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 (http://www.locandaorseolo.com/). We had several meals at Osteria Alle Testiere, where the wine list is as terrific as the cooking (which is really terrific)(http://www.osterialletestiere.it/testiere/home.html ).
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 (http://www.enotecaartisti.com/) , 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.