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  1. This is something I posted about Ne' here in 2005. "La Brinca in Ne'. Ne' is just slightly south of Chiavari, not that far off the autostrada, albeit a little difficult to find (up a winding dirt and gravel road in the middle of the vineyards). Sergio Circella has basically taken his family's trattoria and enhanced the typical 'rustic' dishes (from the Ligurian hills) which are served, with a wonderful wine list and a cantina where you can buy anything from the list. Sergio is passionate about wine (with no snobbism of any kind) and loves to talk about food as well. A fun guy to be with. As Antonio Santini said: "this is a wine list which would rate a 17 or 18 in Gambero Rosso if they rated wine lists of trattorie." A trattoria which, except for the wine list, was commonplace in Liguria 25 years ago, but sadly is dying out. Cucina povera at its best.
  2. We haven't been to dei Mosto in a few years and am happy to see that it is still the same old great place. We've been to La Brinca several times and actually prefer dei Mosto, certainly in terms of food. The wine lists are comparable. The ambiance at La Brinca is better if that has any meaning to you. Both are really excellent trattorie. BTW, La Brinca does open for lunch on Sunday. Wonderful Ne' local color at Sunday lunch. If you're going to go to Chiavari, a must go place is Luchin. Great farinata and many other Genovese specialties, in an osteria setting (i.e. basic, basic) under the arches. Well prepared osteria food. A really fun place, particularly at night, but also a wonderful place for lunch.
  3. And where were the white truffles from?
  4. fortedei


    The best pasta, not necessarily the best restaurant, is Bruna Santini's at Dal Pescatore. No one, for us, makes stuffed pasta the way she does. No one. There is no number two. Third place would be Walter Ferretto's plin at Cascinalenuovo in Isola D'Asti, but it is a distant third. Great pasta and filling that is out of this world (think of the dish finanziera, and then grind the meats for the stuffing; incredibly rich flavor, with featherlike pasta) Up until a few years ago, Romano Tomani at Ambasciata in Quistello made, in our mind, the best pasta, both stuffed and non stuffed. The master was at work. Unfortunately, the restaurant is now outrageously, and I really mean outrageously, expensive. Il Latini and the others are sad. I've had Carlo Cracco's risotto many times, outside of Alba, not at Peck. Eh! Try Luciano Zazzeri's risotto di mare at La Pineta in Marina di Bibbona, made from scratch as it should be, not pre cooked for 12 minutes and laid on a sheet as almost all restaurant risottis are made today, in other than small places. No restaurant in Italy, worth its salt, would ever serve celeriac or herb pasta. Only the French would do it.
  5. fortedei


    You said: "The classic and beautiful spaghetti box (or some called it castle). This is probably one of the most stunning dish presentations in the world; the pasta is meticulously arranged with high precision. More importantly it’s divine – delectable white ham and mushroom with powerful yet balanced truffle and parmesan cream sauce. I think it’s worth the price tag … I couldn’t remember any Italian restaurants preparing better pasta/spaghetti than this one. Bravo! " The reason you couldn't remember any Italian restaurants preparing better pasta, is that this is not an Italian dish and any Italian restaurant worth its salt would never do something like this. Italians eat pasta, they don't play with it. As I've said many times here before, the French, in my mind, are the best chefs in the world, but they (in general) don't know how to cook, nor sauce, pasta and the same is true for risotto. Never eat pasta or risotto in France.
  6. Perhaps when the writer was referring to the undrinkable wine, he/she was commenting on the fact that it was a poor Merlot. What is a restaurant like this serving a Merlot?
  7. Vico does in fact have three one stars and of course Saracino with two. A reading of Gambero Rosso will make you wonder why three one stars. At L'Accanto and Antica Osteria Nonna Rosa the dishes are weird. Young kids trying to make a name for themselves by serving very different dishes from the norm. Maybe it works in the long run, maybe it doesn't. Most of the time, from what I've seen in Italy, the resturants fade... because the Italians don't want to eat that way and/or the chefs really don't have enough experience in running a restaurant on a long term basis. Even Gambero Rosso is very lukewarm in the numerical rating, giving L'Accanto a 78 and Antica 77, ratings that hundreds and hundreds of average restaurants have. Maxi, the third of the single stars, sounds much better. dishes that seem to make sense. Gambero rating is 78. Never having been to any of them, this is my close reading (between the lines) of Gambero. Maybe the Michelin is ahead of the curve this time. I doubt it because for the past 30 years that I've been following it closely, the thought behind the book in Italy is not about the food.
  8. If you look at the comments here and see what he served,and have been there and experienced it, there is no debate and scandal. What he was serving and the way he served it was scandalous. This is similar to the huge demotion in Gambero Rosso for Cracco. As I've said here many times, Carlo was a very good restaurant owner and chef, when he was in the countryside outside of Alba. He was a good regional chef. A really charming guy. A pleasure to eat at his restaurant. To elevate him to close to the top within two years of the time he got to Milan was sheer folly. And as quickly as they rise, that's how quickly many of them have fallen... and will fall. Question? With thousands of recipes in Le Ricette Regionale Italiane, why do these guys, and they're almost all guys, think they have to re-invent everything. If some of them had a good understanding of the basics of cooking, it might be one thing. It is totally another when they don't have more than the rudiments of cooking. Not much of real significance changed in Gambero Rosso, Michelin and L'Espresso, except as noted above and Vittorio. Quistello lost its second star (one of the great ones in former years going back to the early 80s, not so much in the last few)and some changes in Tre and Due Gamberi. Gambero Rosso, the restaurant, is nowhere listed (closed at this time last year as the guides came out),and at least by this writer won't be missed. What an over-rated place. On a very sad note. Some of us had wonderful meals during the 70s, 80s and 90s (and perhaps some of you had good meals there more recently) at La Mora in Ponte a Moriano outside of Lucca. Sauro Brunicardi was a wonderful restaurant owner, the possessor of an incredible palate re wine (and just about as good re food), a warm, extrodinarily giving man, both as a person and a restaurateur. A friend to many. Sauro died last week. He will be missed. What a really nice guy. http://iltirreno.gelocal.it/dettaglio/trovato-morto-sauro-brunicardi-patron-del-ristorante-la-mora/1794283
  9. Our tastebuds must be different. The zucca is the sweet part of the tortelli di zucca, the amaretti are bittersweet (from the almonds and sugar) and the mostarda is very sharp and spicy from the senape. How does that translate to sweet unless you use commercial amaretti and even then...? Use only fresh zucca and you get sweet (Emilia-Romagna). Use mostarda and amaretti and you don't get sweet (Lombardia), at least in the restaurants I've gone to. Sweet wine (by the way, red or white?) with tortelli di zucca? Wow. That sounds like Emilia-Romagna to me. Clearly we don't go to the same places in Lombardia.
  10. It IS the natural habitat of tortelli di zucca, the kind that contain amaretti and mostarda, but the food of that corner of Lombardia has a lot more in common with Emilia-Romagna than with, say, Milano. I always say the regional divisions are for the convenience of cookbook editors, who have 20 ready-made chapters, and that the gastronomic map would show very different divisions than the political. The natural habitat of the non-sweet tortelli di zucca is Ferrara, in Emilia-Romagna. ← With all due respect to you, I have spent an extensive amount of time, over the last thirty- five years, eating in that little corner of Lombardia and that little corner of Emilia-Romagna. Mantova, not Ferrara is the natural habitat of non sweet tortelli di zucca. All you have to do is see where most of the zucche grow and where most of the mostarda is made. I agree that food in that corner of Lombardia has more in common IN GENERAL with Ferrara or even Parma. However, and this is very important, once you get south of the Po, even a few kilometers, the change from olive oil to butter is significant and the cuisine changes dramatically. This is the "south of the Po butter rule", except for that very tiny pocket of land south of the Po that is in Lombardia, where olive oil still holds sway. To paraphrase the late Tip O'Neill... "all cooking fat is local."
  11. Why did I think the natural habitat for tortelli di zucca was Mantova (in Lombardia)?
  12. The photos alone, to say nothing of the food that is presented, leave a (very) lot to be desired.
  13. Are you kidding me. This is Italy, not France.
  14. If you were thinking of going to Gambero Rosso, go to La Pineta in Marina di Bibbona
  15. Lorenzo is very expensive. Your non fish eating 12 year old will be very unhappy unless he wants a steak. For fish go to Bagno Bruno, a bagno on the Lungomare. Only lunch except Friday and Saturday for dinner as well. The best fish, scampi, mussels and pasta with clams etc. in Forte. Trust me.
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