Monday, January 14, 2008

L'eau Vive

A conversation with a friend reminds me that I have not yet shared with you one of the highlights of our visit to Rome: Dinner at L'eau Vive.
L'eau Vive is a restaurant run by nuns from the developing world, who "share God's love through the medium of fine French cooking." We found this description in our Frommer's Top 25, and we had to try it.
L'eau Vive was not crowded when we arrived, or so it seemed. Halfway through the meal, we realized that there was a second room, far more occupied than ours, closest to the door. Our fellow dinners were an interesting lot, though -- A French family on holiday (the youngest of whom traded away his meal for pommes frites), a table of rowdy Americans (who happened to be at the Vatican with us, though not on our tour, the next day) and a Priest, a monk and a nun. No kidding.
The sparse decor gave little indication of the religious underpinnings of the restaurant. We wondered if it would ever be explicit, the association between fine French cooking and heaven.
At nine o'clock, our dining was interrupted for prayer. Nuns from South and Central America, Africa and the Pacific Islands sang songs of praise in latin and Italian as well as their home languages/
Later, they danced the story of the birth of Christ. It was spectacularly sincere and very lovely, if surreal.

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