Venice: Late Night Dinner.

After visiting the Piazza San Marco, it was late. And I was starving. I found myself getting somewhat list among the maze of alleys on the San Marco side of the city. I walked past an alleyway, and saw a restaurant with cafe tables outside. Inside, no one was sitting. Waiters were standing around in black suits,

"Buonasera. Table for one, please?"

They said I could sit anywhere I pleased. I chose a table by the back wall, dressed with stark white linens. Reba McIntyre's greatest hits from the 1990s sang on the overhead speaker at a noticeable decibel.

This isn't so bad, I told myself. Even though I loathed country music from the mid 1980s trough the late 1990s.

I was expecting to have the dining room to myself. It was past 9pm, and dining in Italy is always a multi-hour and lengthy affair. I ordered a half bottle of red wine to keep my company through the anticipated hours.

It was a very good bottle. I had to pace myself to make it last. I got through the entire bottle of Acqua Panna spring water they brought me.

I can't recall what I started my meal with; which means it obviously wasn't good. But the pasta I ate afterwards was the best. The best!

Those who know me well know that if a bolognese is on the menu, I will order it. It's one of my favorite things - when done properly - in the world to eat. Except when it is served on spaghetti, as I don't like the texture of those noodles.

Well, that attitude in me changes in Italy. In Italy, the spaghetti is awesome. I love the texture of it! It's not as thick and pedestrian as most of the spaghetti you can get here in the states. It's light.

And I found myself unable to avoid cleaning my plate...


About halfway through my meal, at nearly 10:15pm, a mother and young son came into the restaurant and sat across the room from me.

I loved watching them interact. It was sweet and intimate. The child was talkative and lively for so late at night. The mother was tired, but tolerating his questions. They spoke Spanish. And they were still there when I left about 45 minutes later.

In Italy, late-night dining with children is common. I like that.

I finished my meal without dessert, but with a double espresso. Which is typical of me.

It wasn't the most gorgeous cup of espresso I'd ever had. But it woke my senses up enough to help me navigate back to my hotel.

I laid down to sleep about 30 minutes later, and dreamt of that spaghetti bolognese.