Monday, January 31, 2011

Snapshot Rome: Drink your eggs! - Trionfale Market

A year later, I'm still exploring my market.

I used to buy my eggs at the supermarket until I "discovered" the egg vendors. The prices are cheaper and the eggs are fresher. What the heck took me so long?

I met up with Erica at the market last Friday. She wanted to check out the fish. Afterward, we stopped by my egg vendor.

Erica wrote a lovely ODE to the egg and the memories of her Roman nonna feeding her a raw egg "shake" for her merenda (Italian for a mid-afternoon snack).

The eggs marked "Da Bere" (to drink) are the freshest of the fresh. You have to eat them within a short period of time.

The vendor was speaking Italian very quickly, so I missed the explanation regarding how these eggs are different from the others.

She said the eggs come from the Le Marche region.

Their eggs are delicious. I can totally taste the difference between their eggs and the ones I used to buy at the supermarket.

Trionfale is not the closest market to my house but it's worth the schlep.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flashback Friday - St. Peter's cell - Mamertine Prison

We're talking very old school today...over 2000 years.

I wrote a guest post for Nile Guide about Rome's Mamertine Prison.

It is believed to be the first maximum security prison in Rome and the place where St. Peter was held before his crucifixion.

It's an incredible place to visit. Post is HERE.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Made In Italy, Food & Stories...a fantastic cookbook

I know I've said several times I'm not going to buy anymore cookbooks. I couldn't help myself.

I heard great things about this book. While waiting for a friend, I started to skim though it, then bought it.

It's excellent. Some of the recipes are beyond my culinary level but I found it accessible.

Giorgio Locatelli grew up in a small town near Milan and has been cooking since he was five. He owns a very successful restaurant in London. Most of the recipes have a Northern Italy influence.

This is more than just a book of recipes. Locatelli is an excellent writer. He gives great insight into the history of various foods/recipes. The book is well illustrated and I loved reading about his family.

It took me a while to read this book. I wanted to savor every single page. If you love Italian cooking, especially Northern Italian cuisine, I recommend this book.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Flashback Friday - "A Star Is Born" Beyonce to star in remake

Hollywood is abuzz with the news that Clint Eastwood will direct Beyonce in another remake of "A Star Is Born."

Very curious to see how the story is updated and who the male lead will be.

Beyonce better bring it. She has VERY big shoes to fill. While Bey is one of the most famous pop stars in the world, musically Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland are in a completely different world.

Nikki Finke mentioned Puffy as a possible co-star. No. Just no. Who do you think would be a great male lead for Bey?

Have fantastic weekend.

Here's the trailer from the 1954 version starring Judy Garland.

And the trailer from the 1976 version starring Barbra Streisand.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Medium Raw, Glamorama and The Three Weissmans Of Westport

Anthony Bourdian's follow up to Kitchen Confidential was very entertaining. It was interesting to read about how much his life has changed since he wrote that book ten years ago. He never thought it would become a hit (earlier he had written a novel that did not set the publishing world on fire). He's a beautiful writer. Despite his unexpected success, Bourdain still writes from the gut. He's as hard on himself as he is on the people he rips to shreds. His writing is personal and some of it is not pretty. Bourdain does go into detail about his beef with Alan Richman. I wonder if Richman responded to it?

I finally got around to reading Bret Easton Ellis's 1998 novel. It took me a while to get into the novel and his very specific dialogue. I remember hearing about the crazy plot but I still cracked when it became crystal clear what was going on. Not sure if I need to do a spoiler alert for a famous novel that is over a decade old but SPOILER ALERT...

Okay, supermodels who are assassins and terrorists? HILARIOUS! No, really. In this post 9/11 world I skimmed the very detailed descriptions of the bombs aftermaths.

The world Ellis captures at the end of the '90s is superficial and pathetic. Who would have thought the 00's would be worse? I laughed out loud when he named dropped Stanford Blatch. Priceless.

This book received many positive reviews when it was published last year. After fifty years of marriage, Betty Weissman's husband announces he's divorcing her. She's kicked out of her very nice Central Park West apartment and moves to a small run-down cottage at the beach in Westport, Connecticut owned by a generous and wealthy cousin. Her two middle aged daughters join her at the beach for different reasons. All are going through difficult times emotionally, financially and socially. It's a funny take on Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday...Steve Wonder's MLK Jr. Tribute

This song appeared on Stevie Wonder's 1980 CD "Hotter Than July" (which is a GREAT CD by the way). The CD has a heavy reggae influence thanks to Stevie spending a lot of time with Bob Marley before he went into the studio.

At the time Stevie was very active in the campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr's birthday a Federal holiday. The holiday was very controversial.

In 1983 President Reagan signed the bill making it a holiday. The celebration started in 1986. However, not every state celebrated the holiday at first. For the longest time Arizona refused to. In Mississippi and Virgina the holiday was combined with the celebration of Confederate heroes Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

Virgina finally split the holidays after many complained it wasn't very appropriate.

Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Flashback Friday - Whitney Houston - "Love Will Save The Day"

Hands down this single from Whitney's second album, released in 1988, is one of my favorite Whitney songs.

Produced by John "Jellybean" Benitez, there was never a video cut for this single.

Overall, a really crappy week. Rejections (I hate emails from my manager that say "They're going in a different direction"), bills, the cold that wouldn't go away, etc.

I wanted to hear something upbeat and positive to kick off the weekend.

Have a great one.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

EBONY magazine....Somewhat shameless self-promotion.

I say it's somewhat because I would link to Courtney's post even if I weren't interviewed for her article on black expats in Rome.

Some of you might recognize fellow Blogger Courtney by the name Coco Cooks or Glamah16. She's a very talented cook, baker, photographer and writer.

This is her first print article for EBONY. Courtney was in Rome for a tribute to her great-uncle, dancer and artist Bob Curtis. The way she writes about her uncle and his legacy is very moving.

I really enjoyed meeting Courtney. I'm excited for her. I hope this article will lead to more writing assignments for her.

EBONY has been going through some major changes lately. It's difficult to update a magazine and yet not alienate a loyal readership.

It will be interesting see what direction the magazine goes in after bringing on Desiree Rogers.

The February issue of EBONY is on newsstands (in America) now. Here is Courtney's POST.

Congrats Courtney!!

Renato e Luisa restaurant

My first trip to this restaurant in my area was with my infamous Italian friend, G, and a friend of ours who was visiting from L.A.
I wish I had written down what we ate it was so freaking good. We ordered three of the daily specials. I remember there was one fish dish, a ravioli dish and a spaghetti dish with a tomato based sauce.

We barely spoke as we were too busy eating. The restaurant was packed and the service a little scattered. We didn't mind. The food was worth the wait. The crowd was a mix of locals and tourists. The restaurant is located on a side street near Largo Argentina. It's tiny. There are only a few tables.

Renato e Luisa
Quelli della Taverna
Via dei Barbieri, 25

Monday, January 10, 2011

Words do mean something Mrs. Palin

I found it fascinating that Palin took down her offensive map after the shooting. She also tried to erase the Tweet and Facebook postings that told her supporters to not "retreat but reload."

Congresswoman Giffords complained about this crosshairs maps back in March.

We need to reign in the hateful political rhetoric in America. All this screaming and violence over a health care bill and an immigration bill? The leaders of the GOP started lowering the political discourse way back with Lee Atwater. It's only getting worse. A Republican candidate saying if you don't get what you want at the ballot box, resort to the using the Second Amendment? Where was Michael Steele?

Fox News (aka Radio Rwanda) needs to stop enabling hypocritical idiots like Beck and Palin. At least O'Reilly tries to be open minded. I get it. It's all about ratings but Beck and Palin go too far.

I remember doing meet and greets with Senator Bill Bradley in Jersey. There was never any security. Members of Congress need to meet with their constituents. How can we have a representative government if we can't interact with the public officials we elect?

That innocent people would be gunned down in the middle of the day in front of supermarket breaks my heart. One of the victims, Christina Green, was a nine year-old who was born on 9/11. She was just elected to her student council and wanted to meet her Congresswoman. Now she's dead. Murdered in front of a Safeway supermarket.

How did a man who was turned down by the army for being unstable able to buy a gun?

I'm not sure if there will be any positive changes after this incident. I fear in a few months it will be back to business as usual as people gear up for the 2012 Presidential election.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Flashback Friday - Leif Garret - "I Was Made For Dancing"

Before Biefer Fever there was Leif Garret.

His VH1 Behind The Music episode was so sad.

This video from 1979 cracks me up. It's not the most upbeat crowd for a disco song.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Places to eat near the Spanish Steps?

I'm asked this question a lot. I run errands in that area but other than GiNa's, I never eat around there.

GiNa's a great place for lunch, especially if you're craving a salad. They have a fantastic selection.

The decor is hip and bright and it's excellent people watching. The crowd is a mix of chic Roman mommies and fab singles with Birkins, Chanel's 2.55, etc., business lunches, high school students from the private school nearby, and the occasional tourist. Prices are moderate, especially for the area. Reservations are recommended. It can get packed, especially during nice weather and sales season.

My friend Shelley wrote about GiNa a few years ago HERE. At that time she raved about their picnic lunches. I don't know they still do that. I've only been to GiNa during the fall/winter.

The New York Times also wrote about their picnic lunches.

Via San Sebastianello, 7/A
Piazza di Spagna

If you have a favorite place for lunch (and/or dinner) near the Spanish Steps, please feel free to share in the comments.

Monday, January 03, 2011

So you want to write a novel

This video has been making the rounds. Priceless.

I've just started working on my second novel. My first novel is sitting a drawer.

However, I finished it. I had very generous writer friends who took time from their own work to read multiple drafts and give me feedback.

Screenplays and novels couldn't be more different. Working on the novel is helping with the rewrite I'm doing on a spec script. It's as if I'm using two separate but related muscles at the same time.

Finally, I'm back on a writing schedule. The worst of the procrastination has ended.

I really like the world my novel is set in. I'm 10,000 words in. Only 70,000 plus (bwahaha) to go.