It’s too chilly in Rome for iced coffee but the antidote was a toasted pocket pizza with tantalizing and meaty fillers for a quickie dinner.
On arrival at the exquisitely appointed Air BNB in Testaccio, daughter and discoverer of discriminating accommodations took our host’s recommendation for dinner and led us to Trappizzino.
It’s a short, safe walk from the Marmorata Building and past numerous inviting cafes and restaurants still open to business after 9pm on a weeknight.
After entering the first door to Trappizino, we are told that we are in a wine bar. If we want food we should go next door. We follow instructions and U-turn. We go next door and order what appear to be pocket pizzas.
While that may not sound so appealing, we quickly realize that we are in a gourmet ghetto. Choices of octopus, tongue or a variety of other meats are delicately flavored with pesto or marinara sauce and inserted into lightly toasted focaccia envelopes.
As we wait for our orders to be processed, we peruse the joint and the scant table layout. Sides appear to be non-existent, so we focus on the drink case. Hmm, I thought. Was that price of 9.80€, written in scrolly cursive the way Europeans write, the price of a glass, or a bottle?
Couldn’t break my reticence to ask. It didn’t matter, the counter server advised, go next door for wine, where there are more tables and a better environment for dining. We pay a whopping price of 8€ for food and collect our prizes.
Clad with our pizzas fully exposed and mounted in a custom-designed wire toast holder, we traipse back over next door. Business looked like it had picked up, with a couple hovered at the prime window spot showcasing the presence of customers.
We settle on a hightop and pursue the wine mystery. This side of the establishment is serious about drinks. A number of specialty beers are displayed in the refrigerated cases and stare longingly at our religiously unfulfilled table. One beer displays printed labels for Trappizzino, with each of the letters T-R-A-P-P-I-Z-Z-I-N-O on 11 bottles in a row.
Further down the cases are bottles of local wine, in competition with the beers.
I quickly choose a bottle of Roman wine slightly above 9.80€ and pay for it. The hostess brings my selection over to our table and in Italian words, animated gestures, and truth-telling facial expressions communicate that she is unable to open the wine for us.
After some confusion about why she was unable to perform this task (out of plastic cups? was wine drinking prohibited in a wine bar on a Tuesday night after 9pm? Did we really look that young, just because we were Asian?!? Had we triggered some violation of Italian protocol by purchasing a bottle of weed-laced wine, that could not be served in a public establishment?!?)
We soon deduct that she is telling us that she must go next door to get someone to open the bottle for her.
Apparently she is afflicted with a wine shop worker-related injury. She has developed carpal tunnel wine bottle opener syndrome!
Melissa quickly steps up and offers to uncork the wine. The hostess smiles, gratefully relieved. Business is now standing room only, and it’s one less trip next door, into the 4 degrees of separation.