After our last night in Paris, we took the train to Nice.
I couldn’t imagine a more relaxing spot to find ourselves, away from the hustle of:
- Slinging around heavy luggage
- Finding the trains
- Catching trains
- Finding the bus
- Riding a bus
- Finding the rental car pickup
- Picking up the rental car
- Finding the hotel
- Figuring out the parking situation
…then finally checking in.
The photo above captures our view from our hotel room overlooking The Mediterranean. It was well worth the rushing around.
We popped open a bottle of dry rosé on our patio, caught our breath, then headed out to explore the town. This is what people do:
The Hubs later asked our concierge for a restaurant recommendation for fresh local seafood, and for the reservation to be made for dinner. The restaurant was called Boccaccio, and it was the BEST FOOD EVER. We had Seafood Paella served table side.
Nice instigated several of my newest obsessions (as though I didn’t have enough already).
First, I had never been to a beach where the sand was not sand, but instead, large smooth stones! I had always before wanted to find real sea glass, and this was the first time it happened. We found loads of it. Every color. I love it.
Secondly, the dry rosé in this particular area was especially good. I always associated rosé with White Zinfandel. Boy, had I been wrong! Dry rosé is mild, not too fruity, slightly effervescent, and refreshing.
Lastly, it may sound strange, but I have always liked, and now am obsessed with anchovies! I think that people just think that they don’t like anchovies, it’s not that they really don’t. I think most people just don’t want to like anchovies.
Pissaladière is a pizza-like dish from Nice loaded with anchovies and onions. In the introduction to the recipe on Saveur.com, it says: “According to Jacques Médecin, former mayor of Nice and an authority on its cuisine, the layer of onions on a pissaladière should be half as thick as the crust.” Here is the recipe: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Pissaladiere
From Nice, our final stop was in Venice, Italy. After being dropped off by water bus, I followed my husband past stone bridges, canals, and questionable narrow winding alleys to arrive at our hotel.
There really is no place like Venice.
Although we had heard how Venice tourism had affected the level of attention given to the cuisine, we found some truly incredible food. We had read online about Bacaros, which were places where locals would go to drink wine and eat Cichetti (snacks) while standing. We found one of these places, and opted for a table. The Bacaro was called “Ca D’Oro”, and it was known for its meatballs. Of course we tried an order (which were awesome), then had a second appetizer called “Piatto misto di pesce” which was a seafood plate. I was blessed with more anchovies on this occasion, which were this time my favorite kind, the white ones…with olive oil and lemon juice. We then ordered a pasta dish to share called “Bigoli in Salsa”. Bigoli is a specialty noodle, thicker than spaghetti, and for this particular dish, it was made with a simple sauce of onions and yep, you guessed it, more anchovies. My husband, who didn’t think he liked anchovies, really liked this.
One night, we had dinner at Osteria Oliva Nera. See photo below.
When we walked in and asked for a table outside, one of the owners Isabella, told us we had to go ask for permission from her husband, Dino (because it truly was kinda late). Dino obliged. We are so grateful that he did. They led us through a tour of multiple plates and wine, beginning with stuffed zucchini flowers. Mmmm! I was pretty stuffed after dinner myself, but we asked Dino what the desserts were like there. Dino yelled to Isabella to make sure that they still had them all, then went into an elaborate presentation and conversation with us on the details and types of options we now had. Even if I had just wanted to back out at this point, I couldn’t. Here is Dino’s explanation:
We ended up ordering the Mascarpone Cheesecake. It was one of the best desserts that I have ever had. There was a persimmon and a dehydrated blood orange on top. C’mon, right?! It was insanely good. I wanted to order them all after that, but we didn’t. Perhaps we’ll just hafta go back?
The rest of our trip was amazing and romantic and fun and memorable.
Although I didn’t test positive for pregnancy when we arrived back home in Ohio, I think our trip was the perfect way to launch this important next step in our lives. We’re still practicing, but I’m betting that we’re getting closer.