Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Rome - Quelli della Notte

Two in the morning and a fit of hunger, what to do?

The accident on the Milano-Rome Expressway had lengthened our trip by several hours.

As we are entering Rome it is already 2:00 AM. Dinner had been lost to the accident just before Bologna involving 27 vehicles. It has been a really long day I have not eaten anything yet and both Raffaella and Gianluca are beginning to show some concern for their safety. We stopped by several of our usual haunts and nothing was open. We could go by the train station termini and maybe one of the street vendor would be there but that is a really tough part of town at 2:00 in the morning.

I knew the young crowd in Rome had various places to hang out. I thought well we could go to a disco and maybe get a piece of pizza. So I asked, “Gianluca, do you know of anyplace where we can get a slice of pizza or even better Wustel e Krauti?” Wustel e Krauti are German hotdogs-sausage with Sauerkraut.

Hesitantly Gianluca responded, “There is a place in via Tuscolana that opens at 10:00 pm and stays open all night, but Mr. Anderson, this is a real down to earth place. Since everyone knows they are open all night they get a very unusual crowd.”

“Wurstel e Krauti, mmmmmm” I thought, aloud.

During my earlier years in Italy, working until late at night, I would stop at one of the street vendors and buy Sausage and Krauti. I love Wurstel e Krauti, even in Germany it is difficult to find Wurstel e Krauti unless you can get close to some of the locals and get invited to the local Beergarten.

We park in a small alley on the side of the store. The storefront of “Quelli della Notte” is glass so you can see everything going on inside. The door is always open and there is no heating. In the winter you should wear your coat. The L shaped grill – counter takes up the entire left side of the room. A few chairs and bar tables are scattered around the open area and 2 televisions are turned on with 3 or 4 groups of young people chatting. In the area between the grill and the glass counter there are numerous grilled and fresh vegetables, dried meats, Sauerkraut, bell peppers preserved in oil, and the typical onions, tomatoes and lettuce.

Behind the grill is a big girl, not fat, just big. She could easily be a female wrestling participant, wearing a tight t-shirt. There is not a list of what you can put in the sandwich, I think that is because they have just about anything you could think of. They have hamburger, cooked just how you want it, Salame, Sausage, Tuna, Anchovies, dried meats, Omelets, Eggs, Spaghetti with sauce (yes, spaghetti in a sandwich), Salmon, and many others. Tell the chef what you want and how you want it cooked. Chose the bread type and whether it should be heated on the grill and what vegetables you want inside.

Order a beer or pick up a coke from the fridge by the entrance and take a position at one of the tall tables. When it is ready the chef will call it out and you pick it up, hot off the grill. Remember what you ordered and pay at the door as you leave.

An important note: if you happen to go there during soccer season remember Roma is number 1 and avoid wearing a light blue and white shirt (colors of Lazio).


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