ITALIA DAY 1: Ready, Set, Go-go-go!

Nothing like a nice, long, multi-timezone, day, am I right? Well, we departed LAX (I misspoke when I said OC, sorry) at 7:00 pm and arrived in Frankfurt after a cozy 11-hour flight in business class (I know, hashtagspoiled…but ’twas but a one-time thing). I read most of the way, slept for 4 hours, and watched TV once for this documentary about Whales. Interesting facts about whales…:

  • Whales migrate using the Earth’s magnetic field, as they apparently have iron oxide particles in their bodies. Might I have some of those? My sense of direction is abysmal at best.
  • The average humpback whale eats about 5,000 pounds of krill per day. I’ll remember that the next time I eat two 4x4s so I don’t feel so bad.
  • The white markings on whales are as unique to each whale as fingerprints are to us. Pretty cool!

I read a large chunk of my copy of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, which I highly recommend if you are at all interested in world mythology, Americana, or dark humor. A perfectly random mix that makes for an adventure as tumultuous and trippy as they come.

I accidentally managed to convince the flight attendant that I was German with the limited Deutsche I know, until I forgot the word for tea (it’s “Tee”, by the way).

We had a short layover in Frankfurt, which proved to be a mini-adventure in and of itself. The airport in Frankfurt is nice, if not a bit sterile.

Then, as if things weren’t rad enough already, we arrived in Roma at around 6:30 pm. After a minor luggage-finding snafu, we made our way to the Westin Excelsior and freshened up for a night on the town. We walked from our hotel and down the beautiful Spanish steps:

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In the Italian tradition, we began dining around 9:00 pm and did so at a restaurant on Campo de Fiori called RJ Numbs; my review follows.

REVIEW – RJ Numbs Restaurant – Campo de Fiori 28/29, 00186 Roma, Italia

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*All restaurant reviews rate the restaurant on four criteria: ambiance, service, and food preceded by a brief, general description.
We stumbled upon RJ Numbs after finding ourselves sitting on an hour-long waitlist at nearby Il Gabriello. We were both famished and cherished the modern-looking, busy environment that seemed to invite us in readily. The place has characteristics that are typical of most European cafes, with a nod to American culture via Roman Holiday stills placed against red walls inside.
ambiance – Like I said, it’s cute, chic, and clean place that certainly attracted a lot of customers. We sat outside and had Americans on both sides, which didn’t bother us too much. But be warned, this does appear to be a bit of a tourist-y place. Nonetheless, it’s a nice place to be at night for a casual dinner. (3/5)
service – It took a while for us to get seated, but I chalked it up to it being prime dinner time for the locals. Service was nothing spectacular, but certainly good for a busy, European restaurant. (4/5)
food – We ordered a tomato and basil bruschetta, a porcini mushroom crostini, roasted vegetables, and two salads. Sounds like a lot of food, but was extremely reasonable in terms of portion size; to be expected in Europe. Everything was fabulous except for my Greek salad, which was certainly edible and fresh, but pale in comparison to the creamy, richly umami crostini. (4.5/5)
cost – You’re looking at a minimum of 15€/person if you want to split an appetizer and get an insalate or cheap secondi. As with the United States, sit-down restaurants are going to be markedly more expensive than an osteria or tavola calda. Italy Protip: Wait staff are generally not tipped unless you’re spending upwards of 50€/person. However, there is a small tip already included in the bill for many restaurants, called the pane e coperto (“bread and cover” charge). ($$/$$$$)
I will see you all tomorrow, hopefully with pictures that are NOT simply iPhone shots. Hahaha. Bear with me now…this will pay off! Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow!
Thought of the day: When you’re having an off moment: close your eyes, look up at the sky, and think about all the great things you have.

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