On our last afternoon in Venice we decided to attend La Traviatta at Scuola Grande di San Teodoro that night, and we knew our time for dining would be short, but we wanted a special place for a special dinner. Trattoria al Gazzettino was just a few steps from our apartments, and it had appealed to us through the window for its cozy and homey atmosphere. I stepped in and asked a smiling gentleman (who turned out to be the owner) if the chef could prepare pasta alla puttanesca, a favorite dish of mine which Cheryl had never tried, and he without hesitation replied in the affirmative. We told him we would be back, and went on to continue our final souvenir shopping. Upon our return a couple hours later, he beamed at us in recognition, ushered us with a flourish to a table, and had a waiter at our side in seconds. Delicate and tasty bruschetti were immediately served as a complimentary appetizer while we selected our wine and perused the menu. We chose to share a zuppa di frutti di mare for starters, and it was delicious, with a flavorful broth and brimming with crab, mussels and sweet baby clams. Upon its completion, our puttanesca was served, and it was everything I had hoped for. Steaming pasta done to perfection, with a custom-prepared sauce of garlic, oil, tomatoes, black olives, capers and anchovies. We were stuffed, but I felt the need for a palate-cleansing refreshment, so we each had that delightful Italian confection, lemon sorbet in a frozen lemon shell, which was exactly the right choice. We took some time to converse with the affable owner and thanked him profusely for his special service, at which he produced his wife from the kitchen, and introduced her to us as his chef. It was she who had so graciously gone off-menu on a busy night to satisfy the request of two grateful guests. We thanked her and the attentive staff, and bid them all "arrividerci", for we certainly intend to revisit this charming little restaurant on next year's return to Venice.
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