastier.