Downtown Arco Felice: DaRoberto's paninis

Trip Start Jan 11, 2007
Trip End Jan 15, 2010

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Flag of Italy  ,
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Arco Felice is filled with nice family-owned shops. We have several salumerias (meat & cheese shops) that sell all kinds of terrific Italian proscuittos, parmesan cheeses, olive oils, and other typical products. Fresh local produce is available year-round. The best pizzas in the world are available from wood-fired ovens, along with great gelato and pastries. You will never, never go hungry when you are in Italy.

I love lunch at DaRoberto's. It is open for lunch and occasionally for dinner, although like most places in town, it's a family-owned business so they are a little flexible about the hours of operation. There are no signs or hours posted on the door that I can see. I think the policy is that they open when it gets close to lunchtime, and they close when business slows down in the afternoon or they run out of food and no one is coming into the restaurant anymore. It is a nice relaxed attitude, definitely not the American way of rules and regulations. I think the family lives above the restaurant like most Italian families do, and the way many American business owners did back in the early 20th century. It seems very convenient to me.

My first experience with DaRoberto's was on the first day we moved into our gated parco community, which is similar to a condo community in America. We wanted to buy lunch for the movers to express our thanks for their hard work. The supervisor wrote what they wanted on a slip of paper and off I went, with the ability to smile and say about six words of Italian. The bread store was my first stop but that proved a bust when I showed them the paper and they turned out to have only bread. Another stop was a strikeout as well when that store was only a meat store. DaRoberto's was the final stop and I hit the jackpot.

The Mama glared at me with that stare that I now recognize as "the stare" that seems to come from all Italian mamas: sizing you up, checking you out, determining who you are as a foreigner and what you want. My little piece of paper was like a peace offering and request: I do not mean harm; may I have eight panini sandwiches please. Yes, they would make them, according to her 25 yr. old daughter who spoke a bit of English. As I waited for the sandwiches, I stood in front of large glass counters filled with four-quart dishes of roasted vegetables, peppers, roast pork, fresh pastas, homemade meatballs, and more. I watched the customers fill large take-out boxes or order plates to eat on the sunny patio outside. The scent of the roasted vegetables was incredible, and I knew that whatever sandwiches the movers had requested, they would be delicious based on what I was smelling and seeing in the glass cases. Mama continued to glare at me each time she passed. As the young daughter walked by, I asked her how to say the word for aroma in Italian. The next time Mama came by, I told her that the "perfuma" was beautiful, wonderful, incredible, and her face burst into the biggest smile you could imagine. By complementing her cooking and attempting to say it in Italian, I had broken the ice, and that was the way to Mama's heart.

Now when I go to DaRoberto's for lunch, or simply pass by Mama on the street, I always receive a friendly "Ciao" and a smile. I do not seem so suspicious to her I suppose, and perhaps she thinks I know enough to appreciate good cooking.
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Blenda Simms on

I'm so enjoying my trip back in time to the wonders of sight and smell that was our daily experience in Arco Felica. Hey, if you want we could run away from home back to Paradiso????

Blenda Simms on

Oh, No!!! I've already been away too long, I misspelled my beloved home away from home, Arco Felice.

Blenda Simms on

May the Gods of Paradiso forgive me.

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