Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A whirlwind trip to Austria, Italy, and probably Switzerland, part 5

I'm going to be very honest.  My initial impressions of the Hotel Victoria in Vicenza were not good.  This very large hotel is located in a rather depressing outskirts area of the city, next to a huge, half empty shopping mall.  When I compare it to the patrician beauty of Seefeld, it definitely falls short.  I was in a cranky mood when we first got to the hotel.  The room smelled a little funny and looked dated.  The view from the window sucks.


My view of Vicenza from the hotel.

And yet, it gets great reviews on Trip Advisor.  After being here a couple of days, I can sort of see why.  The staff is very pleasant and service oriented.  Breakfast is included and offers a number of different items, all of which are of good quality.  It's got a fantastic restaurant with great food at low prices.  There's a large pool for the hot summer months and an exercise room.  Parking is free and the mall, while depressing and decaying a bit, is very handy.  It's especially nice if you like good quality wine for not many euros.  I do.

But anyway, Monday night, I was in a mood.  It was cold outside and I wasn't feeling that great.  We needed to find some dinner, so Bill got a recommendation from the front desk guy who checked us in.  He recommended a place downtown.  Off we went in search of it.

It was dark, windy, and very chilly.  Traffic was utterly horrendous.  Bill was stressed out trying to avoid having an accident with drivers more aggressive than he'll ever be.  He had a hard time finding parking until he finally parked on the side of the street.  We went looking for the restaurant, which we couldn't find in the dark.  I was getting decidedly pissy because I just wanted to eat, get into my nightgown, and go to bed.  Bill had his mind set on finding the obscure restaurant out in the dark and cold.

Finally, he acquiesced when I said I just wanted to get out of there.  We headed back to the car, walked another block, and ended up at a place called the Pullmanbar.  It was dark and they were playing dance music.  I think the theme was vaguely train-like, though I didn't see any train decor in there.  We were escorted to what looked like a glass enclosed outdoor patio.  It was heated by a masonry heater of some sort.  I see it used to be an "average bar", but is now an upscale restaurant.  Indeed, the food we ate there was upscale.  So were the prices.

I was feeling very moody and I think the waiter must have sensed it, since we were seated in the back room.  It was no big deal, though.  I had a seat next to the window, where I could watch the brook/river rush by, lit up by streetlights.  I bet it's beautiful on a sunny day.


An amuse from the kitchen.  Basically a salad on a crostini.


My starter.  A salad with little mounds of a spread made with cod fish.  I'm pretty sure the yellow things are crackers made of polenta.  They were light and airy, kind of like Bugles (the snacks).  The cod fish dip married well with them.  


Bill had a quinoa salad.


We both had the special, which was a local fish served with zucca (squash, though it tasted like sweet potatoes to me) and a radicchio cream.


This was pretty good for 15 euros.


And a lovely but somewhat overpriced bottle of wine...  35 euros!


I had creme brûlée for dessert...  


Bill had what amounted to an apple and raisin crumble.  

Total bill came to 105 euros.  It wasn't the most expensive meal we've had, but it was probably more than we meant to spend.  Still, the food was very good and the service attentive and professional.  I'd go back again.


The outside.  I took this photo as we were passing.

I was in a better mood after dinner and the drive back to the hotel was not bad at all.  That put me in a better frame of mind for yesterday, when I finally started to write about this trip.


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