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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Venice and Tempting Osterie

Jason and I kind of winged it in Greece. We did not really think out travel options so when we reached our final Greek destination, Athens, we had to determine how to get to our next travel location. We google mapped the closest city outside of Greece on the way to Croatia and the best option (I had been planting the seed in Jason's head for a while anyways) was to take a cheap flight to Venice and then train it to Croatia.

There is nothing better than Italy - my most favorite country in Western Europe (and after tossing toilet paper for three weeks the ability to flush paper was amazing!). This was my third trip to Italy though my first experience in Venice and I had high hopes. Venice is ridiculously expensive, but we had saved a little extra money on the side for a special treat during our travels. A sweet B and B called 3C two short side streets away from San Marco was the perfect excuse to treat ourselves.

No, we did not stand in line for the palace nor did we ever go inside San Marco Cathedral, but we did eat and drink our way around the city. I find the best way to experience a new place is to visit the market and that is the first thing we did. The Venice market is a bustling area a short stroll south of the Rialto Bridge. There are fruits, veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, cheese stores, meat markets, and a fish market. We snapped up fresh strawberries that were eaten straight away with strawberry juice dripping down our fingers. We bought copious amounts of parma, hard Italian cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh baked bread, and peaches for the perfect picnic lunch.

As we strolled through the cobble stone streets of Venice feasting on our purchases we became thirsty. And what we found was a tiny hole in the wall wine bar where the proprietor was popping bottles of prosecco left and right for a local crowd singing to Italian Opera tunes at the top of their lungs. We had found our home for the evening.

Here is the deal, I am by no means a wine connoisseur, I know what I like, and I drink what tastes good to me. I know that I like younger crisp whites with hints of apple and pear. I also know that I like whites with bubbles and prosecco, well, it had me at the fizz. While sipping our bubbly, we contemplated our next food stop. Earlier we had checked Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations website and checked on his Venice food finds. He stopped at a couple of Osterie - local Italian eating establishments centered around wine and finger foods. The first one we chose was called Cantina Do Mori located on a quiet side street near the market.We sampled bite size morsels of white fish spread over crunchy bread, hard salami and cheese, anchovy bruschetta, salted artichoke, and a whole tiny octopus with another glass of wine of course.

The next evening we decided to forgo the tourist specials for 9 euros of soggy spaghetti and margherita pizza and instead opt for more prosecco and more tasty finger sized treats such as perfectly cooked meatballs wrapped in buttery parma and more whitefish spread.

After a few glasses of wine we did fold and each buy a piece of pizza as big as my head to wash down the glasses of wine.

All-in-all Venice and its food was a success. A bit touristy when in the main attraction areas, but sidle down a back street and a Venice of the old can be imagined.

1 comment:

Ron said...

What? No Italian ice cream.