Food While Traveling, Venice

On the Rialto.

On the Rialto.

Traveling while hungry is my idea of not having a good time.

The sneaky little headache. We migraine sufferers are aware. Very aware. Hunger can be a trigger. Which is bad.

At one point, having eaten the last Sweet and Salty Nut Bar and in the middle of a if-anything-can-go-wrong-it-will trip from Milan to Belgrade, I walked into a duty-free shop in the Malpense Airport and bought a great big bag of peanut M & Ms.                                       

 My little helpers.

My little helpers.

A couple of those cheery little guys and I feel hopeful again.

So, lunchtime our first day in Venice. Our kind hotel host, Fausto, recommends a place called Pizzeria alla Strega, which means, roughly, Pizzeria of the Hag.Their logo is a witch on a broom flying over a creepy house.

 Photo is truncated, but the witch is there, believe me.

Photo is truncated, but the witch is there, believe me.

Instead of looking for something slightly less weird, we sit down in a charming patio with a stone floor and grapevines overhead. My husband, a soupaholic, finds a vegetable/bean soup on the menu. Done.

Lunchtime mafioso.

Lunchtime mafioso.

I order a meat/cheese/pepper pizza and a mixed salad. The staff seems mildly irritated that we are there.The mixed salad is fresh and tasty. Then a flat, colorless round thing arrives. I get through a tasteless piece while wondering if we are in the wrong country.

What does it mean?

Of course, any restaurant that offers this on the menu might not be the one you want to visit:


The next day, a surprise.

We are on a water taxi on the Grand Canal. I’m trying to marvel at the parade of history on either side in the smothering heat with lunchtime approaching. Must have food. We disembark at the Rialto Bridge. There, right there, is another of the 1,031 restaurants on this island. Typical tables under a typical awning. But it’s pretty full and we’re hungry and they have a picture of a hamburger on their signboard.

We sit down.

I order the hamburger with fries. When it arrives I am mildly suspicious. There sits a beautiful burger. Fresh lettuce and two slices of tomato peek out from a toasty bun. The meat is gently draped in thin-sliced mozzarella. The fries look crispy.



First bite. Oh, my. The crunch of the toasty bun. The fresh veggies, meat nicely seasoned and cooked to perfection. The fries rivaling McDonald’s, which my friend, Carolyn, says are the gold standard.


Sitting by the Grand Canal in Venice in a nondescript eatery on a hot, hot day with throngs of tourists passing by, I have one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever eaten.

Which just goes to show, you just never know.


7 responses to this post.

  1. About those fries? Did you save me one?
    and PS: You are my “Gold Standard:”


  2. Hamburger a la Italiene!? So fun. Half the enjoyment of traveling is immersing yourself in the culture, food and all! I feel like produce would be fresher there?


  3. Not fresher, which was one reason this was such a pleasant surprise!


  4. Posted by Jeffri Dumas on August 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Debra, you tell the BEST stories!…Bob & Jeffri


  5. Thank you!. Love my readers.


  6. Um.. yeah… Pizzeria of the Hag. Scratch that one off my list. Glad you were able to find a memorable meal in Italy. After all, did not Elizabeth Gillmore “eat” her way through Italy in EAT. PRAY. LOVE?! 🙂 Hugs to you and the family.


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