After the requisite siesta, sorry, don’t know if that’s Italian or not and too tired right now to look it up, we went directly across the street to Harry’s Bar. What a fantastic bar and what a shame it attracts such a lame clientelle these days. If tonight was representative at all, that is. The opening gambit is a Manhattan for me, a Gibson for her. The Gibson seems fine by all accounts, although the number of onions is a bit overdone. I think any more than one is too much, but that’s me. The Manhattan is definitely of the sweet variety, and made with Seagrams VO, no less! This momentary lapse was more than made up for by the little crevette canapes they brought out for us. Deciding to let bygones be bygones, I moved on to a Negroni (on the rocks) while she sampled the Bellini, which is good, but not George V good. The bitterness of the Negroni more than compensates for the previous round.
And now for the main event. Is the best pizza in Rome, by default, the best pizza in the world? That’s what we set out to discover. Da Baffetto is just off the Piazza Navona and just down the street from where we had had the lovely lunch at Cul de Sac. Just like Grimaldi’s, there’s always a long line out front. (Party of swank, dressed-down-to-the-hilt bicoastals in line in front of us. I’d have to guess entertainment lawyer for the guy who seemed to be the leader.) And if there’s any other contender for the world’s best pizza, Grimaldi’s would have to be it. But here’s why I’m calling it for Da Baffetto. First off, everything else. A rocket salad that just rocked. Bruschetta that was beyond simple and rustic, just thick slices of great tomato on some toasted bread with olive oil. I though that for 13 ï¿½, the large Chianti would be a big glass or small pichet, but no, it was a whole bottle. Does-not-compute! It wasn’t bad, either. Quaffable pizza wine. But now for the pies themselves. Thin crust indeed! They make John’s or Grimaldi’s seem like deep dish in comparison. These are truly wafer thin. We went for two classics: a napoletana (always my fave) and a mushroom & onion. What to say? This is pizza.
Finished the evening having a nightcap on the Pizza della Rotonda, having a heated discussion on the nature of evil. My basic argument is that since humans have a concept of good and evil, but, in the aggregate choose the latter, they ain’t the former. For evidence, see the 20th century. Sitting in front of the Pantheon getting price-gouged at a tourist-trap terrace (but worth it for the mise en scene) is the perfect setting to have this conversation. But by the time we again pass the Trevi fountain, we’re too engaged to enjoy its marked stupidity. The fountain’s, that is.