Grado, Aquileia, Udine and home

Grado wasn’t our cup of tea. It’s a very chic seaside resort town that shares the same water as Venice. It sort of a cross between Miami Beach, the Hamptons and RV heaven.Beautifully restored little streets, very expensive and mediocre restaurants and a reputation for being a  spa town.
The town is known for their “Boreto” or brodetto (fish soup) and it was good but we’d had enough fish, it was Saturday and we decided to head back to Udine because we didn’t want to miss Saturday night in Udine.

Our route out of Grado took us through the ancient town of Aquileia which is famous for the Basilica that dates back to 313AD.  The floor of the basilica is covered in incredibly detailed mosaics depicting many allegorical images that are clearly pagan in their roots.  Behind the Basilica is a very moving and powerful cemetery dedicated to the victims of World War 1. The two statues pictures might be a bit difficult to see in this lower resolution but take a close look. One has gaunt soldiers being helped by a crucified Jesus and the other is an archangel lugging a fallen soldier to heaven.

Hard to believe, but we didn’t stop to eat in Aquileia!  We did stop at an unremarkable roadside trattoria, well not entirely unremarkable as I did see one of the strangest dishes go by.  It was a tomato margarita pizza heaped high with French Fries! I can honestly say that this a combination that I would never imagine in my wildest dreams, buy hey, to each his own.

This fantastic bike adventure was coming to end, but wait, there was still one more killer meal to be had and it was a complete accident that we found it.  After a louche Saturday night in Udine, we picked up the truck on Sunday morning and drove up into the Prealps.  It was fun to ride along some of the same roads that we had biked, but a car moves too fast and you miss all the little things.

We wandered far up into the hills where we saw foragers staggering out of the woods carrying huge baskets of mushrooms and by lunchtime we were very hungry and heading down into Tricesmo where there was supposed to be a good restaurant. We had our car windows open to breathe in the fresh air, when the smell of grilling meat wafted in.  Like characters in a silly cartoon, we looked at each other and without a word, careened into the parking lot of the Trattoria Friuli.

They were just gearing up for a full Sunday lunch and since we had no reservations, they put us at a little table by the door. Great seat….we got to watch the full parade of people coming in.  No menu, just a few questions: wine? If the answer was yes, they went to a refrigerator and pulled out a generic bottle of red wine. Turns out its their own wine and the vineyard is right outside. Meat? Yes, please.  Mushrooms? Yes, please. Pasta? Yes, please.
Our order being taken, Jeff heads off to use the facilities and comes back with the hugest grin, “You have to see what’s going on in there!”
I wander into the next room and there is a grill the size of a billiard table, covered in meat.  The chef is sweating and smiling and having a fine old time getting his picture taken by me. I hurry back to the table because I see our antipasto has arrived and Jeff is already sampling away at the silky prosciutto. We eat fresh tagliatelle with funghi, another huge plate of sautéed mixed funghi and finally a perfectly done dinosaur steak. It was complete heaven.  We rolled out of there and the next day we rolled home to Umbria.
Can you tell we had some fun in Friuli?  You know we are going back to Udine and it will be in time for Saturday night!

Trattoria Friuli
Torlano di Nimis
Via del, Ponte, 2
Tel: 0432-790203

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