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francesco

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  1. Why would a NY Italian restaurant serve cioppino? It is a regional dish, rather then specifically an ethnic one, and anyway I would imagine that there is quite a bit of variation in American-Italian and Italian-American food also. I would be surprised in the Italian population in the States was derived froma single geographic point and arrived at exactly the same time? ← Exactly: a NY Italian restaurant would not serve Cioppino in the same way that you wouldn't find Ciuppin in Naples or Palermo. There are quite clear and distinct immigration patterns from Italy to the US: very roughly southern Italians went to the east coast while Ligurians went to the bay area.
  2. If you go to Liguria you might find in several restaurants a fish soup called Ciuppin. Since much of the Italian immigration in San Francisco is of Ligurian origin, it's fair to say that Cioppino has an Italian antecedent and that it has a deserved place in the North Beach-Italian repertoire. It is inevitable that any fish soup made in a city which gets its fish from the Pacific Ocean will have significant difference from a fish soup with mediterranean fish.
  3. Almost. The saying seems to be written in some bastardised form of Genoese dialect and actually means: "Once foreigners taste pesto, they never want to leave Genoa anymore." Zena stands for Genoa in the local dialect which is called Zeneize.
  4. Vedat, for what it's worth, here are some positive comments about Pinchiorri. I have been twice to Pinchiorri and liked it a lot both times (the last one about 3-4 years ago, though). Incidentally, as you say, I have yet to find something positive said about it in a English-speaking forum and yet they seem to have a very international clientele and are one of the few high-end Italian restaurants that seem to have no problems in getting reservations (yes, it is in Florence, but still...). Anyway, I always found high prices, high quality service and very good food. I don't think that it matters very much that Annie Feolde no longer cooks, for some time they had Franck Cerutti heading the kitchen and he doesn't seem to be doing too badly at Louis XV. Also, I find the cuisine much more "italian" than people are willing to give it credit for. In the end I understand I am in a minority here and certainly accept that if some many discerning people have found it lacking then at the very least the place is volatile in its ability to deliver. Nevertheless, I still think it can deliver a very high quality experience. I certainly agree on Rochat and have never been at Chateauvieux but my one experience at Rabey was a nightmare. We went in the middle of summer and the restaurant was literally assaulted by flies. I remember us spending the whole time trying to get flies away from the food with barely an acknowledgement of the problem by the staff. I finally asked them to move us from our table and was told that it wouldn't have mattered because there were flies everywhere anyway. The food certainly wasn't bad but I remember not being blown away. I also remember choosing the surprise tasting menu and being served three different terrine dish one after the other including their amuse bouche. Now, if the menu has already two terrines, why give me more? Anyway, I am sure that the flies problem would have made the meal a nightmare even with the best cuisine in the world but it's a place that I certainly won't be able to persuade my wife to go to again. I remember the maitre'd spoke some Italian and was from somewhere in Eastern Europe, would that have been the one you're referring to? Francesco
  5. Vedat, to me this is, in a sense, good news. Flipot takes its inspiration from valdese cuisine which is much more a mountain cuisine than the langhe cuisine. As I understand it, they are actually quite unwilling to go very far from that tradition. The langhe cuisine, while certainly the most celebrated in Piedmont, is not Piedmontese cuisine, which doesn't exist. For example, if you go in the part of middle Piedmont that borders Lombardy then you get rice dishes that you won't find in the langhe. So, truffles are not part of the valdese cuisine and neither are tajarin. I find it extremely reassuring that a two michelin star restaurant in Piedmont chooses to stick to its roots so much that it doesn't want to serve dishes which don't belong to its tradition, no matter how popular they might be. I wasn't aware of it, and I too would have expected to see truffles on the menu but this tells me that they have a lot of integrity about what they are doing. (I don't quite believe a two-michelin star restaurant has problems selling truffles) Best, Francesco
  6. francesco

    Doug Psaltis

    Post 191 in this same thread. ← Note to self: need more coffee in the morning! Thank you! Francesco
  7. francesco

    Doug Psaltis

    Do you personally know these things to be untrue? Perhaps you can give the versions you witnessed, in that case. ← Pan, is there a parallel thread of which I am not aware? Where does this post from "FabulousFoodBabe" - to which you're replying - come from? francesco
  8. francesco

    Vissani - Baschi

    Since none of us who have reported on the restaurant took pictures of the place or the food, let me point to an Italian blog where there is a report of a visit to the restaurant with some pictures. vissani pictures Francesco
  9. francesco

    Vissani - Baschi

    It seems you had the "standard" Vissani experience of being in the dining room all by yourself while apparently I stumbled in one of those very rare occasions where the restaurant was full. I guess nobody would expect that being alone in a dining room could be anything less than unpleasant but I have read many other reviews that share your positive experience with the staff in such circumstances. Indeed this is exactly how we did it. I can also hardly think of a day better spent than on a visit to Orvieto followed by dinner at Vissani. I am really glad you liked it. The man is clearly mad at running a restaurant in that business environment which forces him to partecipate in TV programs about which the less said the better so I can't help but have some sympathy for him. Francesco
  10. francesco

    Northern Italy

    Robert, the restaurant you are referring to is in a town called Maleo and the chef was Franco Colombani, one of the major figures in the revival of Italian restaurants in the 70s and 80s. It's still owned by the family but as you say it isn't considered nearly as good as it was then. The restaurant the "Corelli event" people went to is in Trebbo di Reno and is on the outskirts of Bologna. The kitchen is run by the Leoni brothers who started their careers at Igles Corelli's two-michelin star restaurant in Argenta and worked at Vissani for a considerable time. Francesco
  11. francesco

    Northern Italy

    I must admit I was a bit surprised about this. I went about two years ago and found the cuisine good but nothing really earth-shattering. They were quite kind to us but also stingy on the truffles: we had just been a few days earlier at Guido on the very last night of the restaurant and the comparisons in terms of generosity on the plate was not flattering for Il Sorriso at all. In general, as Cy hints, they tend to be more expensive than one would expect. Gosh, how I miss Guido! Il Rigoletto Piazza Martiri, 29 42046 Reggiolo (RE) Tel: 0522 973520 Fax: 0522 973520 E-mail: ilrigoletto@ilrigoletto.it website: http://www.ilrigoletto.it Closed: June-Sept - sunday and monday lunch Oct-May - sunday evenings and mondays Best, Francesco
  12. francesco

    Northern Italy

    I almost forgot. This is interesting because the chef at the Metropole is Corrado Fasolato who used to cook at La Siriola in Val Badia, is always tauted as one of the preeminent young chefs in Italy and is clearly the hotel's attempt to create a serious gastronomic restaurant in Venice, just like La Pergola in Rome. I looked at the menus posted online and they read like a menu you could find at Le Calandre. Obviously Cy thought the results were really different! Francesco
  13. francesco

    Northern Italy

    Cy, I wish I could do what you've just done in Italy! Thank you for the additional details: incidentally, I checked Il Rigoletto's web site and it looks like the exact same menu you had is described online so as soon as I get a chance, I will try to fill in some of the gaps with the dishes' names and translate them in English. Villa Crespi's ascent as one of the elite restaurants in Italy has been meteoric to say the least and I was curious to see what a non-Italian made of it. Your report confirms that the chef can hold his own against the best the country can offer, which is clearly very good news. Thank you again. Francesco
  14. francesco

    Northern Italy

    Cy, welcome back. I am happy to read that it seems to have been a positive experience overall. Anyway, egoistically, I would like to hear some more details about Arquade and Il Rigoletto because I am the one who insisted on them while at the same time I am curious about Villa Crespi because it is one of those restaurants that many in Italy seem to be talking about. Francesco
  15. francesco

    Vissani - Baschi

    Veronelli (who passed away last year) and Vissani, both men of strong character, had a egregious fight two-three years ago about frying oil, widely reported by the Italian press. Veronelli suporting the olive oil thesis and Vissani suggesting sunflower oil as a much better choice. I'm not sure if this was the main reason, but it could be a good explanation for this. ← Indeed, this is the reason. Veronelli essentially said that any chef who argued that sunflower oil was a better choice than olive oil for frying was incompetent. At the end, however, I am not sure whether it was Veronelli who didn't want Vissani in his guide anymore or viceversa whether Vissani didn't want to be in Veronelli's guide. Francesco
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