HER BOOKS ON AMAZON
  • Wine and Climate Change: Winemaking in a New World
    Wine and Climate Change: Winemaking in a New World
    by L. J. Johnson-Bell
  • Pairing Wine and Food: A Handbook for All Cuisines
    Pairing Wine and Food: A Handbook for All Cuisines
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
  • Home Cellar Guide Hb
    Home Cellar Guide Hb
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
  • Quel vin pour quel plat ?
    Quel vin pour quel plat ?
    by Linda Johnson-Bell
  • Great Wine Tours of the World
    Great Wine Tours of the World
    Barnes and Noble Books
  • The Wine Collector's Handbook
    The Wine Collector's Handbook
    by Linda Johnson
  • De juiste wijn bij het juiste gerecht
    De juiste wijn bij het juiste gerecht
    by Johnson-Bell Linda

  • Good Food, Fine Wine: A Practical Guide to Finding the Perfect Match
    Good Food, Fine Wine: A Practical Guide to Finding the Perfect Match
    by LINDA JOHNSON-BELL

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Friday
Oct142011

Trattoria do Forni, San Marco, Venice

 

Got my highlights done in the salon in Campo Santa Margherita this morning. A wonderful time-warp…yellowed posters taped to the wall…grey-haired clientele getting their weekly wash … hairdryers from circa 1950 … potions and creams in all sorts of pink bottles with fancy script writing on the labels. The older owner and her younger assistant both went to work… said my hair was too thick for one person and it would take too long. As the younger one kept asking the older one what to do next…”blonde here or dark here”? I was petrified that I would come out with two different heads. We chat and gossip and laugh. I learned so many new Italian words this morning (bleached-blonde, bimbo, full-head, half-head, foil ….)

 

Run errands. Walk and sightsee until I can no longer walk. Have lunch in the corner Osteria near San Basilio.  Big mistake. Bad food. Hard, green, unripe tomatoes, sliced with dry slabs of packaged mozzarella. Decided to not risk the wine list and had a spritzer. A team of men in orange suits started digging up the pavement stone right in front of my table, releasing all sort of toxins. The table to my left had too older American couples…and I hear one say “you won’t get real tiramisu here. I can tell. With a real tiramisu, they take a lady finger and soak it in liqueur, not coffee. Let’s go back to that place we ate in last night. It was better.”

 

It is too bright and hot to work on my laptop, and the stink is really getting to me, so I head home to work. Then I get bored, and head up to the Rialto to the cinema and see “This Must be the Place” …no subtitles, so I struggled. Got the gist of the plot…and could tell that Sean Penn had excelled himself, as usual.

 

At 10pm I meet my old Paris friend, Mary Gallagher and her sister Michele, for dinner. Mary and I met when we worked for Time Out’s Paris Passion Magazine. They just flew in from Milano for the weekend. We find what we think looks like a charming place – granted we are in the heart of tourist-land (San Marco) and it is late. They don’t look very happy. Mary, married to an Italian artist and so speaking good Italian, asks for a table and we are grunted towards one and told to hurry up and order. I spy a good Amarone on the list from Montresor, 2007. But I see him get it for us from on top of a high armoire, under lights near this hot kitchen … and Venice is having a heat wave this week…I ask (politely) for an ice bucket to cool the bottle down – as it is warm to the touch. He flies into a rage. Ranting, literally… “This is my house, our house, we do things our way here, you do not drink red wine cold, it should be served ambiente”. I try to explain to him that it should be served between 16-18, especially in the summer, or this heat – and maybe 19-20 in winter. And that his restaurant, this “room”, is hot and stuffy and he keeps his wine up high under lights, standing upright. He just won’t listen to me. His mother joins in …screaming at us…. “Why don’t you just go to Harry’s Bar, you tourist, you’d be much happier there!” (This from a woman whose Menu is in ten different languages). They are so rude that Mary and Michele say “that’s it” and get up…I call him a “pig” and a “plouc” and flounce out.

 

We are breathless with rage and still starving…and this is poor Michele’s first time in Venice, so I am feeling pretty awful. We wander into a few more places but they all say, it is late…our kitchen wants to close, so you can eat if you hurry up. Finally, Mary spies a tucked-away place…Do Forni. They welcome us and are received like goddesses and are led through a maze of long rooms with cosy, fabric-filled side rooms, like a luxury railway car, until we reach a back room with red velvet walls and dim lighting ….packed full with Italians.. no rushing…all smiles…they act as if they are happy we are there. Meal is good, wine is good, ambiance and service are excellent…we have a great evening and are allowed to stay until well after 1am…and we are not the last.

 

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