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Published: March 5th 2018
The weather on this Sunday morning, which happened to be election day throughout Italy, looked rather promising; some patches of blue sky appeared, and we could see the top of Mt. Vesuvius for the first since we arrived. Vesuvius, incidentally, lies about 15 miles away from Sorrento (as the crow flies), and rises to an elevation of 4,190 feet; by way of comparison, Mt. Etna in Sicily stands 11,000 feet high.
We puttered around the apartment during the morning, but by the time we decided to go out for lunch, overcast skies had returned; on the bright side, at least the rain drops stayed away.
In all our travels over the past few years, neither of us can recall being so pleasantly surprised and impressed with a dining experience than was the case today, in the tiny little village of Piano di Sorrento. My apologies for dedicating the rest of this blog post to that experience, but it truly deserves special recognition!
We stumbled across the Blue Sea restaurant, located a block or so down the street from our apartment, quite by accident. It has a rather unassuming appearance from the outside and, in fact, is very close
to the "Popeye Pizza" joint we tried recently. After entering the restaurant, the stylish ambience of the rather small, triangular-shaped dining area (which probably seats 50), became apparent.
Tables along the back wall have a panoramic view over the Bay of Naples. The table settings, with linen tablecloths and napkins, and the contemporary-style decor combine to give the place a look of quiet refinement. We were greeted and seated by wait staff that were young, well-dressed, and very polite. The extensive menu included an option for a 5- or 6-course meal (Italian diners next to us selected this "tasting menu" offering - too much food!) at a set price, but we opted for pasta with clams and mussels, and a veal dish, along with a mixed salad.
After the waitress delivered a basket of bread, we knew our taste buds were in for a treat today. The warm crunchy bread, which is baked on premises, was delicious; and the lemon-infused whipped butter that accompanied it was to die for. Neither of us had ever tasted anything like it, anywhere in the world! We could have easily made a meal of the bread alone, but needed to save space
for the salad and main courses to follow.
The presentation and flavors of our main dishes were gourmet quality, at least by our standards. The veal dish that Dee ordered was exceptional; the meat so tender it flaked apart when touched with a fork; and my spaghetti with clams and mussels, served in a piping-hot bowl, was very good. During the meal, the waitstaff kept our water glasses filled, offered more wine, and checked periodically to see if we were satisfied or required anything (...larger stomachs, perhaps?)
For the final touch, we shared a delicious dessert that looked like a work of modern art when it was served. The combination of fresh fruit, chocolate mousse, raspberry sorbet, and caramel coated ice cream was a festival of flavors, and the perfect end to a perfect meal.
Next came a bit of an "Abbott & Costello" moment. After asking for the bill, with my credit card in hand, the waitress asked that we pay in cash, as their credit card payment processing system was down and out today. So I pulled (2) fifty-euro notes from my wallet and laid them on the table, thinking the tab would exceed 50
Chocolate mousse covered with raspberry sorbet, fresh fruit pieces, and ice cream with caramel sauce.
euros. In the meantime Dee, who had just returned from the rest room, thought I had paid the bill (which I had not), so she inadvertently pocketed both 50-euro notes.
When the waitress finally brought the itemized bill to our table, it was exactly 50 euros (very reasonable for the meals and wine we'd consumed), so I asked Dee to dig into her purse for a small bill and change worth 10 euros to leave as a tip. Meanwhile, thinking Dee had paid the 50 euros to the waitress, I assumed we were all set. Then the totally befuddled waiter came by to take the payment, looked at the 10 euros left on the table, and appeared to be wondering...WTF?
All's well that ends well, however, as the minor kerfuffle was put to rest when Dee sheepishly pulled one of the 50 euro notes from her pocket, and paid the cashier. On our way out, we met and complimented the young chef, an Italian trained in Munich, Germany, of all places. We thanked the entire staff for a wonderful experience, while vowing to return to this little gem of a place before we say good-bye to Sorrento!
Dee's comments: Gloomy weather day, so we hung-out in the apartment during the morning; discovered a great place, the Blue Sea, for lunch; my veal stew with polenta and carrots was to die for, as were the bread and the whipped lemon butter; LMAO now over the 50-euro notes fiasco! After lunch, while returning to the apartment, I found a novelty store run by a Chinese lady, where I bought a sharp knife I can actually use in the kitchen (the ones so far have been dull and virtually useless).
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