Monday, February 25, 2013

3Quarti Restaurant In Rome

We ate at 3Quarti for lunch before hitting up the Vatican. A friend had visited Rome a few months before we went and highly recommended this place, so we specifically sought it out. I'm really glad we did! It was my favorite meal of the vacation, probably because they offered a little something different than the traditional Roman fare. Still pasta, but with more a Florence-style flair to it.
 3Quarti is quite the classy restaurant, but we did see other diners with babies there, so I didn't feel bad about bringing Keila in for lunch. Dinner might be another story, even though Italians in general seem to love children.
 I don't remember the exact prices for the items we ordered, but it wasn't terribly more expensive than other restaurants we'd had lunch at. I think we ordered one less appetizer than usual and the bill was about the same as the days before? Plus we were definitely satisfied with our meal: full yet not stuffed.
 To start off, we ordered a smoked tuna carpaccio with avocado, and the namesake 3Quarti (in our case, the mixed seafood ones). The menu describes the 3Quarti as such:  'Our specialty: 3Quarti, three small buns realized from the dough of the pizza, manually stretched after 12 hours rising then browned with Italian extra virgin olive’s oil, natural or filled with some of our delicacies…'
Sound delicious? They were! Basically, they were just little warm buns full of whatever stuffing you chose...but they were really, really good little buns!
 After stuffing ourselves full of appetizers, we decided to split a grilled chicken salad and a dish of spaghetti with sea bass, pumpkin flowers, and botargo.  The chicken salad was good, but just a simple chicken salad. After all the heavy fare we'd been eating, simplicity was much appreciated, however! And the spaghetti....oh, the spaghetti. I don't know if it was the botargo or the pumpkin flower (or the sea bass) that made this dish, or maybe the combination along with perfectly al dente spaghetti, but it was superb! Most of the dishes that we ate in Rome were good but nothing memorable...this spaghetti alone would make me go back to 3Quarti. It was that tasty.
 Besides the food, service was also exceptional and our waitress spoke very good English. The restaurant is quite modern looking and much more spacious than you'd imagine from the outside. It filled up pretty quickly after we arrived however, and we were at the door waiting just before 12:30! I have the feeling that it gets much more crowded for dinner, too. 
 If you're planning on hitting up the Vatican in the afternoon, make sure to lunch at 3Quarti first. Or hit it up after a morning of the craziness in the museums, as did some fellow Americans at the table next to us. Whatever the case, just make sure you go. And eat some of that spaghetti for me. 
Via Attilio Regolo 21, 00192 Rome, Italy 

                           The bar at 3Quarti

   Part of the dining room at 3Quarti

The famous 3Quarti (at 3Quarti!)

Tuna carpaccio at 3Quarti

Amazing spaghetti with sea bass, pumpkin flowers, and botargo at 3Quarti

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Taverna Romana in Rome, Italy

  If anyone tries to tell you that there are no decent restaurants near the Colosseum, don't believe them. Taverna Romana is at most a 10 minute walk from the big tourist site. (I'm not  by any means knocking the Colosseum, it was one of my favorite places in Rome, and I will hopefully post about it at some point this month. That being said, it IS ridiculously swamped with tourists at any given time of day).
 But, on to Taverna Romana. I did a quick search for good restaurants the morning of our Colosseum visit, and Taverna Romana popped up as having consistently fair home-style pasta and meat dishes. So we made a beeline for it around 12:30. Taverna Romana is a fairly small restaurant, so I'm glad we got there early-ish, as it filled up quickly and the staff were turning people away (mostly Italians) by the time we were halfway through our lunch.
 Service was pretty good; one waitress was very speedy while the other one....not so much. Nobody spoke a ton of English but we didn't have a problem ordering or getting our questions answered. Seeing as I'm not really a big meat eater, we decided to forgo the lamb and beef choices. We instead ordered the spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams), spaghetti alle carbonara (not my choice), and a side of meatballs for Keila. The meatballs were decent but overpriced in my opinion--something like 8 euros and not a very big plate, either. Adding to the insult, of course Keila decided to turn her nose up at them and only ate noodles. Sigh.
 The vongole was quite good but not the best I've ever had. Food in Florence has apparently spoiled me for life. I didn't have more than a bite of the carbonara but it was ok: too cheesy for my liking, but not awful. The noodles were quite good in both pasta dishes, however. Basically, imagine authentic homestyle Roman cooking, and you'll get Taverna Romana. As I said...not the absolute best ever, but pretty darn decent if you like food from Mom's kitchen.
 Finally, dessert was tiramisu. I was disappointed in it unfortunately. We were so indifferent to it that I don't think we even finished the one bowl we were splitting. Meh.
 Overall score for Taverna Romana: 6.5 or 7 out of 10. If you're in the area, it's worth heading to. Especially if you want to experience an authentic Roman family-style restaurant. Just don't bother with the tiramisu.

Taverna Romana
 Via della Madonna dei Monti, 79, 00184
Rome, Italy

                 Spaghetti alle vongole at Taverna Romana in Rome

                    Spaghetti alle carbonara at Taverna Romana

             The rather disappointing tiramisu at Taverna Romana 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Keila's Belated 27 Month Update

  Because I've been battling a lovely influenza virus that just doesn't know when to give up, I completely forgot to post Keila's monthly update on Wednesday. Going to bed before 9 pm didn't leave much time for typing, anyway. Sorry about the oversight, and please excuse any typos below!!

1. Keila's vocabulary is still advancing rapidly, but mostly in English (have I mentioned that before?). Daddy tried talking to her completely in Japanese a few days ago, and she rather obviously didn't understand everything. We'll have to get her picture books out and start naming animals and objects more often. Full sentences are becoming more and more prominent, even if they're not always correct. One of her favorites is 'I want to want it!', meaning 'I want to do it'. Keila can also remember song verses pretty well and even corrected Daddy the other day when he didn't get Twinkle Twinkle Little Star completely right. =)
2. Keila's teeth are just about completely in! That final molar made an appearance a couple of days after last month's update, and it's probably 75% through now. What am I going to blame naughty behavior on after she's done teething, though??
3. Sleep! Well, I don't know when it happened, and it's still not 100% consistent, but at some point during the past month Keila started sleeping through the night. I'm putting her to bed closer to 7:30 or 8 to make sure she sleeps until at least 6. Really praying I'm not jinxing myself by even mentioning how well she's doing with sleep. Now if only Daddy could ever leave work before midnight, and maybe we'd all be rested! 
4. What else has Keila been up to lately? (Mommy's brain is still somewhat fuzzy from aforementioned flu battle). Play-Doh is big on her list right now, and she loves making little animals or cakes and ice cream with it. Hiding under the covers or hiding things in Mom and Dad's bed is great too: last week I woke up to a multicolored pillowcase (and face), only to discover a deflated, drawn-on balloon inside my pillow. How did that get there??
 Keila is really into doing all kinds of crafts, too. She likes gluing pieces of paper, coloring, the usual. Oh, and dancing is also back on her hot list. Turn on a song she likes, and the girl will dance!
5. No actual story for this update...but....some potential good news! Keila had her annual allergy exam on Wednesday, which Yuki took her too since I was too ill to be of any use. I was completely expecting that they'd just verify her peanut allergy and maybe do a pineapple taste test to see if she'd grown out of it. But....the skin test for peanuts came out NEGATIVE!!! Keila has yet to taste any peanut butter/products and won't until another follow up with the clinic, but pray that she really has outgrown it! We also go the go-ahead to let her try pineapple, but seeing as she'd been denied it for so long, whenever I try to give her a piece, she yells 'No like it!' and refuses. I may have to sneak it into a smoothie or something and hope for the best.
 6. Keila has regained the weight lost from food poisoning (she's well over 13 kg now) and is shooting up like a weed. I haven't measured her lately but will do so today if she lets me.
 Until March (and I do promise to get some more Rome posts in before her next update, in case you were wondering)....