Our Rick Steves group. We traveled together to Venice, Florence, and Rome in late October 2019. What I generally enjoy about our group dinners together, is the combination of getting to know the different people we are traveling with, while being in the midst of a new food experience. It’s FUN!
For the two of us, eating out has mostly been reserved for special occasions or a once in awhile treat. Last weekend we had dinner at an Italian restaurant that everyone was so enthusiastic about – I was looking forward to the experience – I was disappointed. Maybe, subconsciously, I was reminiscing about our October meals in Italy. At this Colorado Italian restaurant the hors d’ oeuvres were as follows: the stuffed mushrooms were tasty but they were doled out one apiece. My teeth are fine. The bruschetta was so hard I could not enjoy it. The meatballs looked simply uninspired. Phooey! if I’d only known ahead of time we were allowed one hors d’ oeuvre a piece, I could have worked out a plan to trade ‘my’ meatball for a second stuffed mushroom.
In Italy I ate, be it unknowingly, squid. I seriously thought calamari was a type of pasta. The other choice was veal and I was not knowingly going to eat the flesh of a baby cow.
It had been decades since I’d eaten bacon. But since having eaten squid, I was more cosmopolitan, more sophisticated – right! Well, at least more open to trying the asparagus wrapped in bacon. These were the hors d’ oeuvres my girlfriend Erin had prepared a few nights earlier. Very tasty! So, having recently eaten squid and bacon I was intrigued with the elk tortellini at this Colorado Italian restaurant. The elk, I was told, was ground with the spices and other tasty treats and stuffed into the pasta. Sounded good, not a slab of animal, but sadly for me, not a lover of red sauce, the food was saturated in red sauce. The sauce should compliment, not take over the other flavors.
Since the city of Venice is actually on the sea, fresh seafood is the specialty. This fact does not go unnoticed when you live in the mountains.
Early morning Venice fish market
Bruce and I ate squid or as it is more delicately put – “calamari” – as stated, I thought calamari was a type of pasta dish. I do like how the Italians lightly fry foods rather than the American way of deep frying. Pretty much, though anything fried will taste like fried food. Laughing with my dinner companions I said that the calamari looked like onion rings. They had no idea I’d ordered squid inadvertently and thought I was an experienced calamari consumer making a joke. Not one to put on airs, between laughs; I let them in on my naïveté.
Sea Food Pasta
Our first dinner in Venice – this food just calls out to be photographed. The colors, textures and shapes are beautiful, interesting and appetizing – AND everything is not drowned in a sauce. With my own limitations, so I continue to feel well, I find trying something different to eat when in another country, to be an important part of the cultural experience. And, new experiences after all, are what travel is all about.
At home Bruce and I tend to continuously, eat basically the same kinds of food: homemade: bread, pizza, vegetable soup, grilled salmon, healthy salads and my chicken crock-pot concoctions. Even in our basically, boring, rut eating we do notice the colors, flavorful combinations and presentation.
What’s the most exotic food you have eaten? How do you feel about food – is food something to fill your ready to eat stomach? Have you ever thought of eating as an experience – how so?
“May you live all the days of your life.” J. Swift