Rome: Day 4 – Of friends and rain and hammer handles and ox tails

“But Father! But Father!”, I can hear most of you saying. “We don’t care about no stickin’ Collect for Low Sunday and infants, blah blah blah. You are in Rome! What did you eat?”

First allow me to say that the weather slowed us down a little today which, for my part, was welcome.

Lunch comprised a couple of really good pizzas at the hotel.  I was surprised at how good they were.


Supper, however, took place after I said Mass at SS. Ternità dei Pellegrini and then Vespers.

I was delighted that my old friend Gregory DiPippo, whom you know from NLM, could join us.

Three of the wines with which we began.


I am on the hunt for the best carbonara.  Just when I think I am getting a good grasp on it, the terrain changes under foot.


Frankly, our cab driver tonight used to own a big restaurant near Cinecittà (no longer… divorce, messy… he’s happier driving a cab).  He gave me pointers about where to eat and I believed him.  He even invited us to his house for the best carbonara in Rome.  We shall see.  It could be a blast.

Then I had Coda alla vaccinara.


It’s a lot of work, but it is good.  I think they overdid the celery, but… hey… when you can marry it with a swallow of Tignanello….


“How did you find such a taxi driver?”, you ask?

Well.  When we were done with supper it was raining, mica a gnagnarella but pitchforks and hammer handles.  We called for a cab.  Zippo.   So, we set out from the Piazza della Quercia (good restaurant) to the closest stand I know near the Campo de’ Fiori.  We needed a cab for five.

Lo and behold, as we rounded the corner leaving the Campo, I spy a driver getting back into his large cab with a big sandwich!

“Eu!” quoth I, “Ammazza!”  We piled in and, after he disparaged our restaurant and invited us to his house for the best carbonara in Rome, he started making some good restaurant suggestions.  He gave me his card and I intend to call him.

Now, finally, for fun (in Latin animi caussa… yes, two ‘s’s), a little bag of sugar.


I just barely resisted having rabbit tonight.

Did I mention that at Vespers at SS Ternità there were a couple who reads this blog?  Two couples!  One from Ireland (County Down… would that it had been on an evening in July) and one from Texas.  What a great thing it is to meet people this way!

Tomorrow I have a visit to some of the workshops of the Vatican Museums.

Happy Low Sunday.

Happy day of celebration for my ordaining bishop:

SAINT John Paul II!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ox Tails. wish we could find them here. The folks used to fix them all the time.

  2. Saint John Paul II. Isn’t it lovely to actually say that? You should read the article at the HuffPo about how Poles have lost interest in JPII and gone secular. They will not let you leave comments.I suppose if you told them how great the article was they might.

  3. Mike says:

    Fantastic photos. I’m glad it’s going well.

    Incidentally, one of our chaplains at my school was ordained by St. JPII. I’m almost sure this priest is incapable of giving a homily without mentioning the sacrament of Confession! ;)

  4. benedetta says:

    All good. Your packet of sugar is delightful.

  5. lana says:

    I thought today’s Collect was one of the most beautiful and I really appreciated the post.

    I dont care that much for the food shots. After gaining 3 lb this last week I am glad this week of Easter is over! (dont tell me its ok to eat too much until Pentecost)

  6. OrthodoxChick says:

    I love the Collect AND the foodie pics, along with all of the sights of Roma. Can’t wait til you introduce us to this cabbie. Oh, and I just checked out this Ann Barnhardt. She just doesn’t give a dang who she ticks off. Gotta love a gal like that! Actually, she reminds me of younger, prettier, more educated, and much more brainiac version of myself. IOW – I think I like her! Thanks for the heads up about her.

  7. friarpark says:

    I understand that Italian pizza is different than American pizza, but I was wondering if you could educate us (well, me) about what true Italian pizza really is. I did not recognize those in the picture as pizzas. I really have been curious about this. Thanks!!

  8. ChesterFrank says:

    That pizza looks fantastic !

  9. stephen c says:

    Wonderful pictures. I made carbonara once and I thank God for whoever developed that recipe. I made it with turkey bacon, as I do not like to eat pork or serve it to my guests and I cannot usually find wild boar meat to substitute for the factory pork that is sold here in Virginia. This post has made me think I should make it again. Thanks to EWTN , and to your pictures from Rome, I spent some wonderful time looking at events in Rome today, and it was nice to see so many happy people.

  10. Gratias says:

    Santa Trinitá dei Pellegrini for Mass? Father Z, Superstar!


  11. Charles E Flynn says:

    So now you have been ordained by a saint!

  12. ducinaltum says:

    Where did you dine for supper? I have a bottle of the 2009 Cantina Zaccagnini in my wine rack as we speak!

  13. JamesM says:

    Father, when in Rome can I recommend you visit the Gelateria Frigidarium. They do what I believe to be THE best gelato in Rome. Well worth a visit – they are on a quite street close to Piazza Navona.

  14. Phil_NL says:

    Charles E Flynn,

    Father Z joked (or was he dead serious?) before he would be a third or fourth class relic after the canonization, having been ordaind by St. JPII.

  15. Kevinbell says:

    Greetings from another County Down reader – a few priests of your calibre in our diocese would certainly aid in the fightback!

  16. Gregg the Obscure says:

    It would seem that your ordination day produced some second-class relics still entrusted to your keeping. That’s nifty.

  17. robtbrown says:

    There is a restaurant at Via del Pellegrino 107–Walter’s. It had the best pasta dish I have ever eaten: Bavette al limone e gamberetti (and with cream sauce). It was the only thing I ever ate there. If I wanted a second course, I would reorder the Bavette. Others I knew would often follow the same agenda.

    BTW, I was alerted to the place by a priest I knew who was doing his doctorate on William Buckley’s dime. Later, he was on Firing Line in a show on Euthanasia. He died unexpectedly a few years ago after surgery.

  18. LarryW2LJ says:

    Fr. Z,

    The carbonara looks delightful. I make my own version of chicken carbonara, but I am sure that in a race of the 10 best carbonara recipes on earth, mine would place a distant 130th.

    Please let us know if your cab driver friend’s carbonara ends up being the best you’ve ever had.

  19. wanda says:

    Mmmm. Oh, for a slice of that pizza. If only the aroma could travel over the interwebs! Oh, yes, and two new Saints! Thanks be to God.

  20. RobW says:

    Now thats pizza…I wonder if they deliver to South Jersey?

  21. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    I love the Carbonara! Where is the best in Rome? I had good Carbonara at L’Angoletto (up the street from the Pantheon) and Armando al Pantheon.

  22. Ray says:

    The ox tails look great to me. An old family recipe for my family is ox tail soup. The two meats used to make the broth are ox tail and short ribs. Mainly a winter recipe. It has barley for the starch and many vegetables. A hearty fare from the Austrian side of my ancestry.

  23. thomas tucker says:

    The best carbonara I have ever tasted was like edible heaven that melted in my mouth, at the Cavallieri Hitlon. Pricey though.
    Does anyone know the name of the restaurant on a Vatican side street that was reputed to be Cardinal Ratzinger’s favorite?

  24. Darren says:

    Good to see the Italian wines I buy here are actually drunk in Italy. That Cantina Zaccagnini Montepuciano d’Abruzzo is one of my regulars.

  25. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    thomas tucker: I think — and please note this is a guess! — that the restaurant is Da Benito e Gilberto al Falco, Via del Falco, 19. From the Vatican, go down Borgo Pio to the second street on the left, the Via del Falco. It’s on the left in the first block.

    It’s a tiny place with space for only 24 souls, and there are two seats both at dinner (“lunch” to you Yankees) and two at supper (“dinner” to you Yankees), 7;30pm and 9:30pm. The menu is based on fish. And I’m told it’s quite expensive. I can’t find an website, so try en[dot]menudiroma[d0t]com/da-benito-e-gilberto-al-falco. If someone can find a website, let me know. You might check Trip Advisor for reviews. I posted on Chowhound requesting information; no one replied.

    I add that the Vatican area is a gastronomic waste land. I had a favorite in the Borgo Pio, yet when I was there Holy Wednesday, I found it wanting. Best to grab a cab go into the center city. If you go out on Chowhound you will find “Sid’s short list for Rome”.

  26. robtbrown says:

    thomas tucker says:

    The best carbonara I have ever tasted was like edible heaven that melted in my mouth, at the Cavallieri Hitlon. Pricey though.

    I looked at the menu of La Pergola–$50 and up for first course dishes.

  27. I am just discovering and learning to make carbonara. My first attempt was yummy, and I am looking forward to lots of practice and perfecting. :) I cook for our parish Sisters (IHM) and they are going to love it too.

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