A Roman Feast

Hey, Vegas! I want to tell you about my first day in Rome. We landed at 11:30 a.m. and took a cab to our hotel. I can practically throw a rock to the Spanish steps from the hotel lobby; it’s amazing.

I couldn’t wait to take my friends Jay Beckman and Johnny Drama to Compa di Fore Square to eat the best pizza in the world—a verdict that was in, after the first bite, then re-delivered again and again through the 20th bite. Delicious.

We stayed there for four hours, just eating red and white pizza and, yes, drinking vino. We were like kids in a candy store! One more slice, please, senior! I had to remind myself that it was only our first day.

We left the square and tried to walk off the pizza and vino, but of course I had to stop everywhere that looked good for either a slice of pizza or some salumi. After all that eating and drinking and walking, I had to take a nap before I could get ready for dinner.

We went to a local place (ie: a place that most tourists avoid or cannot find) called Alto. I explained that I work Vegas, and the chef, Mateo, came to the table and we chatted for a while about food and (of course) Vegas. Our chit chat was the verbal appetizer for what proved to be a great Roman dinner. It started with salumi, then fried artichokes and cheese, then a phenomenal risotto with summer truffles. YUM. Then it was pesce of the day—that’s fish for all you non-Italians—and some great, soft gnocchi.

Thank you, chef; what a way to start a trip. After that we went to a wine bar. Well, all I can say about that was the vino was pouring and we turned the place into Vegas.

By all accounts, we had a great first day and night. The next morning I woke up with—wow, no hangover!—which is goed because I have a meeting with N9NE Group chef partner (and my mentor) Michael Kornick in a few hours. Guess where we will meet: You know it! Alforno in Campo di Fiore Square. I really cannot stress it enough: This the. Best. Pizza.

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OK, so it is Sunday morning here, so that means it is Saturday night for all of you. Let me tell you about my Saturday. The day started out with the boys meeting up with Michael Kornick (again, he’s a chef partner of N9NE Group, which owns my restaurant, Nove Italiano, at the Palms) and his wife, Lisa, at Forno for some more of the best pizza. That’s right, I said it again: The best pizza!