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Monday, October 19, 2015

GAWA Day #35: Venice--My Best Day Yet on this Journey

Life is great.  Day #35, the best of my Grand Around the World Adventure.  Yes, I was a bit grumpy yesterday.  My room view, actually is not that terrible:


That's the St. Mary's church, which was my scene at dinner last night.

I had a full 8 hours of sleep last night and feel ready for the best day on this trip.  I did say I'd never go down to that same restaurant last night where I paid $75 just for soup, salad and a bottle beer, but, the breakfast comes with the room:


Seems the same because I wanted to compare my old camera with the new one, which seems to be acting up.  Yes, champagne comes with the meal.  Why so modest?  I've got this white truffles lunch next.

Birds are very brave here.  This pigeon almost got to my breakfast.


Sitting next to me were two ladies with essentially the same view I had for dinner last night.  I asked permission, and they were very gracious.  This is what they ate:


The buffet breakfast would have cost me $40.

I took a lot of photos just of side canals:



Another example of Venetian glass:


I think that is a manta ray.  I wondered why, but there is an uncanny link between Venice and the Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  


Turns out that, while Venice is Italian and Mardi Gras is French, the Carnival of Venice started in 1162 for the same reason, and the Portuguese Rio de Janeiro Carnival only goes back to 1723.  Fat Tuesday was designated in 1699, 60 miles south of New Orleans, which was established in 1718.

Pigeons were everywhere:


Even my breakfast blue bar followed me to Quadri for lunch:


While this is but a one Michelin star restaurant, it is closely related to a 3 Michelin Star Italian gastronomic equivalent to the former El Bulli.  This was my best Italian meal on this trip...no, make it the best Italian meal in my entire life.  Why?  Keep reading.  I started with a Limoncello and Prosecco:


The appetizers were okay:


These were all explained to me, but my memory only goes so far.  The next drink was an Italian champagne, which was made of Chardonnay, as opposed to Prosecco, which, apparently, is a lower quality sparkling wine:


The first course was hand-chopped raw Piemontese beef with anchovy sauce, sea urchins and WHITE TRUFFLES..  EVERY DISH COMES WITH WHITE TRUFFLES.


I'm not a fan of tartare, but the white truffles (all the brown stuff on top) made this exceptional.

I believe the next was a Sauvignon Blanc:


The glasses are Alajmo, for Quadri is related to Le Calandre, Chef Massimiliano Alajmo's creative laboratory of culinary heaven.


The fifth wine:


Next came the white truffles risotto:


Frankly, I was disappointed, for it was nowhere close to the La Terrazza version I had in Rome five years ago.  A white truffles smoked broth followed:


Fabulous.  I don't know how they kept it so temperature hot, but this soup was simple and tasty.  The fifth wine came with a roast suckling pig with cauliflower, ricotta Mozzarella gnudi (a type of gnocchi--which is a kind of dumpling) and, of course, white truffles:


The skin was everything.  So exquisite, so crispy, so rapturous.

The sixth wine came with a white truffles millefoglie (puff pastry with cream):


How many of you ever had a white truffles dessert?  Well, at this point, I was almost supersaturated, so I just ate the top and this was a celestial climax to my best Italian meal, ever.

Ah, but this was not the end, so I had an expresso with their petit fours:


What did this cost?  Did you know that white truffles sell for $2,000/pound?  Well, let me put it this way, the meal was cheaper than my night at the St. Regis San Clemente.  The truffle season, incidentally, just started.  Actually, if my day ended here, it would have been fine, if not terrific, but not necessarily the best GAWA day.

Less than 100 yards away was a special tribute to Antonio Lucio Vivaldi.  I was privileged to get just about the final seat for the San Marcos Chamber Orchestra performance of his complete Four Seasons, with a prelude of his Concerto F XI and J.S. Bach's Aria della Suite.  Of course, Vivaldi was born in Venice, and he is my favorite Baroque composer.  Just sitting in the small auditorium (to correspond to the size and volume of where he composed his Four Seasons) was an experience equivalent to the rectory where Leonardo da Vinci painted The Last Supper in Milan.

I might add that photos were forbidden, but here are two, anyway:


On my short walk back to the Westin, our Moon:


I had an aperitif as I listened to the Quadri orchestra playing outside:


Yes, my best GAWA day yet.
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