Saturday was once again rainy and a bit dreary. But the upside is that the tourist stay in while we venture out. And, frankly, Rome not unlike Paris is actually quite beautiful in the rain. The cobblestone streets and sidewalks come alive; wet, shiny and reflective. The green of vegetation becomes exaggerated and enhanced creating a contrast to the otherwise gray smog stained buildings.
We took a nice walk over to Palazzo Spada and spent a few hours or so touring the picture galleries of this wonderful renaissance palace. Only one floor is open to the public but enough paintings and period furnishings to keep us occupied for the morning.
After the picture galleries we headed downstairs and out the back into a wonderful courtyard to view the perspective colonnade by Borromini. The rain was pouring but nothing could take away from this fascinating three dimensional perspective. Be sure to check it out here: http://www.artbabble.org/video/ngadc/empire-eye-magic-illusion-palazzo-spadas-corridor-part-5
After spending some time photographing and pondering the genius of this architectural wonder we headed back out into the wet city. Not far from the entrance to the gallery there is a restaurant, La Quercia, that we have passed many times but had never tried. This time with so much rain and no other place in mind for lunch it seemed destined for a first try.
We were the first to arrive for lunch. This is typical for us. Somehow we have not gotten accustomed to eating lunch as late as the locals do. Lunch here does not really get started until at least one and really even later on weekends. The interior is very warm and cozy; the perfect place for this rainy day.
We started by ordering a bottle of Poggio Dei Gelsi. This was the least expensive bottle on the menu but the only white from the Lazio region which is to say a local vineyard. The wine was fairly dry and went well with everything we ordered; the perfect table wine.
Our waiter soon arrived with a basket of fresh Porcini mushrooms and suggested we try them in one of two ways; either sauteed or with fettuccine. We opted to share the sauteed version.
The mushrooms were sliced and diced into nice size chunks and sauteed in olive oil along with garlic and rosemary. Grilled whole wheat bread was nestled in for soaking up the sauce. These were really really good. So succulent!
Next we decided on one of the special dishes of the day which was risotto and pumpkin with clams. Again, a really delicious dish. The salty sea infused clams contrasted nicely with the creamy background of the pumpkin while the rice, cooked al dente, offered texture and balance.
The final dish we ordered and shared as well was the rabbit cooked with black olives. A beautiful presentation with glossy black olives and creamy puree of potatoes and again some bread nestled in for soaking up the sauce. The rabbit had been braised with herbs and garlic and was super tender and succulent.
All in all a wonderful rainy Saturday here in Rome.