Trying Ai Cugnia, a homey trattoria in Dorsoduro – Venice

The maitre d’ at Ai Cugnia in Dorsoduro greeted us with “Pamela?” and seated us in the cozy front room. While I’m always pleased when a restaurant recognizes our reservation, it made me wonder just how foreign I must look to Italians.

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Ah, Venice…the art, the history, the water – the doughnuts! I swear to God, you’ll forget all about Krispy Kreme once you taste a bomba from Tonolo in Dorsoduro. The tender dough, the rich custard, the crunchy sugar, it’s enough to make a girl give up her four-year vow of sugar chastity. Trust me, it’s worth the splurge.

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Battling the Italian bureaucracy

The battle to obtain the elusive but required document “permesso di soggiorno” — permission to stay — began when our landlords’ extended family, including an attorney and an accountant, made four futile attempts to produce a rental contract for our apartment that was acceptable to local authorities. 

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Valentine’s Day endurance test

It’s a rare occasion that I would return to a restaurant that took 90 minutes to serve me a single piece of food, but Lido Bianco gets the Come-Back Award any way.

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