Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Birthday in Venice

I woke up this morning to find that Bill had painted a birthday card for me.
 Love it! And look at that lion! Now when did he find the time to paint this?
 What a great card. What a way to start a day!
We had noon reservations at our new favourite restaurant -- the Enoteca Rio San Marin. It was raining in Venice but soon we were settled in to the cozy place.
The staff were kept busy as the restaurant filled up. The Enoteca is so popular that every table had been reserved.
When Alessandra brought our menus I opened mine to find a birthday card inside, signed by all the staff. What a lovely gesture! Shows you what a special place this is.
We ordered the house risotto and as it is made to order, started with green salads and a litre of wine.
I watched the street traffic through the window. Everything in Venice arrives on a hand-drawn cart and must be delivered rain or shine.
Alessandra brought us the seafood risotto -- the aroma was amazing as she put down the plates. Full of little shrimps and diced seafood, it was divine.
When we finished and had ordered dessert, the lights went out. Power failure? Bill drew my attention to the back of the restaurant. Alessandra was bringing out a plate of tiramisu with a single candle. She sang "Happy Birthday to you..." and the staff and all of the customers joined in. How embarassing!
 I made a birthday wish and blew out the candle on my tiramasu to general applause.
 What a place!
I dug in to my cake while admiring Bill's dessert -- a specialty of the house -- grappa gelato. 
 Birthdays don't get much better than this.
And partners don't get much better than William Kimber. Thank you, Sweetheart!
Bill and I went to the kitchen to offer our compliments to the chef for his risotto. Turns out it was his birthday today too.
As we drank our coffee I reflected on my many blessings. Lucky me!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Lunch at Enoteca Rio Marin

 Bill and I discovered the Enoteca Rio Marin by chance one afternoon in the Santa Croce area of Venice.
It is well known in it's neighbourhood as a reliable family-run restaurant and bar
with great cicchetti (bar finger food).
It is very near two must-sees on even the shortest art lovers itinerary -- Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (Titian) and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco (Tintoretto).
Bill ordered one of his favourite comfort foods -- Fegato alla Veneziana (liver and onions with polenta) and told me this was the best he has ever had.
 I decided to try the Spaghetti Cozze e Vongole (mussels and clams).
The chef had been very generous with the shellfish.
 I put in my fork and in the depths of the spaghetti hit shell after shell. 
 We went back a few days later. We were lucky to get a seat. Turns out the locals reserve and the place is packed for the noon to 3 p.m. lunch service. We both started with the mussels and clams then had a refreshing salad of bitter greens and tomatoes.
We followed up with a dish we had seen served on our last visit -- a mixed fry of seafood, lightly coated in flour.
 So yummy!
 We dug right in, washing it down with white wine and bubbly water
finishing with the house tiramasu 
and espresso. 
We were the last ones to leave. As we said arrivederci the friendly staff were already unwinding with a drink by the canal.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

On our first trip down the Grand Canal Bill took this picture of the facade of Peggy Guggenheim's palazzo. Nicknamed "the Unfinished Palace", the 18th century building had originally been planned to be four stories high.
 It is now run by the Guggenheim Foundation and houses the collection she built during her lifetime as well as new acquisitions. 
 This Mario Marini Angel of the City, 1948, stands guard over the canal entrance. Marini provided a removable erection which the owner could add or remove depending on mood.
 Today we approach the museum through the garden around the back.
 A lovely green space.
We caught a tantalizing glimpse of the private patio that Guggenheim built on the roof of the unfinished palazzo.  It must have been a heavenly place to live!
 Guggenheim is buried in the garden next to the many dogs with whom she shared her life.
 A new acquisition in the garden -- Sol Lewitt's work never fails to amuse with its minimalist rigour. Incomplete Open Cube 6/8, 1974.
Another new acquisition: detail of a Jenny Holzer Garden Bench, 2001. 
This Kandinsky is the first painting we see as we enter the palazzo-museum. White Cross, 1922
This lovely Picasso also has pride of place near the entrance. Bust of a Man in a Stripped Shirt, 1939.
Leonara Carrington's Oink (They Shall Behold Thine Eyes), 1939. Guggenheim was a keen early collector of Surrealist art. 
 Amedeo Modigliani, Woman in a Sailor Shirt, 1916
Guggenheim collected a whole room of early Jackson Pollock paintings. 
The Moon Woman, 1942 
 William Baziotes' work was new to us. The Parachutists, 1944.
The Guggenheim trustees built a new wing on the property to house new acquisitions. Joan Mitchell, Composition, 1962
This Alberto Giacometti, Model for a Square, 1931-32, is also newly acquired.
This small John Chamberlain sculpture is about the size of a tin of tobacco. Small Piece no. 1, 1961.
As we exit past the Byzantine marble throne of the self-confessed art addict
we pay tribute to the courage of one the last century's most individual aesthetic sensibilities.
Her spirit continues to hover over her Venetian home. Her famous glasses frames are now available in the gift shop. File them under: I Could Wear That.