how not to be a douche, italian style

we took quite a few group tours while we were in europe, which included prepaid meals.  i went into the whole trip with the attitude of “when in rome, or paris, or where ever, blah, blah, blah…” so i was up for anything.

for our first lunch in venice we were served spaghetti with clams as a first course, and some kind of fish as the main dish. (foreshadowing – i ate fish everyday twice a day, the entire time we were there, and there’s a good reason why.)

you would have thought that the restaurant was serving a bunch of 5 year olds who had just been told they were having piping hot monkey brains and deep-fried bugs on a stick. 

you are not in america. this is not burger king. you cannot have it your way. PLUS, this meal has been prearranged and PAID for by the tour. i was embarrassed at the unprecedented level of whining coming from a bunch of 30 and 40 year old “adults” and i use that term loosely.

WTF people?! eat some of the local cuisine. if you don’t like it, there’s a crap load of bread on the table. but no, suddenly, everyone had “special dietary needs” and two people actually had the balls to order steak and veal… which may or may not have actually been steak…or veal. more on that later.

lunch was actually quite good and i was proud of myself for eating it, because i’m pretty sure mine was one of the few entrees that the entire kitchen didn’t take turns spitting into.


true, i’m not accustomed to having my lunch look like something that washed up in the galveston surf, but it was pretty tasty. plus nothing a bottle or two of red wine couldn’t help.

and here was the best fish of the trip. simple, lightly dusted with flour, and pan fried. delicious.


so, the moral of this story is, don’t insult the locals by being a giant tool. nobody likes a high-maintenance tourist. will let you order it on the side.

11 thoughts on “how not to be a douche, italian style

  1. Alice

    Good blog! I especially appreciate it since I get whiny neighbor kids at my house who can’t eat the cheese because it’s ‘orange’. My reply, “Just eat it, kid, before you get a smack in the head.” Maybe you should have done your own head smacking.

  2. Erin

    That pre-arranged food on European tours thing is horrific. I was subjected to the most disgusting food all over England when I was in college. If it wasn’t for the booze I would have lost 10 pounds on my tour imposed starvation diet. They ALWAYS served fish and at the time I HATED fish. Believe me, your muscles dish looks much more appealing than anything I was served.

  3. leigh Post author

    alice – yeah. there were a few people on the tour that i wanted to smack. but that would have been wrong.

    erin – i knew you would be impressed with my food blogging!!! just wait. i have more good things to share. and i have one dish that i KNOW you will want to make. i got the recipe.

    maiden – i considered the food as much a part of the trip as the sightseeing. in fact, i think i took more pictures of the food. i’ll be wearing my fat pants for another week or so until things settle back down.

  4. Tim

    Before joining my wife in the pphotography business she started, I traveled the world on business. At various times I was served (in reverse disgusting order): baby squid in ink sauce (yummy), puffer fish (the REALLY poisonous one), barnacles (looks like little elephant feet), whole scorpion (crunchy), mountain goat (tastes like chicken), crow (yup -I’ve eaten crow), sea slug (gooey). Never offended my hosts and actually found some interesting new tastes. But I’m not eating crow or sea slug again if I can avoid it.

  5. damon

    That’s why I hate tour groups, or just groups in general.
    All these people with all their dietary needs can usually be found chompin down a nastyburger at McDonalds. (bus should have stopped there first!)

    Welcome back to the front page!
    (one extra for ya, click!)

  6. joeybear

    moral of the story should be not sit next to one…my beautiful fish arrived during the end of dessert.

    however, it was a beautiful thing when I sincerely asked Ms North Dakota if she had ordered seared ahi tuna and she told me that was her steak

    I thought it was a state requirement that you had to eat fish in North Dakota..aren’t all the cows frozen?

  7. leigh Post author

    damon – i did find a mickey d’s in venice. the menu was prominently displayed in the front of the store and offered such delicacies as the “mctoast,” and the sandwich quentin tarantino made famous, “mcroyal cheese.”

    i guess i should post the picture.

    merci beaucoup!!!

  8. VE

    I’ve been all over the world and if there is one thing I hate it’s whiny American tourists. We so don’t get the European culture. Dinner is an event there. When you get a table, its yours for the night. I’m like you; I try to find something authentic and local. I have been served some bizarre things in Asia though…


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 )

Connecting to %s