Friday, January 27, 2006

Good Places in New York

  • Totonno's. 1524 Neptune Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11224
    I deem it the best pizza in New York. (Sorry, Di Fara). I only vouch for the one in Brooklyn, which is the sole genuine Totonno's. The crust is crisp, even in the very center of the pie. The sauce is more powerful than it was on any pizza I had in Italy. It could be that I had atypical Italian pizza, but I think this is one of the characteristic differences between American and Italian pizza. (American pizza means New York pizza.) I prefer the New York version. Thanks to Joel and Cynthia for giving me an excuse to go there.
  • El Chile Verde. 222 Bushwick Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11206
    This Mexican restaurant in Bushwick has the best Mexican food I've had in New York. (Southwesterners: feel free to belittle me for mentioning Mexican food in New York.) Last summer, it was half-grocery and half-restaurant. When I went there last week, I thought I was in the wrong place, because the grocery part is gone. I like the guaraches, which are fried corn dough with beans, vegetables, and meat, but everything is good. It's cheap ($5 gets you plenty of food), and you'll be the coolest kid on your block when you go where most hipsters dare not: past Williamsburg. The Village Voice mentioned it here. Thanks to Rios for having the good sense to live across the steet from it.
  • Hasaki. 210 E. 9th St., New York, NY 10003
    Japanese food is the antidote to Hungarian food. I really like their sushi and their eel. Thanks to my grandfather for taking me there often.
  • The Museum of Television and Radio. 25 West 52 Street, New York, NY 10019
    I went there today with my brother and it was empty. How is a museum devoted to television unpopular? The main attraction is their library. You sit down at their ancient Mac computers (they've been there since I first went there more than ten years ago), pick out whatever shows you want to watch, and go down a flight of stairs to watch them in a room filled with TVs and headphones. I watched Elvis Costello break into an unplanned song on Saturday Night Live, which even back then was terrible. I also watched the Animaniacs; I was worried that like many things I liked in my childhood, it would turn out to be no good. But I remembered it right: it's still funny. Thanks to my brother for getting us in for free.

I haven't been as methodical as I planned about recording what I eat. When I get to Budapest and prepare my own meals more often, I promise I'll be better.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

1/5 to Present

  • Pasta with meat sauce (no ground beef). I made this the other day; it's good and easy, though it takes at least an hour. Take a piece of beef or veal on the bone (shank is best, but I used short ribs) and brown it in olive oil in a pot. Then, make tomato sauce in that pot in the usual way, cooking some garlic, onions, carrots, and tomatoes, and stirring occasionally. After about an hour, take out the meat, cut it up, throw out the bones, and put it back in the sauce. I'd give details, but I don't want to plagiarize the wonderful Mark Bittman, whose only fault is that he doesn't like ketchup.
  • Fusion Crepes on the Bowery near Grand St. The pancake is French; the fillings are not. I had a Nippon Ajo (formerly known as Nippon Deska--the proprietor told me that someone who actually knew Japanese corrected him), which is mushrooms, tofu, seaweed, Japanese barbeque sauce, mayo, and bonito flakes. It was weird enough that I didn't like it till the third bite or so. After that it was delicious. Get it without mayo, though. See also the Gothamist's review.
  • Lard. Jeffrey Steingarten, who has no faults, says that lard is better for you than Crisco and no worse for you than butter. I demand apologies from everyone who laughed at me for saying that. (I probably shouldn't demand apologies yet, since Mr. Steingarten gives no source for this fact.) I will experiment with lard in Hungary.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Wednesday, 1/4

  • breakfast: burgonyás pogácsa (potato scones)
  • lunch/dinner: airplane food; Heineken
  • dessert: chocolate crepe
  • meal for confused, jet-lagged body: lentil soup

I like potato pogácsa because they're less buttery than most other kinds, and I like my breakfasts bland and wholesome.

The airplane food was perfectly edible, but not worth writing about. I enjoyed a snack of beer and crackers while I watched the Wallace and Gromit movie, which was not as good as I expected. Later I listened to Thriller, which was every bit as good as I expected.

Tuesday, 1/3

  • breakfast: croissant; orangina
  • lunch: sült hurka on bread; pickle
  • dinner: pheasant consommé; catfish with garlic and spinach; wine (Tokaji furmint); Sómloi galuska (cake, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, rum); cassis bavaroise

The croissant was not bad for coming from an airport. I had orangina since Joel told me it was French.

There was a butcher in the Kőbánya-Kispest metro station, so I bought some lunch while Joel bought metro tickets. It was after lunch, so they were out of kolbász (a kind of sausage), and I instead had to get hurka, a sausage made out of rice and pork liver. It wasn't good. A Hungarian family once gave me their homemade hurka, which was good, so it's not just dislike of liver that makes me say that.

We went to Borbíróság for our final meal in Budapest. Everything was good, though the soup was too oily and the catfish was overseasoned. (It was good enough, though, to make me resolve to cook catfish next semester, as it's one of the few easily available fishes in Budapest.) Borbíróság is a nice place, whatever Pestiside says about them, but they have a huge menu and not everything on it is great. I offer these guidelines for eating there:

  • skip the appetizers, except for the tongue and, if you're in the mood for it, the paté
  • order duck or a fogásfilé (hidden somewhere at the end of the menu)
  • try different wines--this is the best chance in Budapest to do that
  • desserts are big enough for two people

Monday, 1/2

  • breakfast: half of a baguette au campagne
  • lunch: falafel sandwich, frites, lemonade from L'As du Falafel
  • dinner: dinner: pumpkin soup; steak au poivre; caramel sundae; wine

The falafel sandwich we got was supposed to be noteworthy. It was fine, but I've had better in Budapest. More places should start putting pickled cabbage into falafel sandwiches in the Hungarian style. (Oasis in Williamsburg does.) The lemonade was good.

For dinner we went to Polidor, which Joel's father recommended. The pumpkin soup was completely unexciting. I have fonder memories of the pumpkin soup at my local taqueria, a restaurant that I don't even like. The steak was good, though possibly because we never go to expensive restaurants we never get the best cuts. They're never dense. (I've never heard anyone describe good steak as dense, but good steak seems to somehow have more meat packed into a smaller space.) I'm still happy to be somewhere where not all meat is pork and not all meat is overseasoned. My dessert was not what I wanted: I was aiming for caramel ice cream with chocolate sauce, but instead got caramel ice cream with caramel sauce. It was still pretty good, especially the whipped cream.

Sunday, 1/1

  • lunch: crepe with mushroom and egg
  • dinner: duck breast with honey sauce and gratin Dauphinois
  • dessert: chocolate crepe
  • after-dinner snack: ritz crackers

The crepe at lunch was disappointing. The pancake itself was good, but nothing else was. The mushrooms were too squishy and didn't have any flavor. The whole thing was bland; even salt and pepper would have improved it.

We spent most of the day at the Musèe Pompidou, a museum whose pipe-laden exterior is meant to shock, where we saw a contemporary art exhibit. Each room had a subject. The "minimalism" room had Steve Reich music playing in the background. The "violence" room had a video called Media Burn by a group called Ant Farm documenting the media event they created by driving a 1959 Cadillac into a wall of televisions. From a room whose subject I can't remember was a video from the eighties of a party, with all the characters played by children but voiced by adults. I think Phil Hartman did the voice for the main character. The worst thing there were paintings by Piet Mondrian, who I have hated ever since at a young age I went to a Mondrian exhibit and passed through room after room of blue, yellow, and red squares.

Dinner was great food from a little bar. In the middle of the meal, a man came up to our table and started talking nonsense English. As Joel's friend Dongbo explained, he was making fun of us because we were speaking English, which happens often. The duck was excellent (at least after I had traded my duck for Joel's, which for some reason was rarer), but the impressive part of the dish was the honey sauce, which I have vowed to reproduce. Our best guess was that it was a reduction sauce with honey, wine, garlic, and lots of pepper.

After dinner we went to something yesterday's French girls were talking about, basically an indoor county fair, as Joel described it. The indoor ferris wheel was less silly than it sounds, since the building (which was beautiful) had a lot of windows.

Ritz crackers are really good.

Saturday, 12/31

  • breakfast: pain au chocolat
  • lunch: escargot; steak tartare with fried potatoes and salad; wine; tarte tatin; crème brulée, poached pair
  • dinner: brie; some other kind of cheese; crackers; sausage; bread; champagne; clementines

The chocolate in the pain au chocolat was really good chocolate.

At lunch I took every opportunity to order weird things. The snails were delicious: little chewy balls drenched in basil. I scooped up the excess sauce with the bread, which was the best I've ever eaten. The waitress made sure I understood what steak tartare was before she let me order it. It really was like beef sushi. I don't just mean just that it's raw and so is sushi, but that it really tasted like sushi. It was seasoned with horseradish, which made that connection even more apparent. Crystal tried it and liked it; Joel didn't dare. The only problem with it is that a huge mound of raw beef is too much. The fried potatoes and salad that came with it helped to break the monotony, but the dish would have been better as an appetizer. All the desserts were amazing. The tarte tatin was especially good for its strong caramel flavor.

The brie at dinner was very good, as were the rolls we got. The champagne was great (it was praised as being nothing like the champagne served to us at our end-of-semester party). After we ate we met up with Joel's friend Dongbo (great name) and his French friends, who when I asked told me they didn't speak English, Spanish, or Hungarian. We went to the Champs-Elysees, where there was no countdown to midnight, forcing people just to cheer randomly as it got close.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Friday, 12/30

  • breakfast: bread, cereal, orange juice
  • lunch: duck with basil, beef with peppers, fried dumplings, Singha beer
  • dinner: ham, gherkin sandwich on olive bread; mushroom pizzette (miniature pizza); challah-like bread; strawberry tarte

Breakfast was free hostel food.

Geneva has lots of Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurant, and they didn't look bad. We needed a break from European food, we had it at a Thai/Chinese restaurant, and it was good. The restaurant had listed on a chalkboard where each kind of meat came from. We couldn't skip duck, then, once we noticed the country supplying it was none other than Hungary.

The best part of the meal was the slightly pickled vegetables that came with each dish, like a non-spicy version of kimchi. They were like Hungarian pickled vegetables, but tasted more like vegetables and less like pickles.

According to my journal (the hand-written one), we also had "things" at lunch, apparently after the beef with peppers but before the fried dumplings. I'm sure they were great.

In the afternoon we went to an exhibit of art inspired by Wagner's operas. It had some big-name paintings (a Monet, a Gauguin), but my favorite part was a screening of scenes from movies that had Wagner in the background. This included Birth of a Nation, which has the Ride of the Valkyries playing as the KKK, wearing ludicrous hats, heroically stops the marauding blacks.

Our Swiss francs, soon to be useless, were burning holes in our pockets. We had no choice buy to buy a lot of dinner (horrors!). My sandwich was amazing. You would think that ham, gherkins, and olives would combine to make a salty mess, but they really worked well together. The strawberries in the tarte were excellent; I was shocked that they could be that good in the middle of winter. The bread tasted like challah without sugar, which wasn't the best bread for eating plain, but would be a really useful thing for sandwiches--I never want to use challah for them, since it's always too sweet. Along with my dinner, I got a free beer for having to wait an hour for the TGV train to Paris, as it was apparently lost in the snow.

To express how interminable our trip was, I have to reproduce my journal exactly. Keep in mind that our train had already been delayed an hour.

Now, our train has come to a stop in the middle of France. There was an announcement, and in my best French I asked the cute and much-too-stylish girl across from us what happened. She is wearing square, black glasses with the thickest frames I've ever seen; a grey jacket like you'd see on hipster men; a jacket with a fur-lined hood; a silver watch, also square (to match the glasses?); and a bag that looks like leather trying to look like snakeskin, with a patch of fur thrown in. I like all of it, except for bag, which makes me wonder if there's a mythological reptilian ermine-cow that could explain it. She answers, and I catch the words "accident mechanique" and "temps indetermé." (I have probably written this improperly.)

I have chosen the wrong time to finish my book, Independent People by Halldór Laxness. It took me several months to read the first ten pages, but I liked the rest of it, even though it has no sympathetic characters and is incredibly depressing.

Eventually, Joel and I did talk to the girl across from us, he in French and I in Spanish. (Her native language is Portuguese.) As it happens, she's so fashionable because she works in the fashion industry. She was a model and now works at a magazine and a store importing Brazilian fashion. She commutes weekly between Paris and Geneva because nothing ever happens in Geneva. She pronounces Manhattan with no stress on the middle syllable, where all the stress belongs.

It's been more than an hour since the train broke down. After some announcements, our Brazilian friend explains that we're going to a station, and we can either switch to another train or stay on this one. She goes to another train. A bit later, so do we, ending up in her car again, where we continue our trilingual conversation.

At around 2 a.m., we get to Paris.

Thursday, 12/29

  • breakfast: croissant, jam, prosciutto, roll, orange juice, cappuccino
  • lunch: sparkling wine; horse stew with polenta
  • dinner: glass of prosecco; pressed prosciutto and cheese sandwich; expresso

As should be apparent, breakfast at the hotel was free.

When we entered the old Roman arena, we saw David, from our program, with his family. We tagged along with him for the day, which meant we had a fancier than expected lunch. Horse is a Veronese specialty. It tasted like brisket or pot roast; probably I would have thought it was beef if I had tried it unaware. The restaurant's polenta had a stronger corn flavor than what I make, which I blame on the bad corn meal in Budapest.

We paid our check and rushed off to catch our train, arriving at the station a very irresponsible five minutes after its scheduled departure. Never was I so happy to learn, then, that our train was forty minutes late. This meant we couldn't catch our connection, but we got our tickets switched to a direct train that would get us to Geneva a bit later than expected. And so, we ate a mediocre train station meal (prosecco was good, though).

Friday, January 13, 2006

Wednesday, 12/28

  • breakfast: cappuccino, brioche
  • lunch 1: tagliatelle with porcini from the market
  • lunch 2: mozzerella and prosciutto sandwich, also from the market
  • dinner: pasta stuffed with mushrooms; pasta stuffed with cheese; pasta in porcini sauce; cheese ravioli with walnuts; tagliatelle with chicken; amaretto semi-freddo; wine

Yesterday, we got an email from Crystal, who was supposed to meet us in Verona. She had gone to Venice, failed to meet Jian because his plane was late, gotten scared of the her hostel's neighborhood, and returned to Budapest. I sent her an email trying to convince her to come that was almost entirely about food. Joel called her and, without even mentioning food, convinced her to come to Paris. Meanwhile, Jian sent us an email asking for our "contact information" and is now returning to Budapest. Why? Because he never found out where the hostel was. (I'm still not sure whether he expected us to tell him where it was in response to his question about our contact information.)

For about five minutes during the train ride up to Verona, a blizzard engulfed us. We went through a tunnel, came out, and it was sunny again.

The hostel in Verona was actually a hotel on the outskirts of the city. After we dropped our stuff there, we headed back into the center of the town, strolled a bit, and caught the bus back toward our hotel. We weren't sure what our stop looked like, and we got off the bus thinking we had missed it. We walked back for a few minutes before realizing we had no idea where we were; much panicking ensued. Someone in a store explained to me in Italian and in gestures that we had to go straight. He asked if we were walking. When I said yes, he grunted sympathetically and told me it would be a long way. After a brisk walk that at the very least improved our appetites, it was time for dinner.

The restaurant we went to had no menu, so we were mostly at the mercy of our waiter, who got lots of pasta for us. Any one of them alone would have been very good; the ravioli with walnuts would have been excellent. Together, it was a bit much. I do understand now why pasta is usually a first course. The dessert was like tiramisù, but with the mascarpone and coffee replaced by ice cream and amaretto.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tuesday, 12/27

  • breakfast: cappuccino, brioche
  • lunch 1: mozzerella and soppressata sandwich
  • lunch 2: mozzerella, tomato, and lettuce sandwich
  • dinner: risotto with vegetables; meatballs with mashed potatoes and tomato sauce; panna cotta with chocolate sauce; wine (from Cipolline Rosso)

The soppressata is similar to what I get in Brooklyn, except that this one was about half meat and half fat. I prefer the Brooklyn version.

The mozzerella in my second sandwich wasn't up to Italian standards, but the tomato was really good. Italian tomatoes in December are better than American ones in August. If I could have combined my two sandwiches--mozzerella and bread from the first, tomato and lettuce from the second--it would have made a really good sandwich.

In the Uffizi, I spent about fifteen minutes staring at Titian's Venus of Urbino. In the background, there's a domestic scene: a woman and a girl with their backs turned, the girl looking through a trunk. In the foreground, there's a dog and a nude woman looking very comfortable. I was sad to leave the painting, but when I was in the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo's David, I noticed a sculpture that was an exact copy of the woman in the painting. It was in a room that you could peer into but not enter, so I have no idea who made it. Someone must have liked the painting too.

We asked the woman who ran the hostel to recommend a restaurant for us, and she sent us to Cipolline Rosso. Risotto came incredibly hot--possibly it had been microwaved. It was good anyway, getting a lot of flavor out of peas and carrots. I though I had ordered octopus (pulpo in Spanish), but polpette turned out to mean meatballs. They were light, both in texture and in flavor, and were delicious. The mashed potatoes were ethereal, incredibly light and fluffy. They seemed not to weigh anything on my fork, even. The panna cotta was delicious; the excellent chocolate sauce was its main flavor.

Monday, 12/26

  • breakfast: leftover piece of bread; cappuccino
  • pistachios
  • lunch: two slices reheated pizza, one with pink, crumbly sausage, one with eggplant
  • coffee gelato
  • coffee
  • dinner: bresaola, arugula, and parmesan salad; pizza with ham and radicchio; wine

Italian cappuccino is really good, even in train stations.

We took the slow and cheap train to Florence. Italy is a lot hillier than Hungary.

The pizza at lunch was the thick, square kind. The slice with sausage wasn't bad; the sausage and crust, at least, were good. The eggplant slice had been sitting around for much too long and was no good.

After being turned away from one place for dinner, we were accepted at another, where my pronunciation of the word "due" was apparently so convincing that we were given the menu not in English, but in Italian. The bresaola was terrific, drier and less salty than yesterday's. The salad was a bit much for one person to eat. The pizza was imperfect. I had ordered it for the radicchio on it, which didn't disappoint; the cheese, ham, and crust did, unfortunately. The pizza's biggest problem was that it had too much cheese piled onto it, which made the crust soggy in the middle.

I haven't been mentioning the wine, but the Italian house wine is always good. Everywhere I've been, it's been light enough that I could drink it like soda. I haven't had the white, just the red.

Sunday, 12/25

  • breakfast: mozzerella di bufala and bread
  • lunch: Napoli pizza (i.e., mozzerella and tomato sauce pressed sandwich) and cafè lattè
  • dinner: bresaola, arugula, and parmesan salad; ravioli with seafood; wine; crème caramel

Christmas closed down much of Rome, limiting our choice of food. After breakfast--bread and mozzerella, kept for a day at room temperature and getting worse every minute--we made a last, hopeless attempt to see the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums. There was a big crowd on the metro, which we followed to St. Peter's Basilica. The balcony there looked like it was being readied for the pope, so we stuck around, and lo--there was the pope. He gave a short speech in Italian and then repeated it in Spanish, French, English (heavily accented), and German. He read a paragraph in a few other languages, and then wished us a merry Christmas in about twenty different ones. His Hungarian was well pronounced.

Lunch was a panino (singular of panini!) with bad tomato sauce, decent mozzerella, and good bread. The coffee was excellent, even if I broke the rules of Italian coffee by getting it.

We spent much of the afternoon walking. We saw the remains of a very old and pretty bridge over the Tiber. Along the way I made Joel practice saying things in Hungarian (for my own benefit, of course) until he got sick of it. I enjoyed it, though.

We ended up in Trastevere (the neighborhood across the Tiber--see, Italian is easy). Joel was exhausted, so even though it was early, we stopped for dinner. The bresaola was fine but too salty; the arugula was amazing, more peppery and intense than typical arugula. Next was ravioli in a light tomato sauce with clams, mussels, shrimp, and prawns. I'd never had a prawn before (in fact, I had to look them up to make sure that's what they were); they were very sweet and not at all fishy. It was an excellent pasta. It was a lot of work to eat, which was good since I had accidentally ordered an entire bottle of wine instead of a quarter liter. It took long enough to eat that I was able to drink it all, minus the little bit Joel had.

I left my hat at the restaurant and went back to get it. I didn't have to go inside, because someone had put it on the doorknob of the entrance. I'm not sure whether they were leaving it for me, or for the needy and hatless on Christmas.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Saturday, 12/24

  • meal 1: baguette
  • meal 2: roast pork sandwich from Franchi
  • meal 3: prosciutto and mozzerella sandwich from same grocery store as yesterday
  • coffee
  • meal 4: pasta with artichokes; oxtail in tomato sauce; tiramisù

When we checked into the hostel, one of the workers came over to our room to say hello to us. He asked what languages we spoke, and then started talking to me in Spanish. (My Spanish is still better than my Hungarian, but is getting pretty bad.) He told us that there were some chicas bonitas in our room, and that they were Japanese. I had some trouble waking up due to the mere three hours of sleep I had the night before, which left Joel to chat up these girls while I took a shower. When we left, he informed me that they were Chinese, not pretty, and had spent a full hour putting on makeup.

Our lunch was from Franchi, which is like one of my neighborhood's Italian food stores but five times as big. You order your food, get a receipt for it, take it to the cashier and pay, and then return for your food. They usually have pizza, calzones, and suppli, but didn't when we were there because they were dealing with the Christmas rush. I got roast pork; too bad I missed out on their roast beef, which was beautifully red in the middle (I didn't see it till afterwards). It was good, although Hungary has left me sick of pork.

My next sandwich was again excellent. I had a fun time trying to talk to the sandwich guy in Italian, who managed to convey to us that he was giving us mozzerella di bufala and that it was the best, and then gave us sandwiches heavier on mozzerella than they day before. They were better sandwiches, and they also cost a lot more. (The sandwich costs exactly the price of the ingredients, with no extra charge for assembling the sandwich.)

For dinner, we walked past the Colisseum and Circus Maximus to Testaccio, a neighborhood said to be hip. On Christmas Eve, it was more just abandoned, but we found a restaurant. Pasta with artichokes was a great appetizer and struck me as really easy to make: it looked like just artichokes, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. Oxtail with tomato sauce was good, but I would have preferred something that wasn't a stew, since Hungarian cuisine is almost entirely stews and I'm tired of them. The dish was similar to a pasta sauce Joel and I made once: tomato sauce with a tough cut of beef cooked in it. Our meat came out chewy, while the oxtail was falling apart. That bit of chewiness and being over pasta made our dish better than the restaurant's. Tiramis
ù was good though unexciting.

Friday, 12/23

Lunch: mozzerella and prosciutto sandwich from a grocery store on Via Urbana
Dinner: pizza with mushrooms and onions; tomato bruschetta; suppli (fried ball of rice, mozzerella, and tomato sauce) from a restaurant whose name I will look up soon
Dessert: two Italian pastries, name unknown; gelato, from a famed gelateria whose name I'll look up soon

The pizza was completely crisp--not a soggy spot to be found. That's crisper (more crisp?) than any New York pizza I've had, almost chip-like. There was very little sauce; the focus was really on the cheese and the toppings. The cheese was very good, with lots of flavor. The onions were onions, and the mushrooms were terrific, with a nice bit of char flavor to them.

Suppli is basically deep-fried pizza. (You'd think they'd have this in Hungary--possibly it's not porky enough for them.) The texture is different enough from pizza, though, that I could eat this with pizza (actually, after--we ordered it as our pizza was disappearing) without feeling like I was eating the same thing twice.

Everything I ate today tasted like mozzerella, which I'm happy to eat at every meal right now. The best New York mozzerella I've ever had was from a place across the BQE (possibly on Union St.) that closed a few years ago. It's not as good as the mozzerella here. The fight won't be fair, I guess, until we import some water buffaloes.

The pastries I had for dessert were sweet things that weren't crunchy, but were rigid, not soft at all. The outer layer is chocolate-flavored (like the chocolate cookies from Court Pastry), and their inside was lemony. They seem to melt a little bit as you bite into them. That's a label that gets attached to food--melting in your mouth--but these really do seem to. The first one I had was a bit stale; the second wasn't, and was much better.

The gelateria aims for the decor of a laboratory. They give you a gelato in a little cup, which, if they were serious about the whole thing, they ought to sterilize. I had pear, which wasn't so much like gelato as like a pear that happened to be cold. It had a rather rough texture and didn't taste at all creamy, which was good: pear has a delicate flavor and this let you have it unmasked.

Traffic in Rome is what New York traffic would be like if they took away all the traffic lights. It's more exciting to cross the street like this, and much more satisfying when you succeed.