I suggested we meet at Harry's Bar first to have overpriced Bellinis (and I do mean really overpriced -- at €16.50 each).
Supposedly Harry's Bar is where the Bellini was invented back in the 1930s, and I felt it only right that we try the original while we were in town.
It was a good Bellini, not too sweet or thick and nicely bubbly, but you need to splurge on only one, just as a rite of passage.
After we finished our Bellinis, we still had about an hour before our dinner reservation, so we strolled around Venice and found somewhere to have some wine (not hard to do). We sat at an outdoor table at a restaurant near Teatro al Fenice and got half bottles of red and white. We chatted more and caught up on what we'd done so far. It was only day 2 for me and Jeff, but Bret and Michelle had already been to a lot of places coming up on our itinerary, so it was great to hear what they thought of them.
We started by sharing some bread, thinly sliced prosciutto with melon, an array of cheeses, and assorted preserves.
Three of us shared a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (I loved the bottle), and Jeff got a half bottle of white wine (Trebbiano, I think).
For our main courses, most of us went with pasta -- Bret had tagliatelle with mushrooms; Jeff had bigoi with white meat ragu; and I had ravioli with buffalo ricotta, smoked cheese, and cherry tomatoes. Michelle went with squid stuffed with pumpkin.
Jeff's pasta was really good. To me it almost had sausage-like flavors. The white meat in the ragu was chicken and turkey.
My ravioli was awesome. The sauce tasted so fresh and the smoked cheese really elevated the dish, giving it bacony flavor.
We went from possibly ordering one dessert for the table to share to each ordering a dessert so we could share all four. For some unknown reason, I was blamed for this! (Must be my track record.)
My pick was the ginger iced mousse (or semifreddo allo zenzero in Italian). Semifreddo made more sense to me than iced mousse, as the dessert ended up being slices of soft ice cream studded with crystallized ginger and chocolate chunks. I was very happy with this choice.
We also tried the chocolate cake with gelato...
...the chocolate gelato with a hazelnut brownie and raspberry sauce...
...and the Bavarian cream with wild berries. This last one we thought would be a white cream surrounded by berries, but the berries were actually incorporated in the cream, making it a lovely reddish-pink color.
The desserts were interesting and well-executed, and I was glad we tried them all.
After dinner we walked Michelle and Bret in the direction of the vaporetto (a water bus that runs along the Grand Canal) and then went back to our hotel to get a good night's sleep before our drive to Bologna the next morning.
Next up: Day 3 -- Bologna (Morning/Afternoon)