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Everything posted by fortedei

  1. You said you were going to The States soon. Don't forget the bay scallops from Nantucket. They have been out for two weeks now, even sweeter than last year for some reason. Wherever you go to get them, tell the resturant that you want them just lightly sauteed(just until cooked through) in a little butter. Much better than roasted and most American chefs can handle a simple saute'.
  2. Glad you appreciated the glasses wherever you went. I've always been surprised, particularly in the past dozen years as good glasses (from Riedel as an example) have come down to a low price, at how many restaurants still use crappy stemwear even if they offer decent wines. A little extra in the price of a bottle (not even noticeable) woud take care of capital costs and breakage. Would restaurants which purport to serve good food serve the food on paper plates? That's the equivalent of poor glasses.
  3. Not a lot I suspect. Their main trade is the corporate diner & there's enough of them to keep things going. I think anyway. Will be interesting to see. I completely agree that those on vacation who try to cram too many 3 star meals into a short time are being pretty silly. Think there was a whole thread about this a while back. ← Not enough corporate diners in Italy to keep the top restaurants going. A number will fail. See my last blog in Italy Dining.
  4. This post and last year's somehow make me suspect you don't much like the GR Anyway, as most will know, the 'communist' (not really, see discussion in the therad) leader Bonilli was ousted in a corporate coup this year, so this is the last edition that bears his mark. Next year's edition may show some change of direction, though I doubt it will be dramatic. I won't know anyway because I do not read the GR guide. ← I like the GR very much. We use it all the time and have since 1995. Before that, going back to the early 80s we used L'Espresso's Ristorante D'Italia (and still do but it has changed and not for the better). Before that we had only the Michelin. You have to know how to read between the lines very carefully in GR and that means reading it year after year. What we like best about GR are the Tre Gamberi and Due Gamberi. With those, although there are exceptions, you have places that have real integrity. What we don't enjoy about GR is the need they have to push "top" restaurants simply because they are doing something different. The GR can't admit that many of these places are in over their heads as far as skillful preparation (certainly compared to the French... and I say that as Italophile who lives a good part of the year in Italy), and in over their heads in terms of conception of dishes (and in many cases in over their heads financially). As I said, some won't last much longer and many will change. Few Italians want to go to them and the tourists will be fewer than in the past. A number have taken to bringing in large tour groups to pay the rent. However, the GR continues to promote them and cajoles them into doing something that many would prefer not to do; the stick for not doing it is a lower rating. I've written about that and you can check out past blogs. The Gamberi are another story however and there is where some truly wonderful restaurants are, a few of which we would never have found without GR.
  5. The 2009 is out. Again, the same players as last year with Tre Forchetti with a minor change or two. Very minor. Many of these places are already feeling the recession in Italy (lots of empty tables) and some won't be in business after another two years. However, the GR soldiers on, trying to promote mostly those who can bring "glory" to Italian cuisine... poor Adria imitations. Sad to see. Not my kind of places with one or two exceptions. Much better food and care at The Tre Gamberi
  6. It's has nothing to do with "no where near as good as eating in Paris." "Tuscan" food is different from "Parisien" food. Either you like it or you don't. However, ask him where you can get great pasta or risotto in Paris? You can't.
  7. First, You will really enjoy Mirazur. THe food is exceptional as is the service. I have friends who highly recommend Restaurant Bacon in Juan les Pin for boulubaisse. ← Bacon is in Cap d'Antibes not Juan les Pin
  8. But the really really good cycling AND really really good eating is to the East. Moena (Malga Panna), San Cassiano ( Rosa Alpina) and toward Cortina (Tivoli) and the Passo Val Gardena, The incredible Passo delle Erbe (one of the best rides ever) and, of course, Passo Falzarego, there is an unbeatable combination of rides and food and wine. And... Italian is THE language.
  9. Shouldn't a 255 euro tab, be superlative in every way!?
  10. High above Riomaggiore (you’re in the upper vineyards and the sea is far below), is the hamlet of Groppo. High up in the hamlet is the restaurant Cappun Magru. We were there for the first time five months ago and the meal was so good we decided to go back (it is about an hour plus from Forte dei Marmi). It didn’t disappoint. The dining room is on a promontory, almost cliff like, overlooking vineyards and vegetable gardens. Spectacular view. It holds at most 20 people. Typical husband and wife team, Cristiane in the sala, Maurizio in the open( to the dining room) kitchen. Very carefully prepared Lugurian food with vibrant flavors. No modern nonsense (read that to be, no foams, no experiments, no Fernand Adria school of cooking), you’ll recognize everything on your plate and it will taste delicious. A real cut above most anything in Luguria and certainly a far cry from the usual Cinque Terre menus and execution. Yesterday we had Cappun Magru and filetto di Lanzardo al vopore as antipasti; tagliolini di faro con scampi, seppioline in a salsa di ricci… and Ciuppin (with a lattughe ripiene of fish) as primi; for secondi, polpette di manzo con crema di borlotti freschi and filetti di Nasello con purea di sedano rapa e zucchini in fiore. Dessert was a torta di fichi freschi, which was excellent as well. A great bottle of a Walter Batte white and a glass of his Sciachetra' for dessert. A very good wine list, with very moderate pricing. The list reflects the Bordoni’s taste and travels (and they have great taste in wine), in Italy and France. Very friendly service, but not of the fawning kind. An absolutely delightful place with wonderful food and wine.
  11. Antica Trattoria Boschetti in Tricesimo, not far from Udine, is a gem. Rinaldo Krecvoj is at the top of his game. Fantastic food with no gimmicks (i.e. read no foams etc), wonderful wine list (and great glasses) because he cares and a very comfortable trattoria setting. Bike riding around there is perfect, and is different from Cormons area.
  12. Fat Guy, We've had our little contretemps about the current state of French and Italian food. Look at the second photo (gambas in a risotto flavored with mint and citrus fruit). Is this something the French have copied from a trendy Italian chef? What about serving spaghetti as a "side", as Julot had recently. From trendy Italian chefs as well? Why can't French chefs stick to what they know best, French food, which for me, overall, is the best food in the world. Why do they want to get involved with pasta and risotto where they just make a real mess of things? Best, fortedei
  13. I have been on the ground. A number of times. Not good for wine or truffles this year, though the hype and hypocrisy will tell the world that everything is great. Huge rains in The Spring, really hurting the grapes. Very dry summer. However, the spin is starting. Ventiquattro Ore today assured everyone that Barolo and Barbaresco are okay. What does that mean? Wine, and to a certain extent truffles, are subject to marketing ploys used to take money from the unwary. I'll be up in Piemonte again at the beginning of next month and will have a better idea of what the situation is with both. There are always some great truffles from Piemonte, no matter what the year has been (think in terms of outliers) the only question is their cost. On the other hand, beware of "Alba" truffles from Croatia, which will be in abundance particularly with Slow Food on this year.
  14. Just nonsense. Very little rain in general in Piemonte for the last month.. Then you have to ask yourself, when it rains, where is the rain in the plain. In Torino, fine, but no truffles in Torino. North of Asti, fine. Piemonte is a micro-climate. It's like saying the east coast north of New York is rainy. Really? The sun might be shining in Boston. As Tip O'Neill said... all truffles are local.
  15. What makes them the best cheeses in the world? That's quite a statement. Didn't you mean to say that these are the cheeses you enjoy the most and think are best?
  16. From a meal this past March: Thursday for lunch we went to Au Trou Gascon where we hadn't been in 20 years. It was as good as we remembered. Way out in the 12th (but easy to get to by Metro), it is the original restaurant of Alain Dutournier. Mostly businessmen and a few couples at lunch. Pleasant room, very good service without being either fawning or cold... just right. Great menu with so many things to try (again food from the southwest), even better wine list (both the menu and wine list very reasonably priced). We had gateau de topinambour, foie gras, truffle noir (with the Jerusalem artichokes serving as the pastry in essenially a millefeuille; how he did it is beyond me)... outstanding dish; fricassee de petit gris, ravioli verte; la cuisse d'oie confite en pot a l'ancienne, galette de pommes, and a salad with intense fresh mushrooms;le cassoulet, lighter and more elegant than most, but also more flavorful; tourtiere chaude et croustillante, glacecaramel; russe, pistache glace. Definitely a place to go if you want more than a bistro,but don't want the fanciness of the many-starred.
  17. A three star restaurant (arguably, for some, the best in Italy), yet so many mediocre dishes according to your report. The worst thing is the gimmick of having a waiter asking you to open your mouth and then spraying grappa onto your tongue. Just pathetic that a restaurant has to resort to something like that.
  18. fortedei

    Marc Veyrat

    It is interesting. I haven't been myself in a decade even though I get to the Annecy/Geneva area almost every year and indeed when I go next Feb I'll go to the Ferme de Lormay (if open, Albert Bonamy has a bizarre schedule) up the road 33 km in Le Grand-Bornand or the Maison de Filippo in Courmayeur on the other side of the Mont Blanc tunnel instead.There is a Merged Topic, however, that does have one long report and several short comments on Veyrat. ← John, Much much better than Filippo, in my mind, is La Clotze in Planpincieux, about 5 km. north of Cormayeur
  19. From Frank Bruni's review in today's NYT.
  20. But then again, to show the inconsistency, from Sunday March 16th of this year, written to friends of ours: "Sunday lunch went to Mon Vieil Ami on the Ile St. Louis. Fabulous. A modern bistro, very casual and lively. The cooking was exquisite, but in a non fussy way. The emphasis is on vegetables before meat and fish, but that is just to say that they take the vegetable part of a dish very, very seriously, while not ignoring the meat or fish. The preparation for two of the dishes was on a two or three star level (really), but again, full plate, not precious and not fussy. What they do to vegetables to get the flavor is not to be believed. Throw in a great wine list, priced very reasonably (we had a 2005 Boillot Volnay for 72 Euros), very good service and a really pleasant place and this was our best meal of some very good meals. Had mijotee teide de legumes de saison aux raisins et aux amandes avec tartine de tapenade (unbelievable);legumes marines en tartine filets de maquereaux et vinaigrette aux epices (the mackeral was incredible);vol-au-vent aux asperges et ris de veau (also unbelievable);celeri, pruneaux et noix, magret de canard roti au citron confit; tarte chocolat et sorbet; profiterole vanille-chocolat."
  21. Well I'll say it would entirely depend on 1) the foie gras and 2) the fish. As a matter of fact, last Saturday at the gala dinner of the Grands Crus classés de 1855 served at the Chambre de commerce in Bordeaux, our first course was a Pressé de foie gras de canard and anguille fumée (smoked eel) prepared by Thierry Marx. It was heavenly. I am with Julot on this matter; if he says the trattoria is good, I am pretty sure it is, notwithstanding the "authenticity" factor which in this case is pretty relative. The French like so serve pasta as a side dish. I believe this trattoria in the suburbs of Paris is quite entitled to serve pasta as a side dish on request and still be self-respecting. ← I didn't use the word authenticity. No one knows what authentic means. Several months ago, on the Italian board, there was an interesting discussion about Italian cooking techniques and also about French chefs and the use by them of two Italian food staples, pasta and risotto. This is in part what I said: "Innovation, in food and other areas, is a great thing in the hands of people who know what they are doing. Unfortunately, most of the top restaurants in Italy (lets say, as rated by the Gambero Rosso, if for no other reason than that guide is a good starting point for the “top” restaurants) have no clue as to what they are doing. Lets be honest; cooking technique, as practiced in Italian restaurants, leaves a lot to be desired (and I’m a fervent Italophile), certainly as compared to that in France. Notice, I’m only speaking of technique, not taste nor combination of ingredients. We can start with pastry and work our way from there (on the other hand it is truly pathetic when a French chef tries to make pasta or risotto… truly pathetic). France has it all over Italy in terms of technique. As far as I’m aware, only two chefs in Italy, again lets say in the top 20 of Gambero Rosso, had a great deal, if not most, of their training in France. These two, by the way, are head and shoulders above their peers as far as technique goes, and both have Italian souls, a great combination, although one of these two has certainly gone over to the other side with regard to fusion (perhaps in order to get a higher rating in the guides). Notice my comments on the technical ability of Italian chefs compared to French. French chefs have it all over the Italians. However, when it comes to pasta and risotto, "The French" don't get it. It is not in their soul. Ptipois, pasta as a side dish? What would you think of Americans who when ordering cuisses de grenouilles said " and could you bring me a bottle of ketchup?" Pasta is a separate course in Italy. The pasta, in its various shapes, serves as a complement to what it is sauced with. Pasta, is not treated as a side dish or a "vegetable" in Italy although it may be so in France. BTW, flaming pasta in a hollowed out wheel of Parmigiano, is reminiscent of what used to go on in Little Italy in New York, about thirty years ago.
  22. It was a special request, and the place is genuinely Italian -- even in Italy, some trattoria tries to please their clients. But I must tell you that 1- I don't believe authenticity matters and 2- The point of a Trattoria in Romainville is not to eat better than in Italy. Certainly Luna Rossa i snot as wonderful as some meals I had in Napoli. But they were in Napoli, and as far as Romainville is from Paris 8th, Naples is further. ← No trattoria in Italy, that cared what it served re food, would ever serve pasta as a side course. Tourist places perhaps; a self-respecting trattoria, never. What would you think about a "French" restaurant in the countryside outside of Florence, owned by French, that served (just to pick an example) a slice of foie gras terrine as a "side" on a plate having a whole fish?
  23. Host’s note: This topic has been split off from this topic on inexpensive restaurants that began to wander off into a discussion of whether or not it is possible to find authentic non-French cuisine in France. This topic has already been discussed elsewhere on eG—and is probably a universal topic that applies to many countries—however, we thought it might have a different angle in France. Was this supposed to be an Italian trattoria in France or a French "trattoria" serving Italian food? I ask because after eating well over a thousand restaurant meals in Italy, I've never seen (although perhaps it exists someplace) a trattoria serve pasta as a "side" or "vegetable" with a whole fish on the plate.
  24. We were not insiders enough to know that someone in the kitchen would eventually be a great chef. But both Passard and Barbot were noticed very quickly when they started their own restaurant. Barbot was all the talk in town a few weeks after he opened. So was Senderens, back in the days when he opened l'Archestrate. Passard was the youngest chef to get two stars at the time, in that hotel where he was before he opened l'Arpège. ← I don't think Passard was the youngest two star. I think that honor goes to Gerard Pangaud, who got his second star at age 29.
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