Bella Venezia

Venice was even more crowded than usual, as Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp were shooting a movie there. Our usual hotel was booked solid, but a friend got us into Locanda Orseolo, moderately priced, well-appointed,  near St. Mark’s Square ( We had several meals at Osteria Alle Testiere, where the wine list is as terrific as the cooking (which is really terrific)( ).     
       On my birthday, co-owner Luca di Vita poured us Miani’s tightrope-taut, vibrant Friuliano 2008 to go with grilled razor clams with ginger, and then Le Due Terre Sacrisassi Rosso 2006 (a fresh, lightly astringent blend of Refosco and Schioppettino) to go with the San Pietro (known as John Dory in England, and St. Pierre in France, ho-ho-ho), which was steamed in white wine with aromatic herbs. Both wines were new to me, and lovely surprises. We also ate and drank well at Enoteca ai Artisti ( , an informal, jolly wine bar near the Guggenheim Museum—a good range of tapas-style snacks, and fresh fish simply but precisely cooked, and a choice of about 60 wines by the glass; it’s a little cramped, but great fun.


Bill S. said...

Yummy yummy! About the grilled razor clams with ginger. How did Luca do them? I assume he merely tossed the clams onto the grill, but the ginger. Did he mince it or chop it and just sprinkle it onto the clams, or did he maybe make a kind of ginger sauce, and if so how? While you are writing your answer, I am going to step out and see if I can pick up a bottle of that Miani Friuliano 2008. Tightrope-taut, is it?

Brian St. Pierre said...

Bruno, the chef at Alle Testiere, makes a sauce by sautéing finely chopped ginger and garlic (twice as much ginger as garlic, about 1 tablespoon of the former to one good-sized clove of the latter) in about 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Then he pours it over the clams and grills them. Indoors, use one of those cast-iron Italian grill pans; outdoors, if you’re dexterous (I use a grill basket, as I’m not), grill right over the coals.
You can also steam the clams with the sauce by cooking the ginger-garlic-oil mix for a few minutes in a large saucepan, then adding clams (or mussels, equally good) and a cup of white wine. As soon as they’re cooked, sprinkle with parsley and serve right up!
Tightrope-taut Friuliano? You betcha. Lively and zippy too. Got to be dry and light. Aussie Riesling’s another good choice. Not Sauvignon Blanc—too much.

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