That would be me, Mrs. Moglie. Married to a native Italian, Mr. Marito.
Mother to a daughter in high school, Ms. SmartyPants and a son in middle school, Mr. Uometto.
Employed at a private British School as an English teacher and Coordinator of Children's Studies.
Part of a small, but growing Protestant church in Frascati, a small town in the hills just outside of Rome.

This is where I sometimes gripe, complain and grumble about the things I dislike, have yet to get used to or simply don't understand about bella Italia.
I do, however, have many people, places and things that I dearly love and I am more than aware of being blessed by each and every one of them.
Also - a few helpful posts for visitors to Rome or for newly arrived ex pats. Check the side bar for tags. I've even some recipes that I've borrowed, tweaked or invented. One thing I've come to love about Italy is how it's changed the way I eat - slow food !! Although ... I do miss Taco Bell ... and Jack in The Box ... and KFC ... and ::sigh::
Thanks for stopping by !!

Friday, January 21, 2011

American Crime Writers, Irish Pubs and Mexican Guacamole

I recently joined a forum for expat ladies living in Italy. It's called Pink Italy, but for some reason, I keep referring to it as Pink Lady ( like the delicious apples I buy from my favorite greengrocer's at the market). After registering at the site with a nickname and then confirming my registration with a follow-up email, the next thing I did was to introduce myself in the "Who's Who" section. Within a few days I received a reply from 2 women who live in Rome, Ms. Pink (Pink Italy's creator) and Mrs. GioDaFa. After playing a bit of comment-tag for a few days, we decided to meet for lunch in Rome's center. Mrs. GioDaFa even offered to bring some books along for anyone interested. I was very interested. 

In Rome's center, you can find various bookstores catering to English speakers by carrying books, newspapers,  magazines and the like in the English language, but in my neighborhood, there just isn't a big enough demand for it. Below are two that cater entirely to literature in English, but most bookstores in the center, even the smaller businesses, will carry some selection of English material. 

Almost Corner Bookstore                                Anglo-American Book
Via del Moro 45                                                   Vie delle Vite 27 & 102
(Trastevere area)                                                (between metro stops Barberini and Piazza di Spagna)
06 5836942                                           06 6795222

Also, books in English are rather expensive here. Well, come to think of it, all books seem to be pretty pricey. Of course, I may have that opinion because I'm a fast reader and so books that are meant to be enjoyed over a few evenings in a row, huddled under a warm blanket are instead mangiati (eaten up) in one sitting, interrupted only by bathroom breaks and other such necessary evils. Most of the English language books I've read since coming to Italy have been the borrowed kind - some from friends, but mostly from the library at my workplace. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the kindhearted souls who so thoughtfully leave behind books so that cheapskates, like me, can benefit from their hard earned cash. Thank you, very much !! 

Ms. Pink, Mrs. GioDaFa along with another, Mrs. Rinaz, and I decided on a Thursday morning meet-up at Rome's Termini Station. The three of them have Thursdays free from work and/or Italian class. I, myself, would need to head back around 2 o'clock for my 4 o'clock and 5:20 lessons. I would be out all day, but with the chance to meet some fellow expats, it seemed well worth it. And it was ^.^

More after the jump, including a review of an Irish pub, The Scholar's Lounge.

From Termini, we crossed a few blocks until we came upon the roundabout at metro stop Repubblica

From  there we walked a good portion of Via Nazionale, following the downward curve of road where the ticket center for Mercati di Traiano (Markets of Trajan) can be found. Here, you can purchase tickets to see the remains of the ancient marketplace as well as tickets and passes for other museums and events. Click here for prices.

We went past the corner where Rome's Wax Museum is located and, finally, past the Vittoriano, a monument dedicated to King Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of a unified Italy.

Here you can also see the building, Palazzo di Venezia, famous, among many things, for Benito Mussolini having chosen its Sala del Mappamondo (Hall of World Maps) as his office and for many of his most prominent speeches delivered from the palace's small balcony.

We arrived at our destination, The Scholar's Lounge, an Irish pub where they offer an array of social amenities as well as lots and lots of alcohol. Their site advertises "hot food all day," "live music every week," "live sports," "11 beers on draught" and "over 200 rare whiskeys". 

Once past the front door, the first thing you notice is their bar. They weren't kidding. Lots and lots of spirits. Also plenty of wide screen monitors to show football matches.

To the right are tall round stools and even taller round tables, raised areas with more round tables and round stools and further on, traditional dining tables and chairs. Each table, as well as the bar, was littered with Guinness coasters.

The waiters and bartenders are all fluent (mother tongue) English speakers - at least, the ones we encountered were. If I'm not mistaken, I think they were Irish ^.^ go figure. They were friendly, good natured and accomodating. One quickly turned off a pair of bright orange lamps that seemed to burn through our skin - it was very warm inside, which was a welcome break from the cold outside, but the lamps generated too much concentrated heat, focused at the tops of our heads (for some) and faces (for others). The menu was varied and priced moderately. Judging by the menu, they seem to specialize in potatoes - all manner of baked and mashed and boiled potatoes with an assortment of toppings.

Mrs. GioDaFa and Ms. Pink, each had a baked potato plus a glass of beer and light cola, respectively.

Mrs. Rinaz ordered salmon and a bottle of mineral water.

While everyone else had healthy good-for-you meals, to be eaten with fork and knife ... I chose the more hearty and bad-for-you meat, cheese and chips dish, known as the Loaded Nachos. Delicious. The cheese was a little plastic-like and quickly hardened, causing me to tear tortilla chips apart with my bare hands, but it was worth the labor if only because I finally tasted cheddar. Yum. It was served with real sour cream, guacamole and (not at all) spicy salsa. My heartburn/indigestion inducing, scrumptiously greasy and fatty meal was accompanied by, none other than, my beloved coca cola. It was not difficult to guess who the only fat lazy American was. Me, of course !! YaY !!

The total came to: 47 euro - not bad at all ^.^

Despite grey skies and rain, it turned out to be a very lovely day because of the company. Conversation flowed and we all had some story or another to contribute to the dazed and confused experience of a life lived in Italy. We also had much to tell about our blessings and joys. Each of us is married to or dating a native Italian and Mrs. GioDaFa has children, a girl and a boy, exactly the same ages as my own Ms. SmartyPants and Mr. Uometto. I received an excellent forensic crime book as a gift from the gracious and lovely Mrs. GioDaFa, suggestions on where to buy second hand name brand clothes from the friendly and thoughtful Ms. Pink and a cute memento in the form of a business card from the creative and flower adorned Mrs. Rinaz

After taking our picture, the waiter said, "Now, show me tigers. Raaaaawr!" And before our brains could register the silliness or possible embarrassment of such a pose, three of us held up our little paws and growled like tigers. Only Mrs. GioDaFa had sense enough to ignore the waiter's request and simply say, "cheese".

The only negative aspect of this pub, an otherwise greatgreat place, is its bathroom. It was very smelly and didn't look too clean. But then, I don't often go to pubs, so I couldn't rate it compared to other pub bathrooms. It has a small and narrow common area with an odd trough-looking sink (Mrs. Boricua, after seeing the photo insists it looks more like a men's urinal) and two stalls - one for the gents and one for the ladies. I know I am a little sensitive and critical about bad odors, but even Ms. Pink agreed that it stank to high heaven in there. Still, I managed to tolerate it long enough to wash my Nacho cheese stained hands and even snap a few photos.

1 comment:

Franklin said...

Mmmmm.... Guinness!

Nice menu. Their breakfast though is a bit lacking. If I have a full english I expect it to include:

bangers (sausages), rashers (bacon)), baked beans, fried tomatoes, fried potatoes, toast, fried eggs (over easy), black pudding (sundae (순대) and coffee. Don't forget to leave me a bottle of brown sauce.

Have I mentioned I like your blog? Is nice! Mine, such as it is, has been revived.

Talk to ya soon. Cheers!