We go for a walk in a new part of town, sightseeing along the way. We come across views that are so beautiful, either in their simplicity or majesty. In this case, we happen upon a small fruit and vegetable market in Cannareggio so spectacular both in sight and smells, we were overcome. The market was overflowing with abundance. You can smell EVERYTHING. The strawberries grown in the south of Italy. The artichokes, both babies and fully grown. The intricately cut lemons. It is just. so. beautiful.
It makes us hungry. Really hungry. Adam says “Must eat now!”
Thank the Hanger Gods that right next door is Un Mondo di Vino:
It isn’t long before this is sitting before us:
What we have here is: on the left plate, traditional mantecato, which is salt cod whipped within an inch of its life with olive oil, salt and pepper, until it reaches such a creamy consistency, you’d swear heavy cream was in it. The plate on the right, beginning with the shrimp, are two shrimp scampi skewers, the shrimp perfectly cooked and so sweet. They were brought in fresh this morning from the lagoon. Next, going clockwise, are deep fried zucchini flowers stuffed with tangy goat cheese. Moving along are sweet/hot peppers, again, stuffed with cheese, and again, deep fried. Next is a gorgeous fresh artichoke bottom and next to that is a braised fennel wedge. Above that is a roasted tomato with melting mozzarella cheese and finally a perfect arancini (rice ball) that has vegetables and a hot core of cheese inside. Of course, we can’t leave out the ubiquitous Venetian drink, a Spritz con Select. You must know that this was not the only plate… we went back for more and more. Un Mondo di Vino is a do-not-miss stop while in Cannareggio and is worth walk if you are not.
Stuffed full, we waddled into the daylight when we came across a cute young couple who were looking to share a gondola ride. Adam had, up to this point resisted, but the price was so cheap with sharing, that he finally relented and we went. This is the result:
Adam and I, the shrinking violets that we are, ended up serenading Mikey and Sam, and the rest of the Grand Canal to “Cupid.” For some reason, they still liked us after that!
From that point, we spent the next or 5 hours or so, walking with them around the city. We went to All’Amarone for lunch, and again, turned new people on to my favorite drink, Milla Grappa, where it’s known inside as “Maya’s Grappa.” This elixir of the gods, is made by infusing camomile flowers in Grappa from the Nebbiolo region. Heaven.
After lunch, we took them to different places that we love and basically hijacked their entire afternoon (but we’re fairly certain they didn’t mind). We finally left them at our favorite gelato stop, Gelateria Alaska.
After saying our goodbyes, it was on to our next adventure: a bacari crawl with our new friend Marjorie, author of arguably the best, most comprehensive guide on Venice, OG Venice Travel Guide.
First stop, Al Merca, a bacaro by the Rialto Market. It was absolutely jammed with people spilling out into the square! Even patrons’ dogs were running around having a grand ol’ time. We barely made it through the doorway to order a Spritz and we were out of luck on chichetti — the bar was stripped clean!
No worries on that, because we were soon off to our next stop, Osteria alla Ciurma, where we had amazing fried baby artichokes stuffed with speck and taleggio cheese and the most tastebud-exploding arancini ever, a curried rice and shrimp ball. We could have stayed there eating the arancini all night long. But that is not the way Venetians do it. They keep moving, so we keep moving! Oh, we had a glass of wine here too, of course.
Up next, Enoteca Al Volto, and yet more drink and food. We chowed down on whole prawns and spicy pork sandwiches. And more wine, again.
Next stop, Bacaro Risorto, where Adam had fresh oysters in the shell, plucked straight out of the lagoon this morning, and a piccante salsiccia crostini. I, however, was enthralled with Norman, a 72 year old Welshman, who was in Venice with his wife for her birthday. But he was pubbing it alone because his wife and had come down with a bug. He was adorable and Adam is now teasing me about my new crush.
We both drank this:
50-year-old grappa. It was so smooth, like a 50-year-old scotch — except the grappa cost only five euro!
From there, after hitting two more bars, and more of the same eating and drinking, we then capped the night off at an “underground” club, with a live band, cold beer, hot pizza, and 80 people dancing like nobody was watching.
After being on our feet and on the go for 15 hours straight, it was finally time to head home. It was a beautiful night while walking the empty streets back to our own neighborhood…
But we talked the whole way home about how lucky and blessed we are to live in this city, what a great day it was meeting new friends and running into our old friends, and how each day seems to get better and better, more than we could have ever imagined.
Pax Tibi and Until Next Time,
Maya & Adam