Restaurant touts vs. fresh peas

Walking back from the outdoor market at Andrea Doria, Azure and I were accosted by a restaurant tout. With folded red napkins over one arm, and laminated English-language picture menus tucked into the other, these smooth-talking ‘waiters’ are more like seasoned cattle-drivers, their long days spent roundin’ up and herding tourists into the (not-particularly) ‘Italian Ristorante’ joints around Vatican City.

This time around, the tout hadn’t finished the opening bars of “Hello Mister, Good Pizza For You…” before spotting stalks of fresh asparagus peeping from our bags – also heavy with roman artichokes, fennel bulbs, sage, shallots, garlic, carrots, fresh peas, and Sicilian pachino tomatoes, to boot – whereupon he completely dropped his spiel and instead began to jealously ogle the produce.

Meanwhile, a second tout ambled over, at first wildly waving some menus of his own, then stopping, abruptly, to also admire the inventory of our plastic-bag cornucopias.

“Man, you guys really eat well at your place!”, the one tells us, with the other nodding rapidly in agreement, putting the menus away, and adding, quite seriously, “I think it’s always better, eating at home, anyways.”

Damn straight. Happy Easter!

photo of vatican easter mass, 2003

umbrellas out at the vatican easter mass, 2003

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