mmm-yoso!!! is the name of this blog. Kirk, Ed(from Yuma) and Cathy write about food. Right now, Kirk and Ed are relaxing and Cathy is writing.
The Mister and I have the habit of eating a meal before grocery shopping. We've been in Escondido quite a bit and had noticed that the kitchen used by Vinz Wine Bar shared the courtyard and kitchen within this small business. Continental Deli is just across the alley from Escogelato and has been there since about 2010.Walking inside, you are greeted with some glassed refrigerators holding pizza already sliced and waiting to be re-warmed. Walk by it, pass the meat and cheese refrigerator (Thumanns Natural brand meats as well as some German cold cuts), peruse the menu board, order and pay and your food will be brought to your table. which is always covered with a colorful tablecloth.Each day, a home made soup is available until sold out. This day it was mushroom soup ($3). The thickener was potato and it was wonderful.Two slices of pizza and a self serve soda ($6) make a nice meal. There were other pizzas with more interesting toppings available, but The Mister and I are simple folk when the pie is thin crusted.The #9 sandwich, Liverwurst and Butterkäse (butter cheese), on rye (and with onions, which aren't photographed because this is not my half) ($.6.95) is one of my favorite sandwiches in the world. I enjoy this version because of the quality and freshness-of the bread as well as the soft cheese and fresh, thick slices of liverwurst.
This past summer, we purchased one of each sausage (knackwurst (pork), bratwurst (pork) and bockwurst (veal)) for a total of $4.Cooking each on the grill brought out the multitude of flavors from each of the various herbs and spices used in the sausages.
Continental Deli is a great place for the people living in the Northern part of the county. We're glad we found it.
Continental Delicatessen 120 S. Kalmia Street 92025 (760) 745-8007 Open Mon-Thurs 9-8, Fri 9-9, Sat 10-8 Closed Sunday Deli menu is on the Vinz website
Thanks for clicking onto mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. Kirk and Ed(from Yuma)- both are busy, busy. Cathy is staying indoors today and able to blog, so enjoy reading.
Sammy's Woodfired Pizza opened it's first location in La Jolla in 1989, now has eight locations in San Diego County with a total of 17 locations in California and Nevada. The concept and menu began as simple (the owner, Sami Ladeki, didn't even hire a chef at first, because the menu was so basic) and has expanded into small bites and other items in addition to pizza. It's not an 'Italian' menu (Sami is from Lebanon) as much as it's fresh and local (items are sourced from within 125 miles). The website uses the trademarked term "Healthy Global Cuisine".The former Naval Training Center, now Liberty Station, is listed on the National Register of Historic places and the former military barracks and other government buildings have been adapted as stores, schools and restaurants. One of Sammy's locations is here.
This past summer, an additional menu, the Power Lunch (available from 11 to 2 daily), was introduced. Choose any two items for $10. We've tried the whole menu except for the kale salad and the spicy Italian sausage pizza... Mentioned at the bottom the regular menu is that water and bread are served if requested. Two multi-grain crisps (really nice seeded crackers) and a few pieces of fresh made soft crusted white bread and butter is brought out. The fresh tomato basil soup has been different every time we've had it. Flavorful fresh tomatoes, sometimes with the shaved Romano cheese at the bottom of the bowl, sometimes on the top and basil are the main ingredients. Recently the tomatoes were supplemented with red peppers, which were very tasty and made for a different soup flavor than I was expecting.The butternut squash soup (on the right) is always tasty...made with fresh squash, ginger and apple, it is brisk and fresh...and sometimes a bit stinging from the amount of ginger while sweet because of the apple.
The corn chowder (on the left, above) is the 'calmest' of all the flavors. A bit sweet because of the corn and carrots and complimented by potatoes, celery and red pepper, it's just good and creamy.The salads (on this and the regular menu) are always so very fresh and quite large, even at lunch. The Greek (above) has all the standard ingredients (tomato, cucumber, onion and olive) as well as Feta and is tossed with a simple red wine vinaigrette.The arugula with calmyria fig salad is simple; the other ingredients are feta and toasted almonds, along with some of the broken crisps that are served with the bread plate, above. It's tossed with a pomegranate based dressing. This I crave.The pizzas are larger than a 'personal' pizza, cut into quarters. The margherita (above) has the most wonderful fresh ingredients in addition to a perfect (to me) crust. There's a roasted garlic sauce under the mozzarella cheese that puts this pizza into one of my 'sudden craving' categories.The pepperoni pizza has a house made tomato sauce that is lightly spiced. There are some bell pepper slices as well as pepperoni with the mozzarella cheese and those flavors along with the chew and crunch of the wood fired crust are a perfect combination.
Thanks for stopping to see what mmm-yoso!!! is writing about today. Kirk is under the weather and Ed (from Yuma) is otherwise occupied (in Yuma) so Cathy is writing this short post.
There are five different locations of URBN and the one closest to home is this one, URBN St Brewing Co, in El Cajon.This is the building from the parking lot. The front door is on Magnolia at Main (the North West corner, next to the Starbucks).The 'windows' are the roll up garage door kind, so everything is exposed. You can see the bar area has plenty of taps. The side televisions are beer menus.Once inside, the industrial hipster brewery look is obvious.The Mister was here to try some of the house beers ($7 for an URBN flight) (of four): Saison (bright and light in flavor), Unite (a red Belgian rye, brewed in collaboration with Twisted Manzanita Brewery (located in Santee)), Brown (graham cracker with chocolate undertones) and Triple Brown (strong coffee notes). Each beer was unique and fresh in taste. We enjoyed all of our choices.
The menu at dinner is straightforward, with pizza and salad being the primary choices along with four appetizers and desserts.The URBN salad (small, $7). A nice mix of greens topped with gorgonzola, pears, a walnut brittle and a light vinaigrette. This could be a meal for one (the bowl is deep), but we shared. It was very fresh and flavorful.None of the preselected ingredient pies appealed to us, so we chose to 'Craft Your Own'. We chose a Small, White with parmesan/garlic/evoo ($10) then added Ricotta ($2) and artichokes ($2).
That small pizza is on a regular size cookie sheet (half sheet cake size)! More than enough.
The flavor combination was just right, with the garlic and olive oil complimenting -and not overpowering- the Ricotta or artichoke hearts. The crust was more cracker-like than the edges, which I don't normally like, especially when cold..but this pizza never got to the point of being leftover...
URBN St. Brewing Co. 110 N. Magnolia (at Main) El Cajon 92020 (619) 328-6922 Website Open Sun-Thurs 11:30-10, Fri-Sat 11:30-midnight
Thanks for stopping by to read mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. Kirk is having some technical difficulties, while Ed (from Yuma) is enjoying the pleasant weather (in Yuma) and Cathy is writing a quick post.
We parked in front of Vinz a few weeks ago when stopping at EscoGelato for a sweet treat and The Mister kept it in mind when it was His turn to choose one of his birthday meals. Vinz has been here at the corner of East Grand at Kalmia since 2008.One side of Vinz is a bar and the other side (closed during lunch) has tableclothed tables and only wines stored on display.
A daily lunch menu is provided and The Mister and I both had narrowed our choices to two - the same ones. Serendipity!The House Cheese & Pate Plate ($14) included great multi seeded crackers along with a partial baguette, some greens, roasted garlic cloves, olives, a dollop of a hearty mustard, capers and some fig jam. The seemingly small scoop of duck mousse pate was more than enough of pure luxury; rich, smooth with fresh herbs and cognac melded together, giving a burst of flavor in each bite. The cheeses were a smoked Gouda, Havarti and Brie. This would have gone perfectly with a glass of wine...but you know-daytime, driving, laws.The Pizza Blanca con Spinaci ($11) was really wonderful. Homemade ricotta cheese, roasted garlic, fresh spinach, and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. You can see the wonderful thin crust. The homemade ricotta...all of it...it just went so well together.
A very nice lunch for a special celebration day.
Vinz Wine Bar 201 East Grand (at Kalmia) Escondido 92025 (760)743-8466 website Open Mon 11:30-9, Tues, Wed, Th 11:30-10, Fri, Sat 11:30-11 Sun 11:30-8
mmm-yoso!!! Food blog. Kirk usually is writing, but he is out of the country. Ed(from Yuma) does some posting, but he is getting ready to travel to a different state. Cathy holds down the fort when the guys can't. This is her blogging.
It started out innocently enough. A friend handed me one of those doorknob hanger ads for a pizza place, telling me it was really good-and that they have a carry out only special for $4.99.
I tossed it onto the car seat and forgot about it. Until one night when I was hungry, in the neighborhood and knowing I did not want to go home to make dinner.There-right next to the Dominos and about 100 yards from a Papa Johns pizza place is Maldinis. It's been there since 2013, a family pizza restaurant that sells a 14 inch large cheese pizza for $4.99.Dough and sauce made fresh daily. A really good, simple pizza. Friendly guys working...and a larger menu.
I had to bring The Mister back for our next 'date night' meal-our standard when we were starving college students and newlyweds. We ordered, paid and took a seat at one of the eight tables. The large Greek salad ($6.99) was brought out in a very large bowl. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onions and Feta cheese. There was a lot of everything to this salad. The simple Italian dressing was complimentary to the fresh flavors of the produce and toppings. The small (12 inch) cheese calzone ($7.99). A folded pizza, filled with Mozzarella and Ricotta, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs and cheese and baked. Served with sauce on the side.
Perfect. Crispy. Cheesy. Memory jogging. I hope your weekend is as pleasant.
Maldini's Pizzeria 8734 Lake Murray Blvd (at Navajo)( in the mall with a McDonalds and an Albertsons) San Diego 92119 (619) 644-5600 Website
We arrived back in Valletta nice and early. I had quite a bit planned for our last full day.
Unfortunately, the apartment we really enjoyed staying in wasn't available for this night, so we were staying in the Osborne Hotel which was on the opposite side of the peninsula.
We dropped our bags off and started on our way.
The first item was to get some espresso for the Missus and something for me to eat.
We saw this little shop along the way.
The little place was full...of locals......having coffee, reading the paper, talking about...well, I dunno. We entered and they quickly made some room for us.
While the Missus was having Her espresso; with a Diet Kinnie chaser, I saw something. Along the counter, there seemed to be makings for sandwiches. A couple of guys came in to pick up sandwiches while we were having our drinks. I couldn't help it. I just had to find out what this big seller was.....tuna sandwiches. I was raised on tuna sandwiches, but truly believe there's only one brand of canned tuna that shall pass these lips. Us old timers from Hawaii have some major brand loyalty. I had my doubts, I really wasn't thrilled with the version I had earlier in Valletta. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. And this was a major win.
It didn't look very inspiring. But man, this was good. The bread....what's with the bread in Malta (I'd learn soon)? It was crusty, but not too hard, nor chewy. The tuna wasn't the greatest, but it was the sum of the parts which made this fantastic. In perfect proportion; ripe, tasty,tomatoes rubbed on the bread, briny olives, I tasted mint (!), which tasted so good, boiled eggs, lots of black pepper, red onion for that touch of pungent flavor.
I wish I knew the name of this place. We returned for some espresso on the way out of Malta...but duh, I forgot to get the name of the place!
We caught the bus, and with some cryptic instructions got off in Paola. We walked to Tarxien, it was hard to know where Paola ended and Tarxien began....it seems that the borders of these small villages just blend into one another.
We arrived at our destination. There was a graveyard and church next door.
For some reason, the Missus was taken with the tranquil environment and decided just to lie down on one of the benches and listen to music.
Discovered by some farmers plowing a field a field in 1914. This complex of temples, dating back to 3150 B.C. this site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.
The excavations have indicated that the site was used extensively for rituals.
It was a fascinating visit. The island of Malta has long been inhabited, some estimate all the way back to 5200 BC.
Leaving the site, I got the Missus who was just having a great old time listening to music, staring at the tree and the statue of the Virgin Mary.
It was time to head back to Paolo and our destination.
But first, we got distracted by this little shop on a side street that was doing some nice business. Cars kept stopping, folks running out; sometimes holding up traffic, to go in and grab...well, who knows what.
This is the spinach-olive, with a touch of ricotta version.
Frankly, I preferred what I had before to this. Though it was quite hearty and stuffed.
And so, we searched for our destination. Which we found with this discreet sign.
When I knew we were going to Malta; one of the first things I did was make reservation for Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. Discovered by workers digging for a cistern in 1902, the story of its revelation is quite amazing. Due to the damage done by carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors, only 60 visitors are allowed a day (it's actually closed right now while a new environmental management system is put in place).
Of course, photos aren't allowed; but you can see some here. Let me just say, at least for us, it was an amazing experience.
Making it back to Valletta, the Missus wanted Her Quinoa Salad from Piadina Caffe. So we headed over. This time I had the prosciutto with provolone, which was light and refreshing.
And I got a chance to read the local paper.
After a light snack it was finally time when we could check in. Along the way to the hotel we saw this doorway.
Which is how we ended up in the lair of Joe Frendo.
Who is Joe Frendo? I'm still not sure. I looked down those stairs and saw some bottled water, which is just what we needed and wanted at that moment.
We had somehow ended up in the shop of a Maltese bread maker. Huge wood burning oven going.....I was told; "go take a look....the best bread in Malta is here."
I looked at the bread which looked familiar. So I asked, and my question was answered with, "yes, Il-Horza, that is our bread."
And so we thought, "why not order a pizza?"
Having ordered our dinner, we got back to the hotel; checked in, and freshened up.
Walking past the Grandmaster's Palace, we noticed a demonstration happening. It was for women's rights. We saw a gentleman walk out to talk to folks. I asked who this was and was told, "well....it's the Prime Minister of course." The Prime Minister!
It was soon time to pick up dinner, so we retuned to Joe Frendo's Bakery. Walking down the stars we saw Joe's family having dinner at a table in an adjacent area and Joe at work on our pizza.
We loved this place. So the Missus asked Joe Frendo as simple question; "when did you start making bread" which turned into an 45 minute monologue of Joe Frendo's life....punctuated with many a "mey-lah". Which I still don't understand. It was an amazingly funny slice of life. Along with the pizza, we decided to get a bottle of wine, but requested that they open the bottle. At which time Joe walked over to a table, pulled out the corkscrew which was being used to level the table out and opened our bottle. Only in Malta!
We got the "Maltese Pizza"("mey-lah")and Joe Frendo gave us a couple of really good rolls.
The pizza...the crust was quite nice....had artichoke hearts, olives, and a nice tangy tomato sauce.
Which is what we had....watching the roof tops of Valletta.As dusk approached I took this photo.
And waking right before the sun rose, I took another.
Like most places, Malta had been much more than what we had expected......
On our third day in Rome, we set out for Vatican City. The Missus wanted to walk there...from Termini Station. We had the metro one block away! Luckily, I got myself out of a 5k walk first thing in the morning and we caught the metro. From the metro station, the walk to the gates of Vatican Museum took about ten minutes.
When it comes to most of our travel; the Missus tells me what She wants and I do the logistics, planning, and She just basically shows up. The visit to the Vatican Museum was a good example. I got tickets online ahead of time....we entered right when the place opened, going to the line for "Entrance with Reservations". We grabbed a map and headed to the one place the Missus really wanted to see; the Sistine Chapel, where we stood alone in the rare air where the Papal Conclave takes place. The Missus just stood staring at the ceiling as other visitors piled in around Her. I took a seat after a minute or two, when my neck started stiffening up. I grabbed the Missus to leave when I heard "huuuuaaackkk p-tew".....one of the Chinese tourists had just spit on the floor of the Sistine Chapel! Good lord!
The rest of my time in the Vatican Museum was a blur of antiquities, lavish paintings, just an astounding amount of items on display. I was overwhelmed by the extravagance. I kept telling the Missus, "geeez, these folks sure have a lot of money..."
I do recall enjoying the ceiling art and spent a good deal of time just enjoying those and the paintings over doorways.
I think one needs to spend a least a couple of days here if you really enjoy this stuff. I'm sure Ed from Yuma could probably walk these halls for months!
Anyway, we worked our way back to the beginning and started out with the Egyptian Rooms, officially called the "Gregorian Egyptian Museum", which were among my favorites. After all, who doesn't like mummies, right?
I found the various hieroglyphics and of course the mummies fascinating....it touched off a the faint flicker of the little boy in me, who would spend hours pouring through books at Kaimuki Library.
The Egyptian's deities manifested themselves as various animals based on characteristics. The God Apis took the form of a bull.
I was quite fascinated with these displays.
Things just seemed really packed in.....there was something to see everywhere...
Then we went through the halls with Greek and Roman sculpture. Tons of statues....my head was spinning.
One of the most famous statues is Apollo Belvedere which was once considered to be the most aesthetically perfect sculpture of a man after being found in Italy in the 15th century.
Right past all of this was an interesting area called the "Hall of Animals". The Vatican Museum's website states that the hall "was set up under Pope Pius VI (1775-1799) with antique works of art, often much restored and sometimes completely re-worked, with the aim of creating a 'stone zoo'. Many artists worked on the sculptures in this display during the 1700s, the most important of whom was Francesco Antonio Franzoni."
On your way to the Round Room, you'll be confronted with this remnant. This fragment of a statue known as the Belvedere Torso has been revered through the centuries by Raphael and even Michaelangelo, who it was rumored, was asked to restore the statue by Pope Julius II, but refused saying it was too beautiful to be changed. He is quoted as saying, "This is the work of a man who knew more than nature!” It is said that the torso was an inspiration for Adam in Michelangelo's fresco in the Sistine Chapel.
Right past this sculpture is the "Round Hall". Here's a panoramic shot that you can click on to expand.
Look familiar? Well, it was built to resemble the Pantheon.
By this time Museum fatigue was setting in. I pretty much stopped taking photos and it's quite telling that one of the few photos taken by the Missus was Rapheal's "The Liberation of St Peter".
The one thing the Missus, a fan of Angels & Demons, had to take a photo of was the Double Helix Staircase.....which is how you exit the Vatican Museum.
Next up was St Peter's Basilica, which was easy to find. Just follow the crowds.
St Peter's Square is quite impressive....and crowded.
And of course, to get into the Basilica, you had to go through security and metal detectors and all of that as well.
It was getting to be a pretty warm day. The security points for St Peter's were moving quite slowly. Then, a group of Chinese tourists pushed their way to the front of the line, and tried to just walk through security. The guards rushed up, linked their arms and physically pushed back the crowd. Then they closed the gate......I don't know if it was protocol or just spite, but man, I was just over it. Now don't get me wrong, the Missus is Chinese, as you all know if you've read long enough, from Qingdao. None of Her family, or even family friends who have visited act this way. 'Nuff said.
Anyway, by the time we got to St Peter's, I'd had my fill of the crowds, the heat, etc....
Still, the Missus has always wanted to come here. And I truly want the Missus to see and visit everyplace She's dreamed of. I hope that Vatican water tasted sweet.....
By now we were both starving.........but I had a place in mind. One that had been on my lists for ages... Pizzarium.
This place takes Pizza al Taglio - pizza by the slice to the next level with some wonderful ingredients. You just tell the guy behind the counter how much you want....it's really hard not to go overboard.
While it was still a bit too "bready" for our tastes, some of the ingredients were wonderful and we especially loved the tomato sauce....man, that was nice.
The prosciutto....the greens with the mozzarella...really good. Worth the 15 minute walk from the Vatican. Plus, the Cipro Metro Station is close by.
Pizzarium Via della Meloria 43 Rome, Italy
Returning to our room, I badly needed a shower. After that and rehydrating, we headed off, just to hang around the area near Termini Station.
And have a little snack.....
After taking quite a long walk, we decided to stop by the nearest Hosteria and have a simple meal.
Sometimes those spur of the moment places work out quite well. Some times not. Having no idea of this place....well, it was the latter.
Oh well, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, right?
Man, that carbonara was not to my liking....so I guess this was a lose.
It was not quite the send off I wanted. The next day, we'd be back on the Leonardo Express, then to our flight to Malta....yes, Malta.
Hmmmm Bruno and Pho King, there's surely a joke in there somewhere. Can't think of one right now, so onward with the post.
It had been almost a year since I'd been here and I was really wanting a pizza....the Missus is still not doing the bread thing, so I was on my own. I held out for a couple of weeks before giving in.
They must be doing well, as there were at least 5 people working on a Sunday, at 4pm.
My memory must be going as I don't recall seeing Belgians on the drink list before. I was quite happy to order a La Chouffe, mild spice, yeasty, just boozy and sweet enough for me. My server was a very chipper young lady...quite enthusiastic and all.....
Being a creature of habit, I ordered the Diavolo, subbing soppressata for pepperoni. It arrived in all it's yeasty charred glory soon after.
I must really be getting old because this just seemed larger than I remembered...ah, this cursed old age thing.
Man, loved the smoky charred crust, the slightly spicy and vinegary goat peppers....I did notice that the soppressata tasted a bit different, not as rich and full of lovely oiliness as before....but it could be that old age thing, right?
I could only finish half the pie and took the rest home. The Missus got home from work and said "that smells so good...." Knowing that She doesn't do the bread thing I told Her, "help yourself....he-he-he...."
I got out of the shower and She had a smug smile on Her face....so I headed straight to the pizza box and opened it....yikes!!! She had cockroached all the toppings! Teach me to tempt Her, right?
Pizzeria Bruno 4207 Park Blvd San Diego, CA 92103
Aaah, I know why I put these two together mentally. While at Bruno, these two huge Italian guys walked in, pinky rings and all. Man, they had it down, talking to each other in Italian....until I was walking out and they were having a little "PDA".....
So maybe they should have gotten a room or at least gone to....
Yeah, yeah....ok, enough with the jokes. I don't think I've posted on the place in over a year, so I'm due right? Man, they were pretty busy.....
I decided to order my usual and get some wings as well......
In retrospect, not the best move....these tasted of rancid oil, were fried "naked", but were on the mushy side, and really lacked flavor. Very large, meaty, and moist though. Ah yes...Pho King Wings....
My usual Hu Tieu Mi Kho did much better.
I love the sweet-porky soy and the combination of noodles on this. Which I've done posts on several times.
And on the good side, no one asked me for money. Like I noted in my Tu Thanh post, on my last visit in August, some dude asked me for money twice, once when entering and once when leaving the place...then I saw him looking into my car windows...sheeesh. Happy not have to deal with that, which kind of kept me away from the place. Guess I'll head back again soon.
Pho King Restaurant 4658 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92115
A fairly large collection for a SoCal winter Wednesday.
Pho DaKao and Grill Closes:
I drove by and noticed the parking lot was totally empty so I drove in. The Eviction Restoration Notice was posted on the door. Man, this place didn't last very long. I think I visited soon after they opened....so they pulled the plug pretty fast.
I'd driven past a couple of times and the place looked closed so I stopped by earlier in the week.
This former Balboa Avenue institution moved to this location back in the summer of 2013. It's too bad that the renovation and creation of chain restaurant hell drove them from their old location and it seems that they barely made it past a year here. Though never a destination for me, I'd eaten at the old location a couple of times and thought it decent.......
So hopefully I'm mistaken? But it sure looks like they've shut down....
4344 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
So here comes the "New" Dumpling Inn and Shanghai Saloon:
While never great shakes, the place really "jumped the shark" in my opinion after the owner got involved with The Dragon's Den and Del Mar Rendezvous, both of which have been sold. So now we get this........ I'm told he has a taste for "fusion", which is great, remember, I'm from the home of Pacific Rim Cuisine, so I love fusion.....but it's a thin line between fusion and "con-fusion".
In the old First Korean Market location.
4625 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
We had some much needed rain over the last two weeks........and we're kind of enjoying the nice sleeping weather, which would be great if I wasn't working so many long hours.
Still, I actually saw a double rainbow while driving to Target on the way home yesterday. Pardon the bad photos.
Seeing a rainbow in San Diego is rare enough....a double rainbow, well I don't ever recall seeing one here.
So I took a photo....then took photos of other folks taking photos of the double rainbow.....like I said, this is like an event.
Or maybe a celebrity? This guy is having his picture taken "with" the rainbow! No selfies here....though I did pass two couple taking selfies with the rainbow.
I keep looking at all these photos of Rome and thinking, well one of these days. There was so much we saw, but it also seemed so hectic. I usually will look at a set of photos and the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, pop out and just like that; I have a post. This one had to really pared down......in the end, I thought this would be a nice description of what a typical vacation day with the Missus is like. It makes a nice C(learing) O(ut the) M(emory) C(ard) post.
As is the norm, we woke quite early on our first full day in Rome. I actually got up at 5am and did a post from our room. The Missus woke a bit later and we were headed out before 7. The Missus had a basic list of places to check out and we'd be walking to them all.
So we headed off from Termini Station down the street.
Pst the Colosseum and the Forum......
Skirting Palatine Hill and the Victor Emmanuel Monument.....
And we ended up at Saint Andrea della Valle, Piazza Navona was just a short walk from there. It was pretty quiet at Piazza at that time.
The Missus was determined to get to the Pantheon when it opened. So we walked on over and found that we were still quite early. So we walked over a block to Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
First thing on my mind was....what's up with the Elephant Obelisk, what does it represent? Well, apparently, this obelisk was one of two brought to Rome by Emperor Diocletian from Egypt sometime during his reign between 284 - 305AD. The obelisks were built during the reign of Pharoah Apries around 570BC. The Elephant was designed by Bernini and sculpted by Ercole Ferrata, completed in 1667. The Missus has a thing about obelisks....I'm really afraid to ask really. I will say, this is my favorite one...though I'm still not sure what it all really means.
The church itself is built over the ruins of a temple to the Egyptian Goddess Isis.
As with many of the various churches in Rome, of which there are over 900, most with a rich history, and tons of relics. Santa Maria sopra Minerva was once the center of the Dominican Order, so it makes sense that Saint Catherine of Siena is buried here....well, not all of her. Her head is interred at the Basilica of San Domenico in Siena.
We returned to the Pantheon, which still wasn't open, and decided to just have a cup of coffee and chill. There seemed to be quite a few "locals" walking their dogs, chatting, and generally giving the place a very relaxed feeling.
And yes, that's a obelisk and fountain the front of the Pantheon. This one was built by Ramesses II and was taken from the Temple of Ra in the ancient city of Heliopolis.
Soon enough, folks started lining up in front of the huge doors......
Anyway, here we were, standing in front of the huge bronze doors of the Pantheon. A little gentleman comes out to open up...and can't budge the doors. He recruits a bunch of us to push open the doors. Which we do. Oh man, talk about a thrill....I helped to push open the doors of the Pantheon! I immediately asked the Missus if She got a photo; "oh, I was so excited for you....I forgot!"
Click on the photo above to enlarge....this is one of the few places that really impressed me more than what I had read.
A few minutes later the place started getting crowded. It was time to leave. Outside, all the locals had disappeared as tourists descended on the Pantheon. I'm glad we had arrived early.
We headed back to Piazza Navona which was starting to pick up.
There are three fountains which grace the square, this is the one on the North, the Fountain of Neptune.
We decided to back track and headed to Campo de Fiori, literally translated to "Field of Flowers". I read that in the Middle Ages, the area was actually a meadow. It now houses a daily flower and vegetable market....kind of touristy. pretty pricey, but still fun.
Right on Campo de Fiori resides a place that is pretty much legendary, Forno Campo de Fiori, a little bakery and shop.
The Pizza Bianca was good, initial crunch, a bit too chewy for my taste, very soft interior.....kind of bland though. The pizzas, were, well, kind of disappointing, hard, greasy....probably because they seemed to have been laying out for a while.
Forno Campo de' Fiori Campo de' Fiori 22 Rome, Italy
Since it was now my turn for the time being, we headed off down Via dei Giubbonari, one of the side street off of Campo de Fiori. A little street lined with shops and cafes. Along the way we passed a little cul de sac, which had....what else, a church.
This little church is Santa Barbara dei Librari - the church for booksellers!
I loved this little three panel wooden painting, called a triptych. I later read that it dates back to the 15th-16th century.
When we hit the cross street of Via dei Chiavari, I found the other place I wanted to try. My good buddy Candice told me that she preferred Antico Forno Marco Roscioli.
About this time I figured out that pizza bianca would make a perfect sandwich....which it did.
I did notice that the pizza bianca here was less oily and had a better crunch.
I thought the marinara pizza was pretty good as well.
Antico Forno Marco Roscioli Via dei Chiavari 34 Rome, Italy
As you notice....these were the days before the Missus really clamped down on carbs. And yet, with this walking, I still lost weight!
Bolstered by carbs and caffiene we headed off to find the Missus's next target....where was that darn Trevi Fountain?