Saturday, March 19, 2011

Venice Segment 1: 2 Winners and a Big Fat Loser

We just got back from four nights in lovely Venice where we indulged in a whole lot of walking, eating and drinking -- and where I took a whopping 481 photos! The interesting thing about this number is that for at least the first day I was terribly cautious with what I was shooting for fear my memory card would fill up too quickly and I wouldn't be able to find another one. Well, that wasn't really a problem in the end, but as a result of my awareness, I think a good deal of the 344 pics taken on my DSLR are of a fairly decent quality! Still haven't gone through them fully, but I suspect more than a few will be talked about on here, or at the very least listed on flickr. And now for my first segment of Venetian winners and losers!

2 Big Venetian WINNERS:

Almost immediately upon our arrival we spied people standing at counters in the bars and cafes, sipping these curiously orange-hued drinks. What does one do, but order one, have a taste, then order another, while watching carefully how it is prepared, then another... over a period of time, of course! I must say there was many a moment when one of us just exclaimed Spritz!? and we would wander off eyes wide open to find a place to serve us one. After plenty of (ahem) research, we discovered the key ingredients were aperol, Prosecco, soda water, a slice of orange (often a blood orange), and when particularly lucky, a lovely, large, salty green olive. The best thing? They taste sweet and refreshing and if the olive is missing, they are usually served up with a bowl of plain crisps. The next best thing? They are reasonably cheap and definitely pack a punch.

We discovered Chicchetti, which are essentially bar snacks, fairly early as well when we wandered into what looked like a wine shop, but doubled as a bar. There was a huge variety of tasty snacks lined up on the bar for around €1 each. A lot of them seem to consist of some kind of fish or meat on small chunks of bread in a sauce or marinade of some description. We ordered two glasses of vino rosso and bought a little selection. The above photo shows some fancy (and slightly burnt) squid chicchetti we had on our last lunch in the city. By that time we were feeling filled to the gills with bread and cheese so it was nice to eat these with just one bready item, an octopus salad, and the most delicious fried sardines I have ever tasted.

Big Venetian LOSER: QUANTO?!

Quanto?! The bill from Il Sigillo in San Polo. Order at your own risk.
Admittedly we were tired from a long afternoon of walking walking walking, and we were craving vegetables like you wouldn't believe even though it was only our first full day! We took the bait: large toasted bread piled high with what looked like tasty, fresh vegetables displayed in a window. We went inside and asked for two. They were called "Special Toast" which, frankly, should have tipped us off. We ordered two glasses of red wine and had a seat in the shiny diner-like room (possibly another tip-off) and waited to be served. Our food came. The toast was stale, cheese dried and the vegetables turned out to be some kind of (possibly) canned, marinated salad. It wasn't utterly revolting, but certainly wasn't good. Despite my hunger I still only ate about half, and I RARELY leave things on my plate. I pulled out some money from our kitty and Dan went to the counter to pay. He came back for more money. The bill came to €42!! Now call me crazy, but after seeing the receipt, how can anyone call anything costing €15 a SNACK! We, of course, left feeling robbed and determined not to buy anything where the price is dubiously hidden. Incidentally, this was, if not the most, then within a few euro of our most expensive meal in Venice. Oh sorry, I meant 'snack'.


  1. i HATE that! we always end up getting ripped of in some similar manner whenever we travel! you are tired & hungry & you don't speak the language... and you end up getting hustled. sounds like you guys had an awesome time otherwise. i am going to have to try one of those spritzes!

  2. Venice - absolutely beautiful but you definitely need to take a packed lunch! x