Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rialto Market & The Pumpkin


Rialto Bridge
Rialto Market
We had a blast checking out the Rialto market in Venice (it’s blocks away from the famous bridge).  We both love food so taking in all of the fresh vegetables, seafood and the sounds of locals bartering for their dinner was so fun.  We recognized a lot of the things we saw, but also spotted new and unfamiliar items.  We believe (although it’s unconfirmed) the dinner we ate that night was probably sourced from this market.

Spider Crabs (we had these in pasta our first meal)


Crabs
Octopus & Sardines

Swordfish that was decapitated

Scallops and Shrimps



Black ink squids









Speaking of the night, take any romantic setting add candlelight, a full moon and voila it makes it extra sensual.  Venice is a sexy city by day with its water highways and men dressed up in dark striped shirts and fancy hats waiting to whisk you away on their gondola.  The darkness of night however, masks the souvenir shops and dirt of the city and makes traveling by boat and a lantern seem that much more like a fairy tale.
Lisa and Gabi
Cheers to Venice!
We met up with our friends Gabi and Lisa in St. Mark’s square.  We did what every tourist in Venice should do start walking and don’t be afraid to get lost.  After being “lost” for about half an hour we decided to get organized and found a gondolier to take us for said magical gondola ride.  We had packed a bottle of prosecco and opened that up once we had set sail for the waterway tour of Venice by night.   We slowly eased our way through the tiny side canals and eventually made our way to the Grand Canal (main street in normal terms).  We even saw Casanova’s former home on the ride.  

After our fun gondola ride ended we bought tickets for the water taxi to take us to one of the residential areas of Venice, just a short walk from the San Giacomo Dall’Orio bridge.  Lisa and Gabi had met a Venetian mask maker the day before and he recommended Osteria La Zucca (the pumpkin) as his favorite place to eat near his shop.  Boy, did the pumpkin turn out to be a gem.  The restaurant was small, but cozy with views of one of the canals that runs right to the side of it.  Come to find out later, one of their features for locals is boat “parking” right next to the restaurant.  

The restaurant focuses on fresh vegetarian dishes and the proof of their excellence was Ro fighting for the last pieces of roasted fennel (a vegetable she did not like previously).  Our waitress was cute and spoke pretty good English, but she was a vegetarian so not able to really help us with the meat dishes.  We all just went for it and ordered things we thought sounded interesting.  What’s funny is everything was amazing and you really couldn’t go wrong ordering anything from the menu.

We began our meal with the before mentioned revolutionary roasted fennel along with fresh figs with goat cheese that were divine and the restaurant’s namesake vegetable-- pumpkin (zucca) soup.  We all shared everything and did not leave one drop of food on our plates (you would have thought we had not eaten since we left the US).  Next came our entrees ragu tagliatelle, beef stew, zucchini pesto pasta and again all of them were stunning.  We did leave a little of the pesto pasta because we had by then reached our limit.  But wait, we knew to be able to truly judge the caliber of the restaurant we would need to sacrifice and try dessert.  So, we all shared a panna cotta that was so creamy and delisioso!!!!  

Fed and so happy from spending such a charming night in the magical city of Venice we bid good night.  Gabi and Lisa took a vaperetto back to their hotel in the Lido district while Ro and FloJo feeling the confidence of day 2 in the city opted to take the night stroll back over the Rialto bridge and into the maze of the alleys.  What a delicious night and we were looking forward to reuniting with Gabi and Lisa the next morning to drive to our next location Umbria.

Live life with flavor and fun!