Monday, June 22, 2009

Beware of Trip Advisor

We had amazing gelato in Italy. I tried different flavors everyday but never had a bad one! My favorites were marscapone with hunks of nutella and papaya. Mark tended to stick with dark chocolate and raspberry. You can't go wrong with that.
It can be difficult to find a good restaurant when you're traveling. I like getting friends' suggestions, otherwise I never know whether to trust a guide book. A couple of times on our recent trip we asked at the front desk of our hotel and they would always suggest some place but they never looked particularly good, authentic or busy. And I'm always thinking, are they getting a kick back for sending us there? Our first night in Florence we were looking for a place for dinner after a long day of travel and sightseeing. Mark decided to investigate online and turned to Trip Advisor. We had cross referenced our hotel choices on Trip Advisor before booking them, so it seemed like a good theory. He looked around and came up with the number one moderately priced restaurant in Florence. We headed out and found Osteria All'Antico Mercato. I guess we had some expectations since it was #1. We got settled and ordered. It was one of those menu's with way too many choices, that always makes me a little leary (how do they keep all that food fresh?). Then we realized we were surrounded by tourists and possibly an entire tour group. The food was OK but certainly nothing special. Mark recognized the owner up front from his web browsing and walked up to see what he was doing on his computer. Manipulating Trip Advisor perhaps! He asked how our meal was and when Mark said OK he handed him a card that said
#1 on Trip Advisor!
If you liked your meal please go to and let them know.
Pretty disappointed but the next night's meal made up for it all........

Marks 2 Cents: From this dreaded experience I learned " if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right? ".

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Osteria Bea Vita

Another great meal in Venice off the beaten path. This place, Osteria Bea Vita had a price fixed dinner menu so we decided to give it a try. It started with a delicious bowl of clams and mussels with bread to sop  up the juices. The first course was amazing handmade gnocchi with a saffron seafood sauce. The second course was tuna and nothing special. 

Then came the tiramisu. I had high expectations because I make a pretty good one at home, but this really was fantastic. I think it had more alcohol that I use. I'm salivating just looking at the picture and remembering it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


The ultimate food journey, Italy! 

Just returned from a trip where we had some amazing meals all in the name of blog research, right?! First we went to Venice where the prosecco flows freely. We tried hard to get away from the touristy/pricey areas and did very well! At Casa Bonita  in the Cannaregio area we found a delicious bargain. The first night we just ordered pasta, salad, desert, and wine but after sitting there we clued in to what the locals were ordering and had to go back the next night to do it right. This (pictured) was an amazing, very venetian appetizer, but we couldn't clarify the names of some of the items. We tend to call everything shrimp and each item had a different name such as scampi, prawns, shrimp etc. There was some raw tuna and octopus too. So fresh!
Then we had the grilled fish of the day and the waiter filleted it all right at the table for us. 
A real treat just to watch him.

A day didn't pass with out our afternoon macchiato.