It was on June 25th, 1988 that Beth and I were married, and so on the 25th anniversary of that date, we decided to relax during the day and celebrate at night!
Our day started off with a relaxing breakfast on the terrace of our hotel overlooking Rome and the Villa Borghese gardens.
After breakfast, we walked through the park at Villa Borghese, as well as visiting their zoo. After that, we walked back to the hotel, sat on the street side lounges on Via Veneto, and drank wine while we watched the people and traffic go by for the rest of the afternoon.
It was enjoyable to watch the smartly dressed Italians stroll by as well as observing the various modes of transportation used by the Italians. Bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, cars and trucks of all sizes were used despite the small roman streets. however, small cars are ‘big’ here:
For dinner, I arranged for something special to take use to dinner; a chauffeur driven $450K Rolls Royce Phantom.
Being Chased By Paparazzi
Our chauffeur drove us around the city of Rome for an hour and a half before taking us to dinner. It was hilarious to Beth and I to watch as people were stopping to take pictures and try and figure out which famous couple was riding in the back seat. Because the windows were tinted, people couldn’t see well for the side of the car, but there was one inventive couple that was determined to find out who was riding in the Rolls. They drove past us and pulled directly in front of us, and the woman passenger leaned out her passenger window and turned to the rear so she could look through the un-tinted windshield. She was hanging half in, and half out, of the car like that for twenty seconds or so until she got a smile on her face and slid back inside her car. I don’t know who she thought she saw, but I hope we made her day. I guess this was our paparazzi moment…
However, our rock star moment arrived shortly thereafter when we went around a corner and the bottle of champagne and ice tipped over and spilled on the floor just prior to arriving at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel where our dinner was at. You should have seen the look on the doorman’s face as he opened my door and ice cubes fell out. I just nodded and proceeded as if all were normal – even as he stood there with the door opened looking at the mess inside.
La Pergola is the only Michelin 3-star restaurant in Rome, and one of only seven in all of Italy. Not only are the food and service here exceptional, the view is quite awesome as well (especially from the hard-to-get terrace seats).
We were seated on the terrace by Simone Pinoli with a spectacular view overlooking the Eternal City and served a choice of apertifs. We chose an Italian Xxxxxxx, which was light and not too bubbly for our tastes. Then came our first surprise of the evening; a water list. No, I did not spell that incorrectly. [W. A. T. E. R. – Water list.] We were presented with a list of almost 30 different bottled waters from around the world. So, being somewhat of a connoisseur of wine, but not water, we told the waiter to recommend something from Italy (we were in Rome after all). He recommended a very low mineral (sediment measured in parts per billion) water from the Dolomites. I guess it tasted good – we drank over 2 bottles of it during our four hour feast.
Next we would have normally been presented with the wine list that would allow us to select wine from La Pergola’s expansive 50,000+ bottle wine cellars. I did pass on reviewing their three different wine lists however. Why three wine lists? Because they have so many wines in their cellar, their wine lists are correspondingly lengthy. As such, they have one wine list dedicate to white wines, while two others are dedicated to reds; one for just Italian reds, and the other for “International Reds”. The wine list for the Italian reds comprised almost 60 pages!
However, with this being a special day, I had pre-arranged with our wine guides Tim and Paul to work with La Pergola’s sommelier to select a delicious red wine from the year we were married; 1988 (a wine and marriage both aged nicely for 25 years). The three of them combined to recommended an absolutely delicious 1988 Scarpa Tettinieve Barbaresco (an Italian wine made from Nebbiolo grapes).
Now we were presented with the dinner menu, of which we did not look at long, as we already knew that we wanted to order the 9 course Grand Tasting menu.
The excellent food was served in the following order:
- Amberjack marinated in white balsamic vinegar with pomegranate snow
- Grilled “La Perle Blanche” oysters on pumpkin cream with parsley puff
- Fagottelli “La Pergola”
- King prawns in tempura on a purée of fried squids
- Black cod with marinated anchovy vinaigrette and sweet chili pepper
- Leg of lamb with artichokes cooked in ash and crisp potato crumble
- Selection of cheese
- Grand dessert
All of the items were exceptionally good; with the Woodland and Fagotelli (house specialties) in particular, being standouts.
Four hours later we were being rolled out of the restaurant!
It was a great way to celebrate our 25 years together!