One Hamburger, Per Favore – Hold the Bun

Do you remember Roscioli, the salumeria in which we had the testa di maiale? Sausage made in a pig’s head? (How could you forget!) I decided today that I wanted some testa di maiale for lunch, so in the middle of appointments and errands, I wound my way back to Roscioli. One table was empty at 1 p.m., and I snagged it.

Even though I knew what I wanted, I looked at the menu anyway, because it’s a fascinating menu and has so many delicious dishes. Lo and behold, one of the main courses was a hamburger. The description said, “Hamburger di ‘Razza Fassona’ alla piastra con bacon dorato—cheddar farmhouse, maionese espressa, salsa di Bloody Mary e mostarda (consigliata la cottura al sangue),” which means (loosely), “hamburger from the Italian piedmont area in northwestern Italy, with bacon, farmhouse cheddar, mayonnaise, Bloody Mary sauce, and mustard (should be cooked rare).”

Just last week I was thinking that I’d like a hamburger, so that sounded wonderful! I ordered it and told the waiter to bring me a glass of red wine, please. He said, “I choose?” I said, “Absolutely!” And he brought me a glass of really nice chianti.

Because I’d ordered a main course, I got an amuse bouche before my lunch—three smallish but perfect pieces of prosciutto in olive oil with magnificent tiny olives. Yummy! I was feeling pretty happy.

Then the waiter brought me probably the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten! It was served rare (my favorite) with bacon and melted cheese on the top, and the sauces were presented in three tiny bowls. If I haven’t raved about Italian bacon yet, now’s the time, because it’s wonderfully meaty and tasty, and this was one of the best I’ve ever had. The cheese was a golden reddish-orange and scrumptious. Grainy mustard is always one of my favorites, the mayonnaise was the best “sauce” on the plate, and the Bloody Mary sauce was a ketchup-like sauce with less sugar than is usually added to ketchup—good, but ketchup isn’t one of my favorite foods, so I’m not much of a judge.

Just one thing was missing—the bun! Instead of a bun, the hamburger was served with two miniscule slices of bread. But ya know—I didn’t even miss the bun, because the burger was so fabulous.

To end my meal I ordered a caffé macchiato—a wee cup of espresso with a dot of milk in it. It was delicious, but the best part of the coffee wasn’t the coffee at all. It was the sweet dessert that the waiter served with the coffee—two small dessert cookies with a bowl of chocolate sauce for dipping! I ate every bite!


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