Sunday, February 10, 2008

Piazza della Repubblica...

Sister Veronica and I had a marvelous adventure yesterday. We took the train to Saint Peter's to visit some church goods shops and
then....THEN...we boarded bus #64. This is the infamous cross-town route where strangers become rapidly aquainted in a crowded mass of bodies. The stories we've heard about this particular route make some visiting sisters blush and others ready to defend their personal space. The bus, at that hour of the morning, was full when we left the station. I kept one had on the strap of my bag, the other on the handrail, and closed my eyes. Nothing happened! Nothing. Not a bump or a learing stare or even the dreaded pinch. Sister Veronica sensed my disappointment and offered to pinch me. I declined. It's good to have sisters...

We investigated two international bookstores in the Piazza della Republica - a grand, ancient piazza that is home to the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. We window-shopped and even wandered in to a couple of stores. Then, we made our way to the Quirinal neighborhood for lunch. Although there were many lovely trattorias on our route, I had a plan (BIG surprise!) [My Dear Old Dad was a research analyst for 40 years. It's no wonder that I love to research everything - especially restaurants!)

Antica Birrea Peroni is a landmark among native Romans. It was opened in 1909 and continues to serve hearty local fare and Peroni beer to regulars and tourists who wander off the main drag into its ancient environs. We had to wait for a table - quite normal at the lunch hour on a Saturday. Once we were seated we could finally see the scope of the place. There were at least two large rooms filled with tables that were so close, you could make some new friends.

It was bustling with activity...waiters swooshing by....weilding trays of beer in tall, glass steins...serving plates of goulash and gnocchi. I nearly swooned. To make a short story long takes no effort on my part when the subject is the table. So, I will control my urge to wax poetic and say that we had a wonderful meal - Italian steak with fries, cold beer and good house wine. We were both longing for some red meat. This was DEFINITLEY the right place to come. Before I close Sister Veronica and I want to thank our friends whose generosity made this second special meal possible. We prayed you a blessing in our table grace. I have plenty to write about in my food journal now...and wonderful memories to revisit...and few new tricks to try in the monastery kitchen!

Blessings and love to you all... - Sister Vicki