Family style

20130225-002123.jpgWe had a fantastic day today in Rome. After a much needed rest, we got out into the city to visit the Colosseum, which was amazing and massive and ancient and wonderful. It is the oldest thing I’ve ever seen, and it’s a little hard to impart the significance of that to a 4 year old and a 2 year old. It’s also hard, we discovered, to explain the purpose of the Colosseum to young kids without traumatizing them with gory details. (B understands that there were lions somehow involved.) They appreciated the steps and the cobblestones and enjoyed wandering around a bit, though.

20130225-002400.jpgAfter exhausting ourselves and the boys’ patience, we had a relatively uninteresting lunch and then discovered what is (most likely) the best pastry shop in Rome. We were looking for gelato for the boys (because they will eat ice cream in any weather — including chilly and drizzly, like today) and stumbled across this perfect little confection shop (called Cristalli di Zucchero, located behind the Forum).

20130225-002418.jpgIt was so lovely. Between us, we had a selection of bite-sized cakes, a few macaroons, a cannoli, a profiterole and a cappuccino. They were all heavenly. It was quite a lucky find.

And then, this evening, we went out and “discovered” (similarly to how Columbus discovered America) our new favorite Roman restaurant (Da Francesco near Piazza Navona). We ate a wonderful assortment of pizza and pasta, all beautifully made, and Benjamin charmed our waiter by ordering a second pistachio tiramisu for dessert.

156We shared everything. When my family goes out to eat, we always do. We contemplate the menu, vote for our favorites, choose a selection, and enjoy them together. We have the best time, and we all debate our favorites. We can basically turn any restaurant meal into a family style affair. I love it. I’d rather eat with my family than with anyone else.

20130225-002550.jpgSo, today, we had a wonderful day. We saw some of ancient Rome, we ate some fantastic food, and we had a great time. So far, Italy is absolutely excellent.


Living it up

We’ve been here long enough to have started to establish a routine.  Mondays are our day to explore — we often try to go out and try out new places to eat.  We’ve found it’s best to investigate new restaurants on their slowest night of the week, so if they turn out to not be very kid-friendly, and we don’t figure that out until halfway through the meal, we aren’t dealing with a busy restaurant full of irritated diners.  (Also, it’s easiest for us if we sit outside — no one minds a crying baby quite so much when their conversation is routinely interrupted by street noise — and it’s easier to get our choice of tables on a Monday, too.)

Last night, for Father’s Day, we went out, too.  We went to Salm Brau, a place that was a favorite of Dan’s back when he used to come here for work — it was the first place he took me when I came to check out Vienna over a year ago during one of his business trips.  They have rustic comfort food and they brew their own beer (of which they are very proud, and for good reason).  It was a perfect Father’s Day destination.  We took the tram, which dropped us off outside the door to the restaurant, ate a great meal and had some beer.  (Dan had a liter.  I had less.)  We sat inside, and managed not to attract any irrirated glares.  Liam was a little fussy, but nothing unmanagable.  Benjamin ate well and behaved even better.  We all had a great time.


Tonight, we tried out a new place (for us) that is on just aobut every list of places to eat (or at least get a cup of coffee) while you’re in Vienna:  Cafe Central.  It’s a fancy restaurant/coffee shop that had been operating for 100 years by the time I was born, and it’s a few blocks from our apartment.  We got a great table outside, and I don’t think we disturbed too many people.  Very different atmostphere from last night — much more upscale.  The food was great — but, it’s the experience that was really remarkable.  We ate outside, enjoyed our dinner and the evening.  We brought food for Liam, Benjamin ate his dinner and played (relatively) quietly at the table when he was finished, and Dan and I each got to enjoy our meals.  We watched the horses and carriages go by while Liam fell asleep in Dan’s arms and we all relaxed after dinner.  It was a lovely, relatively quiet, relatively leisurely European meal on a beautiful Viennese evening.

Two nights in a row.  I can’t help but feel that we’re starting to figure all of this out.  Life is good!