Saturday, June 8, 2013

Food in Venice

Going overseas always changes my eating habits in some way when I return. After visiting England, I started eating toast. After Scotland, I added tomato to some of my breakfasts. It isn’t just that I’m trying to hang on to the experience, though that's part of it. It’s also that the food I eat there seems more satisfying than my regular, American food. The effect so far that Italy is having on me is wanting more fruits and vegetables.

Yes, those are fries on the pizza
 Almost every meal I ate in Italy had several courses. The exceptions were when I grabbed something quick at a bar or ate at a pizzeria. My first Italian “meal” was a brioche and latte—I was sight-seeing and couldn’t decide on a place to eat, so I got a snack at the Correr Museum café. On the second day, my dinner came from a bar: a Panini that I ate as I window-shopped, followed by gelato after a tour of the Basilica. My favorite meals were on San Servolo for the conference. Lunch at the cafeteria (fixed price) was pasta salad, quiche, vegetables, fruit, bread, and drink. The catered lunch was similar but also included dessert and wine. The best dinner I had was Monday night at the conference. The appetizer was thin slices of ham. The first course was an incredible cheese crepe. The second course was turkey medallions with sautéed vegetables. The dessert was a lemon cake with fruit. And let’s not forget the bread and wine!

2nd course

But perhaps what really made those meals great was the company. I had a tasty 2-course plus tiramisu dinner at a restaurant on my last night, and it was just an  okay experience. By contrast, the mediocre meal I had in good company in Dorsoduro I enjoyed much more.

My best food advice for Italy is that if you’re eating alone, just grab something from a bar. If you’re eating with friends, choose a fixed-price menu at a restaurant and linger.

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