Mostly our eating plan while on our Italian vacation has been (a) to stop someplace that looks pretty good when we’re hungry and/or (b) stop someplace that looks really good whether we’re hungry or not.
However, I had some across a tremendously well-reviewed restaurant that my wife Anita and I were dying to try.
I wasn’t sure either of us was going to have much of an appetite after visiting the Rialto Street Market, a huge collection of vendors peddling fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood. The appetite-killer was the little butcher shop that appeared to specialize in horse-meat. Giddy-up!
After a morning wandering through the market and an afternoon of more ancient church visiting (and stair-climbing), we decide to make our way to the restaurant for an early dinner.
All the guidebooks tell you one of the things to do in Venice is to “get lost”. Seeing as how the “streets” appear to be designed by a committee of lunatics, we have no trouble at all following this advice. As a matter of fact, we appear to spend most of our time fully dazed and disoriented.
I finally bite the bullet and turn on the data roaming on my iPhone, with the full understanding that it’s probably going to cost my daughter Pisa her college education. Thankfully, the phone’s GPS figures out where we are and leads us to our destination straightaway.
Unfortunately, it’s 5:30 and the restaurant doesn’t open until 7 p.m. Hungry and dejected, we wander over to a neighborhood park and hang out for a bit, watching some local kids race scooters around and older folks let their dogs visit the one phone-booth-sized square of grass in the area.
We get back to the restaurant right as it opens and, of course we hear the inevitable “Do you have a reservation?”
Apparently other people read reviews, too, and the place is booked for both tonight and tomorrow night, our last night in Venice. Anita has the good sense to check on lunch the next day (they do).
The next day, we give ourselves plenty of time to find the spot again. However, we spent so much time around the restaurant yesterday that we know it like the back of our hand. We walk straight to the place, and wind up getting there over an hour early. Are you kidding me?
We head back to our park to kill another 75 minutes, and I start getting worried that the expectations for this meal can’t possibly live up to all the time we’ve invested in it. This is setting up to be a disaster.
An hour or so later, we’re at our table and purring over a cheese plate and tapping our sparking prosecco glasses together. We’ve declared this our honorary 25th wedding anniversary meal.
No, it’s not a late-night candle-lit dinner, but like our marriage it may be unconventional at times, it may be something that we’ve had to work at sometimes and… it’s everything we hoped it would be.