mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog, it's been around since 2005. Kirk, Ed (from Yuma) and Cathy continue writing about the mundane as well as the interesting meals they've consumed in and around San Diego as well as other places in the world. Today, it's Cathy writing.
About three years ago, businesses that baked customized pizza in wood fired ovens in about three minutes were a big deal and about eight different franchises were located in the San Diego area. I wrote only about Pieology and Social Life (which has since closed). It's not that I didn't like those sort of places: they were so similar in execution, product and pricing that there was nothing unique. However, now that the chaff has cleared the wheat and only three other franchises plus Pielogy remain, there has been some refining. The 'system' is the same, walk up, order (choose a sauce, cheeses and meats and other toppings) and pay; get your own utensils and beverages. Your completed order is brought out to the table.
Pricing has increased only slightly (basically, any pie with an unlimited choice of toppings is $8.45).
One of the 'Pieologists Favorite Pies' available is 'Alfredo's Alfredo' (this creation of preselected ingredients also shows the highest calorie count of 1080) Olive oil, three cheese alfredo sauce, parmesan, mozzarella, garlic, mushrooms, artichokes, fresh basil, grape tomatoes (then we added on bacon and olives, because at that point it didn't matter). This pie was excellent, rich and flavorful and enough for two to share. A 'new' item is a custom salad ($9.25). (You can grab a classic or caesar, already made, for $8.45 or a pre-made side salad for $3.95). In this case, you select your greens, cheeses and meats, fresh produce and toppings. We asked for a few of each of the greens (Romaine, spinach and mixed), Feta cheese, bacon and then some artichokes, green & red peppers, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, shaved parmesan and a candied walnut topping. The dressing was the creamy Italian. The bowl is very large; I used my longstanding 'airplane salad' trick, taking off the lid pouring the dressing over and then replacing the lid and shaking the container instead of trying to delicately mix the packed ingredients. This, again is large enough to share and , of course, very fresh.Another visit, The Mister ordered a 'Classic Margherita' (because the base is olive oil, mozzarella, parmesan, fresh basil and grape tomatoes) but then added mushrooms and sausage, to make the pizza unique. This was also a very tasty pie. The thin crust is just right and properly proportional for the ingredients.
A good choice for whatever craving you might have. Hope you are staying dry!
Pieology (The Study of Custom Pizza) 5575 Balboa Avenue San Diego, CA 92111 (858)565-0600 Website
Kirk and Cathy have better or more important things to do than post at mmm-yoso!!!, so today here's the first post from Ed (from Yuma) about food and adventures on his and Tina's recent trip to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.
On our way up, as usual, we had lunch at Sofia’s in Gila Bend:
Nice decor at the little restaurant:
The chips and salsa are always good:
We enjoy the three taco combination plate with the customer choice of any three tacos. On this visit Tina had two hardshell hamburger tacos (what tacos were for most of us back in the 60s and 70s) and a soft carnitas taco:
And I ordered a simple green chili burrito:
Sofia's is good Mexican food and service, often by Sofia herself.
Sofia's Mexican Food, 530 West Pima, Gila Bend, AZ 85337, 928-683-6382. Open Daily.
In the Past, Tina and I have focused mostly on the museum’s extensive collection of modern works and Spanish colonial art. This time, however, we wanted to explore the Asian section of the museum. They were having a special show for the art of Martin Fan Cheng:
This painting could be from a food blog:
These trout in a stream look photographic as well:
I was amused by a 1976 painting by Lu Yanshao that uses traditional Chinese techniques to picture "Electric Power Station in a Mountain Village":
We loved this contemporary cerulean ceramic bowl:
Completely different is this bodhisattva:
The museum explained that this holy figure is dressed in women's attire since achieving the status of bodhisattva allows one to transcend sexuality.
But my favorite item is in the permanent collection of the Museum, a remarkable piece entitled "Mass (Colder Darker Matter)":
It is like a giant mobile made from pieces of charred wood hung on nearly invisible wires and strings. As you move from place to place, it changes. Interestingly, the burned wood is what’s left of a rural church that ignited when struck by lightning. To me, this installation seems both ominous and numinous.
Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85004-1685 (602) 257-1880
This new pizzeria, featuring rustic 900° wood ovens and house made mozzarella, was our choice for our first dinner in the Phoenix area. The exterior seems pretty ordinary, but it is nice to see a doggie friendly patio in front:
The interior was brightly lit, tastefully simple, and full of customers:
Thursday Night NFL was on the TVs in the bar and numerous animated conversations were all going on simultaneously, so it was LOUD. Sitting outside on the back patio would have made conversation easier, but all the tables there were taken as well.
Of course, they have 36 beer taps and an extensive collection of bottled beers and wines as well. Tina and I had a couple of their lighter beer offerings:
As soon as we tasted our locally sourced Farmers Salad, we understood why the place is so popular:
This was extremely unusual and extremely flavorful. Batonettes of fresh mango and jicama dominated, with wafer thin slices of watermelon radish, a sprinkle of radish sprouts, small strips of red onion, and cilantro leaves all contributing. The cumin lime dressing was a superb match, tempering the sweetness of the mango and giving a nice flavor boost to the usually bland jicama. Amazingly good.
We ordered two different pizzas. I wanted to try the very basic Senza Formaggio vegan pie with mushrooms:
Tina and I wondered if we would like this at all, but it was very tasty. The focus was clearly on the wonderful crispy crunchy crust highlighted with the nicely herbed tomato sweet sauce and olive oil.
Tina was intrigued by the idea of the Spanish pizza with real Spanish chorizo, sliced almonds, Spanish black olives, and a mild harrissa sauce:
Tasting it was a real experience. To the eye, it looks like a pepperoni based pizza, but to the mouth, the flavor panorama was entirely different. The crunchy almonds were good, and the crust was magnificent.
We told our friends who were letting us use their North Scottsdale timeshare about Craft 64, they tried it, and Greg told me it was the best pizza they had ever eaten. Your results may differ, but it is damn good (can I say that?).
Craft 64, 6922 E. Main St., Scottsdale, AZ 85251, (480) 946-0542
There was one reason why we came to Les Eyzies. It was to visit Font de Gaume, the only site in France with "polychrome" (colored) prehistoric cave paintings still open to the public. The catch was, there's no advance tickets sales, you need to show up and wait in line and purchase tickets for one of the "tours". The ticket office opens at 0930, we got there at 7am and there were already people in line for one of the 52 tickets available on this day! Carbon Dioxide is starting to damage the 15,000 year old paintings of 230 animals, so access is limited. We could have gone to Lascaux and visited the Lascaux II, which is a replica of the original, now closed to the public because of carbon dioxide damage....but seeing the real thing was on the Missus' bucket list, so here we were. One of the reasons we stayed where we did was that it was a short 2 kilometer walk up the street.
Folks were sitting around chatting, checking their smartphones, staring off into space, or like me, checking out this very social little guy, who seemed totally unafraid of humans.
Like clockwork, the place opened at 0930. We were about number 14-15 in line. The only English tour of the day was at 10am and we easily got tickets to it! Since it would be starting fairly soon we just hung around for 15 minutes and off we went up the trail.
Of course photos aren't allowed, but let me just say, this well worth 5 times the 7.5 Euro ticket price....that's right, it seems they really care for this place and aren't gouging you. Much like the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, this place left us amazed and truly touched. The artwork is quite amazing, one of the particular paintings, which looked somewhat abstract and 3-d had our guide tell us, "see, even then, they had a Picasso!" And then there was the famous "Reindeer Kissing" painting. This is truly a worthwhile place to visit. I'm not sure how much longer it will be open to the public, but it is truly a treasure.
We left on a high, we decided to walk back into town and grab some lunch. But first, the walk......Les Eyzies is in essence a one street village, near the north end of that walk is the Hotel Cro-Magnon.
This hotel was built in 1868, basically on the site where the first Cro-Magnon skeleton was unearthed. The owner of the hotel was Monsieur Magnon and it was on his land the remains were found. Thus the name, Cro-Magnon....which in simple terms means, "Mr Magnon's Hole".....you gotta love that! Just think, all those guys you called Cro-Magnon.....you were calling them "Mr Magnon's hole......" Which might have been appropriate!
Turning back, it was time to decide on lunch. We were kind of tired...sleeping on what felt like plastic sheeting didn't translate into a good night's sleep and the Missus really enjoyed the salad She had the night before, so Pizzeria La Milanaise just seemed like the easy choice.
So the Missus got Her salad. Meanwhile, I decided to go just go for it and got the Pizza de Campagnade (14,3 €/about $16US), mainly because it was topped with...yes, this is the Dordogne...Foie Gras. My curiosity had gotten the better of me it seems...or maybe not as this was pretty good.
It was a nice thin crust, the edges charred, but not bitter. It was merely topped with foie gras after the pizza baking process, which answered my questions of how foie gras would survive on a pizza. Under that cheese was a nice amount of "magret fume" smoked duck breast which was quite good; the "sauce" was persillade, basically a parsley-herb-garlic-oil-vinegar mixture that really resembled pesto in this case. It was quite rich....as in after the salad, we had one-third of the pizza and the foie gras and took the rest to go. So here's the thing, sixteen bucks here in the Dordogne gets you smoked duck pizza topped with foie gras........
Pizzeria La Milanaise 41 Avenue de la Préhistoire Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, France
We walked back to our unit, stopping again at the win shop at the end of the street....this time we noticed a photo of the owner; the guy running the register, who looked a bit less dapper than this photo......his "Bond....James Bond" picture.
Getting back to the apartment, it was a bit too early for a nap, so we got into the car and decided to take a drive around the countryside. We came across a village named Campagne.
The Chateau and park was closed, but it was a charming little stop. Wikipedia says the population of this town is 345.
Which of course makes one wonder what life here is like......
Later that evening, while we finished the remnants of the pizza along with a nice bottle of wine, I noticed some movement on the hillside. There were some deer grazing. In some sense it looked so peaceful......in harmony with the surroundings. Perhaps this was what the beautiful Dordogne does to you.....
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.