October 25, 2008

Asolo da sola

Filed under: food,technology,travel — origamifreak @ 4:39 am
Tags: , , , , ,

10/24/2008 11:12 PM

Wow. I left S. Michele all’Adige around 5:30pm, and it was quite the Task to get to my hotel in Asolo. I arrived shortly before 8pm after having an unintended tour of Treviso, and ready to reach right into the GPS and strangle that British lady in there, who was trying to make me crazy. My friend Chris was not kidding, when she said the GPS doesn’t work so well on the little roads. The drive was supposed to have taken an hour and a half.

Everything was fine until I got off the A22 in Trento and stopped for gas. I kept encountering traffic circles in which the Annoying Lady Voice would tell me too soon or too late to exit or bear left, or turn right, etc. After passing the same area three times, I finally figured out how I was supposed to go, by process of elimination. I felt like I was in a real-time version of Adventure, in the part where the maze is of twisty little passages, all different.

Finally I found the A47 and drove past Padova to Bassano del Grappa, which was exciting because I’ve seen it on Treviso maps over the years. This is where things started to get really ugly, though. Because The Voice kept sending me up these tiny roads with no shoulders bordered by high hedges, and through tiny villages where, (and I am not kidding), the buildings were so close to the road that there was only room for 1 car, and if you wanted to pass, one of you had to back up. And keep in mind these are the really narrow little city cars.

The icing on the cake was when, after a very long, round-about path, the GPS Lady told me to turn up a road that was so narrow that it even had a sign, saying “no cars.” What was especially frustrating was that the GPS map said I was about 300m from my destination.

So I turned around and tried again. And again. And kept getting sent back to the same goat track. Finally I back-tracked so much that The Voice decided to send me over to Monfumo and back. (I guess she didn’t like my swearing, and wanted to teach me a lesson.) Finally I pulled over, dragged the tiny tourist map of Asolo out of my suitcase, tried to match up the road names with the horrid little map on the GPS, and figured out where to go.

Now I understand why they put photos of the hotel on their website, because without them, I would never have figured out which building it was, or where it was, etc. The nice lady at reception spoke English, which was a Very Good Thing, because I was in No Mood to try killing Italian at her, after the ordeal finding the place.

This hotel is kind-of amusing. Perhaps they’re all like this, but they seem to be Really Proud of their 4 stars. They prominently display them on their bedside notepads:

On their sheets:

On their pillowcases:

And even on their bathmats:

They left the stars off the toothpaste, but it still has the logo:

I hope their rating never drops, because it could be a lot of work picking out all those embroidered stars!

It is also an old building. Here is the floor plan for the level I am on:

Notice the irregular shape. This is because the streets are there, so the building has nowhere else to expand, except up. There are 4 levels, where reception and the lobby are in the ground floor (-1), the restaurant and some rooms on the 2nd level (0), my room on the 3rd level (1), and more rooms on the level above that.

The Nice English-speaking Reception Lady offered to make a reservation at the restaurant for me, which I gratefully accepted, and suggested having it in half an hour.

Then, joy, of joy, even the Restaurant Ladies spoke English. And the menus had an English option. They put me at a table next to the window where I had a good view of the piazza and the fountain, and the tower with a clock on it, that Actually Worked. (This after having looked at it for over an hour, but not really paying attention.)

The reason I wasn’t paying attention to the clock was because this was one of the most elaborate meals I think I have ever eaten at a restaurant. It started with a glass of Prosecco, and a little accompaniment that had triangles of whipped egg (I think) sandwiching warm, melted gorgonzola cheese. Next came my starter, for which I’d chosen a poached egg, wrapped around the sides with prosciutto, sitting in a little pool of cream sauce, and (oh joy), topped with shaved pieces of white truffle. I thought I liked Wegmans truffle oil. Ahem. While the oil is good, the real thing is definitely better.

Next came my entrée, which was homemade pink gnocci (maybe colored with beets?), in a venison sauce, with little nuggets of freeze-dried coffee sprinkled around the perimeter of the plate. This I had with a glass of local red wine. And while I don’t generally like wine (especially red ones), this was actually quite nice.

A plate of interesting little bread nuggets and thin breadsticks flavored and colored variously with squid ink, pesto, and red pepper sat on the table and I used them to help recover the bits of sauce.

After this I was offered an intriguing choice of desserts. The one I selected was a marvel of thermal and chemical engineering. It consisted of: A scoop of pumpkin gelato resting on a bed of crumbled meringue bits (to insulate it from the plate), a warm muffin with candied orange in it, a rectangle of thin chocolate made by drizzling it and then cooling it, stuck into the top of the gelato, and (this was the real point of the dessert) a little metal tube (like the kind toothpaste comes in), with the hotel logo, containing nutella mixed with effervescent granules. These granules were like the candy we sometimes called “pop rocks” when I was growing up. They’d fizzle when they hit the tongue or sides of the mouth. I think a food scientist had fun coming up with that one. There were also 2 raspberries, 2 blackberries, and a small sprig containing little smooth red berries that I didn’t recognize.

I don’t know how much this meal cost, because they told me their policy was to just put it on the room bill. The starter and entrée alone were probably about 30 euros. (gulp)

Breakfast comes with the room and is in the same place. I’ll take a picture of the tower then and afterwards use the hotel’s wireless (yep, they even have wireless here) to upload this post. Now it’s 12:18:48 AM, and I’m whipped. Fortunately breakfast is served until 10:30am, which means I get to Sleep In. Yay, Sleep.


1 Comment »

  1. Delicious!!!!!!!!!!! Wow! What a lovely meal that was!

    Comment by Sofia T. Catt — October 25, 2008 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: