We Open in Venice

Ah, Venezia. The sinking city. City of pigeons. Merchant of. The list goes on…


像涅槃或您的一位常春藤盟校学校,进入Venice takes work. Especially when your family has close to 11 suitcases. We left New York on Thursday night, July 7th, and flew on Delta across the Atlantic and landed early on a Venice morning. My mom insisted that I sleep on the plane to keep my internal clock healthy but I managed to squeeze in a few episodes of Julia Child on my laptop first. You’d think watching Julia Child on a laptop on a plane would bring quizzical judgmental stares but it’s oddly compelling plane material. I watched the lobster episode and the sausage episode and a stewardess bent over to tell me she loved Julia Child. The sausage-stuffing looked vaguely perverse so I quickly shut down and attempted to sleep. It’s hard to make yourself sleep on a plane but I think I nodded off a bit. We woke up in the Venice airport, found our suitcases (all 11 of them) and boarded a bus which took us to a boat which took us to our hotel. I loved pulling up to our hotel in a boat: it’s oddly surreal. We checked in and relished the view from our hotel room. That’s the pic you see above. Then we realized we were starving and made out for some grub.

我在这次旅行中为自己实现的目标是不要成为一个饮食暴君。我和其他三个金博宝188吧人一起旅行 - 妈妈,爸爸和兄弟 - 我想让每个人都在我所研究的地方挑剔的人,我不想这么早就被讨厌。因此,当妈妈推荐她去过前一年的一个地方时,她的“威尼斯十大”书籍 - 特拉托里亚·阿拉·麦当娜(Trattoria Alla Madonna) - 我给了大拇指。但是后来又远了,爸爸说:“让我们在一个地方吃饭。”我做了我最好的卡特曼声音:“但是我想在Trattoria Alla Madonna吃饭!”我的家人进去了。我早点拉了暴君卡。


Trattoria alla Madonna is located near the Rialto Bridge in a secret alleyway surrounded by touristy waterfront posers. The moment we walked in I knew we were in for something special. There were fresh fish displayed in a case up front:


[I took a picture of these too which were placed next to the fish and I have no idea what they are. Anyone?



So in we went in our airplane clothes (we were too hungry to shower or change) and we studied the menus which had English but written beneath the Italian so though they catered a tiny bit to tourists, it still felt authentic (and everyone there seemed to be local Venetians). Here’s Michael and I looking haggard and weary but you can see the restaurant behind us, to get a sense of the space:


墙壁上有很多艺术品,赋予了这个地方的角色。您可以在桌子上看到面包,这还可以(根据Patty牧师,他对我的出发线程留下了许多有用的评论 - 谁说面包越糟,意大利的食物越好),还有两个一瓶水:一个自然,一个闪闪发光。爸爸妈妈喜欢起泡,迈克尔和我喜欢Natura。说到水,我们的功能失调。




These were really simple and really tasty (two definitive adjectives for most Italian food I loved: simple and tasty). I must say, though, that were were some rough spots in the preparation: I nearly choked on a hard leaf. But the tender parts were great.

But here’s what was truly fantastic: the seafood risotto.


If you fly into Venice someday and you want the perfect food overture to your trip, start with seafood risotto at Trattoria alla Madonna. It was perfect in every way. It’s been two and a half weeks and I can still taste it: savory, seafoody, a perfect balance of liquid and solid. The picture actually does it justice: go ahead and lick your screen.



Seafood is the thing to eat in Venice. We left, our bellies full, invigorated and ready to face the day. Here’s the obligatory photo of St. Mark’s Square covered in pigeons and tourists:




One theme you’ll find rampant in our fancy eating excursions abroad (and I say fancy to make clear that these aren’t places I’d go to if I were backpacking in Europe with friends) is the importance given to the view. My parents are big view mavens and Venice rewards their passion quite well as you can see in this photo of mom and Michael astride the great waterway:


幸运的是,这里的食物at the Grand Canal restaurant was equally meritorious. We started with my parents’ favorite Italian appetizer: mozzarella caprese. That’s tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese. See photo:


我喜欢这种方式,但一家人坚持要倾注香醋。我可能是错的,但我认为这在意大利文化中皱了皱眉:至少当我们去达·西尔瓦诺(Da Silvano)时,服务员拒绝用像醋这样的任何涩味的东西来弄脏马苏里拉奶酪。但是我不会判断我的父母用糖浆发酵葡萄酒涂上完美的马苏里拉奶酪。每个人自己。

Now I’m not some jive-ass food blogger who travels abroad and then doesn’t take notes on what he ate in the language of the country where it was eaten. For my pasta course, I ordered–get ready for this: “‘Bigoli in Salsa’ Alla Veneziana.” (Translation: Wholewheat spaghetti in a light anchovy sauce.)


This was lovely: fishy and pungent. My dad found it too strong (he ordered one too) but I enjoyed it for its strength of character. This bigoli made a big ‘ole impact.

Then, for my main entree, a very fatty choice: “Fritto Misto di Pesce con Salsa Tartara; friture de poisson de l’Adriatique, sauce tartare.” (Translation: fried fish and tartar sauce.)


Sometimes I like to show off when I order and this was a case of getting ahead of myself. I knew fritto misto was classic Italian because I’d seen Mario Batali do some fritting of his misto but all this fried fish was a little heavy. With that said, it was tasty. Not my favorite, but good nonetheless.

What was truly excellent was the dessert but not the chocolate one you see:


最重要的是 - 不良拼写:Zabayonne。这是杏仁的善良,在我效忠奶油意大利甜点中超过了提拉玛苏。桌子上的每个人都吞噬了它。强烈推荐,假设您可以更好地拼写。

And now for some controversy. Eager to share in the customs of local Italians, I decided that I would drink coffee like they drink coffee: cappuchino in the morning and then espresso after a meal. As Amanda Hesser makes clear in “Cooking for Mr. Latte,” Italians find milk too heavy to drink after a large meal. Espresso is the perfect complement because it gets you your coffee fix without loading you up. I ordered myself one and my mother was enraged:


Enraged, you see, because “you’ll be up all night.” Espresso to her and to most people equates with electric volt of caffeine. I’ve heard various theories–I even wrote about one where a waitress told us that espresso has less caffeine than coffee because caffeine dissolves in water and espresso has less water. In any case, I still went to bed without any trouble. Michael had one too (I’m a trendsetting brother) and he slept without problem.

What happened the next morning, though, can’t be blamed on the espresso though mom tried. We were both up at the very very crack of dawn. 5 am. Completely awake. No, no, it wasn’t the espresso it was the jetlag. I mean, ok, it should’ve felt 6 hours earlier but for whatever reason we were wired. We called mom and dad’s room and told them we were going for a walk. They were unconscious.

Many commenters, in my going away post, suggested that I see St. Mark’s square early in the morning. Perhaps it was one of their spirits, then, that woke us up so early. I’m glad they did. Look at this beautiful picture, now my desktop image:


Compare that with the earlier St. Mark’s pic and it’s like night and day (literally and figuratively). Something really mystical’s going on. Thank you to whoever suggested I see that.

Now I printed out several things before I ventured over the sea: all your comments from my going away post, a few comments from an eGullet thread I started, and travel advice from the Babbo website. Here’s their piece onVenice由乔·巴斯蒂亚尼奇(Joe Bastianich)(莉迪亚(Lidia)的儿子和巴博(Babbo)的老板)撰写,这是威尼斯有一天的一个很好的计划。它从这个建议开始:“您应该早点做,在圣马克广场上的Caffe Gli Specchi停下来喝咖啡……。”

似乎很简单。除了没有一个人 - 我的意思是知道一个人 - 我问时是什么咖啡馆Gli Speechi。我问conceir,两名警察,街上有三个随机人和几个咖啡店老板。最终,迈克尔和我在这里结束了:


A redheaded Italian (is there such a thing?) behind the counter had never heard of Cafe Gli Speechi but as he spoke we noticed he was making delicious looking cappuchinos. Michael and I looked at each other and decided to stay there. We ordered two cappuchinos and two pastries and sat outside:


Everything was terrific only I realized, when it came time to pay, that I had no Euros: only dollars. The redheaded Italian was really nice: he let me pay in dollars. I left a big tip.

We’ve reach a point in my post where it feels excessively long. We have some options… I can stop here and do a Venice Part Two tomorrow but then it’d be hard to catch up on all the other places I need to write about… we must persist, we must…



We then rode a vaporetto down the Grand Canal which is like a Venetian subway; it takes about 90 minutes and lets you see the whole thing.







The bellinis were great: foamy, peachy champagne cocktails. The people who say “go to Harry’s Bar for the bellinis and nothing else” are right on the money. And money is where my hatred begins to fume. You would not could not should not believe how expensive the food at Harry’s Bar is. Oh my God. I mean my eyes literally fellt out of my head. For a plate of risotto it’s like 60 euros. That’s like $70. For ONE PLATE of risotto.

I’ve eaten expensive food in my day but never that expensive in terms of what you get for what you pay. Here’s dad with his money-bleeding seafood risotto:


我尝过它有咖喱和强度resting and all but never in a million years was it worth $70. I ordered fish soup because it was reasonable at 40 euros. Here it is:


It tasted like water and there was nothing redeeming about it. I hated the food at Harry’s Bar and I hope never to go back—bellini or no bellini.

How’s that for a pan!

But here’s a happy excursion. That afternoon I went alone to the Peggy Guggenheim museum which I loved:


I don’t know much about Peggy Guggenheim but I love modern art and here you can see Dali and Magritte and others in Peggy Guggenheim’s actual house. Here’s her grave:


She’s buried next to her cats or dogs, it’s difficult to tell.


I ate some mediocre gelato on the way back. No need to go into it:


But alas, friends and troopers who’ve read this far (really, how did you do it?) we’ve come to our final meal in Venice. At the beautiful Hotel Cipriani which you must take a special boat in order to enter. Here’s the big sign you see when you pull up:


We spent some time walking around the grounds; check out the pool:




Soon we were sat in the hotel’s restaurant: Restaurant Fortuny. Here’s mom and dad with the menu:


(Notice mom’s Venice dress? She really dresses the occassion.)

This was another view-happy restaurant with a beautiful view of the water. This was also another fancy parent restaurant that was delicious but not recommendable for the budgeted student traveller. I started with an appetizer of (and again I took notes, I rock so hard): “Tortelli di cappesate con salsa zenzero e limone” (homemade ravioli filled with scallops, ginger and lemon sauce):



对于我的主菜,我不知道我的笔记是否与我吃的食物相对应:“ nocette di vitello al'vin santo'。


Delicious but very very rich and heavy. This will also be a theme. (Oh, notice the truffle on top. Again, like the truffle I had at Babbo, it was disappointingly unintense but still nice to experience.)

For dessert they brought us bonbons:




And then this plate of treats:



27 thoughts on “We Open in Venice”

  1. Wow! nice trip and great photos (did you use a flash in the indoor rest.?)


  2. Mmrrplgt *wipes up drool* Wow, I can’t wait to read about the rest of your trip. It’s like NON STOP FOOD ACTION POW! Out of everything on this page though, all I really want is that huge chunk of chocolate cake. And St. Mark’s Square. But the cake is more reasonable.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had risotto. :|

  3. yeah – i reckon they’re razor clams. the spaniards (yeah, i know they’re not italians), are very direct about these. they call them “navajas” meaning switchblades. it’s quite common in the south to see gangs of youths roaming through the tourist resorts wielding switchblades … less threatening once you translate them.

  4. YAY!! welcome back welcome welcome welcome! i’m drooling like there’s no tomorrow and i’m printing out ur post so i can use it for reference when i eventually go…!

  5. Damn that first seafood risotto looks good. My mouth actually watered when I saw that photo– not sure if that says more about me than it does the picture, but there it is. And definitely razor clams. So-called because they slash your feet all to shit.

  6. 漂亮的照片,看起来很棒。当我读到您的饭菜时,我真正想知道的是您妈妈是否把她的袋子糖撒在沙拉上?

  7. Steven MaGeven


    Ps AG, I’m curious if you’re going to do an Amateur Gourmet Survivor or something similar again… I only ask because I think it was around this time last year that it all started… And if it’s going to go on, I don’t want to miss it this time!

  8. I went to Harry’s Bar when I was there in Venice too and was just as shocked by the prices. I had a $40 plate of ravioli (it was fine), but just sat there stunned by the cost of the meal.

  9. Bellinis (Euro14 when I was there) and MAYBE carpaccio at Harry’s but that’s it. Harry’s in Florence is a bit better – the Bellinis are a little less expensive and there are usually a number of older men hovering around with little snacks (freebies), so it’s like an Italian happy hour.

    You didn’t have liver (fegato) or sarde en saor? Those are two traditional Venetian dishes.

  10. PS - 您从肯尼迪国际机场飞往VCE的航班很棒。我认为我们在三月份接受了同样的那个:在晚上7:30离开,并于9:30 am到达。我们到12:30到里亚尔桥附近的一家酒吧,在阳光下喝啤酒,看着大运河上的交通。

  11. Your average 2oz espresso does have much less cafeine (60-100mg) than your average 12oz cup of drip at Starbucks (115 – 175mg). Both because it is in contact with less water, for a shorter amount of time and also because beans for espresso tend to be roasted darker, which also removes the cafeine.


  12. 你知道为什么哈利的费用这么多吗?因为我欺骗了那里的每个人与他们的姐妹一起睡觉,并赚钱支付他们必须为一盘平庸的意大利调味饭收取70美元的疗法。不要惹我,接下来我可以来你的小镇。

  13. 你知道为什么哈利的费用这么多吗?因为我欺骗了那里的每个人与他们的姐妹一起睡觉,并赚钱支付他们必须为一盘平庸的意大利调味饭收取70美元的疗法。不要惹我,接下来我可以来你的小镇。

  14. Holy crap, I’ve been name-checked by the AG himself! *blush* Well, glad to hear I was on track and not on crack when it came to the unspoken laws of dining in Italy.

    It goes without saying that I am INCREDIBLY envious of all that Venetian deliciousness. The last dessert pictures in particular are inspiring Homer Simpson-esque fountains of drool. I think it might be time to fire up the old ice cream maker and whip out some chocolate-hazelnut gelato, AKA the food of the gods.

  15. 对我来说已经很晚了,所以我没有真正读过第一段,明天我会完成。。。但是有11个手提箱适合4人?我想我爱上了你的整个家庭。

  16. 哦你的旅行听起来美妙到目前为止!我要真的have to refer to this post when I’m in Italy this coming semester!!

    I’m drooling already!

  17. That seafood you photographed is called “cannolicchi”. Usually they’re very good.

    Gawd! I would never go to a bar where a Bellini costs 14 euros, no matter how good it is!

  18. A Bellini for 14 Euros is normal, that’s like £8 and for me here in the UK the average price for a Bellini is between £7 and £11 so you did well with the 14 Euros.

    I only came across your Venice tour just now, hence the late comment ;-)

    I had to laugh about your experience in Harry’s Bar. It’s a well known tourist trap and still… you can’t help but go there. Harry’s Bar is good for a quick espresso but nothing else.

    Razor clams are delicious. The ones you saw are different from the Pacific ones (rounder).


  19. Venice is my favorite city in world. Don’t have to look for cars, just walk or take the vaporetto.

    No bad food, except Harry’s Bar. 2 Bellinis were $30. Great city. Stay on Lido and take boat to city to save hotel money. Lido is no tourists and very different.

  20. So wierd… just discovered your blog today and have enjoyed bouncing around the archives so much…AND, the gate on the left on the picture of the cafe where you had to pay dollars leads to our friends’ apartment, where we stay in Venice! Small world!

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