Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dinner with the Contessa

Dare I say, another gorgeous morning in Venice.

As I said earlier, this was the view from my room.

The vendors setting up their stall in front our our hotel,
in front of an old water well.

Tourists in St. Mark's.

This morning we had arranged to rendez-vous with friends, Ian & Sue, from England. Ian calls Venice one of his favorite city's , and when my Mom asked if they would like to join us in Venice, to help celebrate my 50th birthday, we were pretty confidant they would join us, if at all possible. Florian's house band was already playing at 11:00 am when we saw Ian and Sue standing by the band stand. Rather than pay 12 Euros for a coffee, we opted to chat over coffee, a five minute walk west of St. Mark's Square, beneath the splendor of Campo Santa Maria Zobenigo. Four Americano's later, and we were ready for lunch. We walked 2 minutes to a lovely little restaurant that sat on the edge of a canal, the Ristorante "da Raffaele". We were even serenaded by a gondolier as he passed under our table. Gnocchi, raviolo and 1/4 chicken later, we all felt ready for sight seeing.

Sue, Ian, my Mom and I in front of Santa Maria Zobenigo.

Looking up the facade of Santa Maria Zobenigo.

More colourful masks.

A quiet side canal.

Another lunch al fresco, alongside a canal.

The singing gondolier.

What to do today? My Mom and I had already made plans for tonight, to go to a wine pairing/cooking class. I had asked Ian and Sue to join us, but they declined. What with Ian's son being the executive chef at Nobu 57 in New York, he hardly needed to get personal cooking and wine advise from someone else when all he needed to do was hang around his son in the kitchen. We were due to meet the Contessa, or Enrica as she was commonly known, at 5:00 at her apartment. Not enough time to go up to Burano or Torcello, so opted for local sight seeing.

We took the vaporetto across to St. Giorgio. St. Georgio's is on an island directly across from St. Mark's square. We got the most amazing views of the city from the Bell Tower, which Ian insisted we must go up. Six people stepped into a tiny little elevator that rose up the bell tower, as we saw the  steps winding around the tower. Marvelous views. Time for another Americano, or, was it Bellini hour?

View from the Bell Tower at St. Giorgio.

Took the vaporetto across to Zattere, and had drinks along the waterfront and caught up with Ian and Sue. Ian and my Mom and I have been good friends for over 25 years and shared many life milestones together, and were reminiscing over the many birthdays we had shared together. I remember celebrating Ian's 50th, a few years ago now, and here we were going to be celebrating mine together. Where has the time gone?

Ian and Sue walked us to the Ferrari Red door of Enrica's house. Ian and I had made plans to meet, early, the next morning, my birthday, to take a photography tour together. First, dinner with the Contessa.

Sunset out of the window at Enrica's.

My Mom and I weren't quite sure what to expect, but we did expect to be blown away by a wonderful meal, after all, we were assured a "meal to remember". Prosecco greeted us as we entered Enrica's loft style apartment. It was quite modern and sleek on the inside, and rustic old Venetian on the outside, minus the Ferrari red door. Lorenzo was our wine pairing expert, who showed up with a huge cooler pack, loaded down with wines from his store, Millevini Enoteca/1000 Wines. I lost track as to how many we tried. Let's see,  prosecco of course, one with our bruschetta, one with our bean salad, one with our risotto & frittata, one with our eggplant parmasean, and of course a dessert wine with our caramelized apples. Enrica did indeed have a passion for food and all its enjoyments, but I think this dinner was geared towards the novice in the kitchen. Both my Mom and I are pretty savvy in the kitchen, so dare I say, were somewhat dissapointed in the course selection. We were told that the fish market was closed Mondays, so therefore fish couldn't be served? I don't eat meat, but my Mom was sure looking forward to at least one meat course. It was tasty, but, not out of the ordinary. It was a meal we could have easily have put together on our own, minus the contessa. Lorenzo did however give me a much better understanding about wine pairing, and the over all success of a meal because of it. Both had lively personalities, which made for a pleasant evening, but dare I say, overpriced evening. It was an experience, that's how you have to look at it.

Enrica and Lorenza discussing wine.

A break in the meal.

Lorenzo walked us to the Vaporetto stop, and made sure we were headed in the right direction back to St. Mark's. It was a gorgeous night. The moon was full. The boat back was dreamy, with a slight breeze,  as the captain navigated what seemed were unmarked waters. I savored our walk through St. Mark's as I heard the different bands greet us. Collapsed in bed after 11, thinking what time I had to get up to meet Ian, under the arches, in front of the Correr museum in St. Mark's square (7:50 am). 



  1. Another wonderful day in Venice. Sigh. This is really the way to capture a trip; it is so immediate with the narrative and the pictures. Far superior to just pics.This is putting your journals, which you wrote during your travels, into your blog and sharing it with others. Who would have thought it would have such an impact. The best way to relive a trip.

  2. I agree Jean - I feel as though I'm there with you ;-) Sounds like it was a lovely time and a most excellent way to celebrate a birthday!

  3. lovely pix, wonderful notes....I could almost smell the coffee!

  4. Hi Kathi,

    Happy 50th Birthday in Venice. The photos and your travelog were fun to see and read. I didn't know that laundry could look so cute hung out on a line over the street. Don't even think of putting up a clothes line in Vancouver. The municipalities have by laws against them. Isn't that something?

    Welcome home and I wish you all the best in your "nifty fifties".

    Cheerio from Vancouver, BC,
    Lana Muir

  5. Lana, great to hear from you. And thank you for welcoming me into the nifty fifties.


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