After all our St. Patrick's Day fun, we headed out to Italy, Venice & Rome.
First up was Venice. And after all our fun, we really needed a vacation from our vacation, so to speak. So we mostly rested in Venice, enjoying the fresh seafood and seeing a few of the sights. I think we had more gelato than recommended, but it was delicious. Richard was more ambitious in his flavor choices. He tried adventurous choices such as celery and kiwi. Those flavors do not go well together as you might have assumed. My favorite and what we decided was definitely the best gelato in Venice was La Boutique where I had to-die-for chocolate mousse and chocolate chip flavors. I took notes at all the gelato places and I had to smile when referencing them just now because I wrote a giant OMG with an arrow pointing at the chocolate mousse. I think that sufficiently describes my love of La Boutique chocolate mousse. It was the only gelateria we visited twice.
My favorite meal was Al Covo which unbenownst to us was hosted by a Texan, Diane, and her Venetian husband/chef. Diane and her husband met in Austin while working in hotels. She's originally from Lubbock and makes delicious Texas-style desserts. Her chocolate cake is a taste of home and the fried cream with strawberry purée is Texas State Fair worthy. I mean that with the highest regard so I hope Diane wouldn't take offense. It was mouthwatering. She and her family have lived there 20 years now and she still has her West Texas accent. Just goes to show you there are Texans EVERYWHERE! Richard & I both enjoyed every course we had at Al Covo, but there were a couple of standouts. The gnochetti with calamaretti was amazing. Richard's black spaghetti with scampi was pure Venice - fresh and flavorful.
I also really enjoyed our lunch at Met, which took us on a culinary tour of Venitian dishes. It's a Michelin starred restaurant which means "fancy food". We enjoyed it all, but probably our favorite part of the experience was the water menu. We let our server decide for us after she asked a few questions to determine our water tastes. Richard was quiite doubtful that one of them was better than the others. And Richard's quite genuine remark upon the first sip, "Oh, that is good water." Favorite dishes were the scallops with caviar & foam and the spinach canolli with spider crab. The folks that claim Venice has no good food have never eaten where we ate. Delish!
Wandering the streets, bridges and canals of Venice was by far our favorite activity. Definitely the best city to just get lost in. Some of my other favorites were bellinis at Harry's Bar where they were invented, fantastic tiramisu at Alla Rivetta, served in way I've never seen before in a little tin pie pan, St. Mark's Basilica where the remains of St. Mark are under the altar and the entire giant church ceiling, walls and floors are done with the most beautiful tile work I've ever seen, and finally the lagoon island of Murano known for glass making. Venice was truly an amzing retreat. However, we did run into one problem, our bank cards were having issues working at the Italian ATMs so we had a Bourne Identity style dash around the bridges and alleys of Venice trying to find a ATM that would accept our card before our train departed for Rome. We did make our train with 5 minutes to spare. More pictures of Venice and then on to Rome...