Longing for Italy's Profile

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Dayton, OH, please help me find the name of this restaurant

Nov 26, 2012
Longing for Italy in Great Lakes

Quick Venice question - fiaschetteria toscana vs antiche carampane?

I too vowed to "keep quiet" about some of these issues. But in reading this thread, and reflecting on my previous interchanges, I thought I'd try another approach.

In high tourist concentrations in Italy, usually around Centro areas, successful eateries have a business plan that is working. (First of all, serving "good, tasty, flavorful, etc." is a given--not a plan.) What seems to separate successful plans is the target palate--tourists who want "good" food, or locals who want "their" food. Distinguishing between them often doesn't requiring tasting anything; in the extreme, menus in English? case close; no menus at all--case closed.

Those who spend a lot of time outside tourist areas know that Italians can be very rigid and opinionated about food and wine--even some restaurant folk refuse to "pander" to tourists' wants. Again, this is "their" country and many of "these" folk didn't invite us and don't think of us a special "guests." That's just the way it is in some places.

The solution won't come on this (or any similar) site. To me, the solution is "taste and see." I would hope we would first explore THEIR cuisine without imposing our own preferences; after that, follow your palate. But then, don't try to elevate your (tourist) palate as a standard for their (local) palate. From what I've seen, there are enough people to satisfy both business plans. For me, I know where I'm headed..........

Nov 22, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Smoked turkey

I just finished smoking a 7 lb. turkey breast--my recipes called for SLOW smoking (200-225 degrees) for an hour & quarter per pound. I smoked it for a little over 7 hours and it was perfect. The 4.5-5 might be OK for a "hot" cooking, but...........

Favourite trattoria in Emilia-Romagna?

http://www.cadaunoristorante.it/

Cadauno is a wonderful ristorante in Centro Reggio Emilia; on via Squadroni

Nov 12, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

"In Florence, Learning the Secrets of Tuscan Food"

travel vs. food

Since barberinibee seems to be addressing me RE the "myth" of transportation, I'll make one LAST comment. Barberinibee is correct that IF one can identify in advance a "worthy Tuscan trattorie," one could spend the day (as Jen correctly stated) traveling by train (or bus) and taxi to that place--all things are possible!

But barberinibee's own original post includes the words "secrets of Tuscan food;" her own subsequent response seemed to have left that topic. Even more importantly. barerinibee's substitution of "excellent" for "authentic" is quite a categorical error; there is a sharp distinction between "excellent" and "authentic." Florence (or any tourist town) is full of "excellent" food that may not be totally authentic; if one seeks "excellent" food as defined by their own palate--enjoy!

However, as I said in an earlier response, some of my American friends didn't think some genuinely "authentic" Tuscan food (as defined by life-long locals) was "excellent" (by their American palates).

My personal bias is that I like to explore a place and its food on its own terms; I like to discover rather than define or impose. Certainly I've done this without a car. But I rarely find "secrets" routinely hidden in plain sight. Good, tasty, excellent--maybe; secret--rarely.

Nov 08, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

"In Florence, Learning the Secrets of Tuscan Food"

guilty as charged...

At one level, it's no secret that virtually all of Italy's region-specific cuisine is driven by a no-compromise obsession with the highest quality of locally sourced ingredients. Beyond that, the "magic/genius" is in the preparation. My bet is, that in each of the trattorie listed above, what appears as a relatively simple and straight forward preparation is somehow elevated to a quasi-mystical "how-in-the-world-did-they-do-that?" status. Such preparation is beyond mere technique. Returning to the "authentic" part of the discussion, these non-mass-produced presentations somehow reflect the deep roots and particular passion of people anchored in place.

Maybe this can't be describe (or at least I can't describe it); but I'd suggest that Allende's mini challenge that you "...try some and see how they compare to the meals you ate" might be a revelation--depending on your palate of course :)

Nov 07, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

"In Florence, Learning the Secrets of Tuscan Food"

I agree--BUT...

Of course one can find wonderfully "tasty" and even "good" food throughout Florence. For that reason, Florence has many places where one can just relax and enjoy lunch/dinner. However, this post started with the "secrets of Tuscan food," and then moved to "authentic Tuscan food;" to me, this moved the discussion beyond "tasty and good." We have taken many American friends to small places on the back roads (like the "ordinary trattoria" Allende notes) that the locals would proclaim as "authentic" only to find that our friends' American palates didn't proclaim that food necessarily "tasty or good."

My point is "be careful what you ask for." American tasty vs. Tuscan authentic may differ!

Nov 07, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

"In Florence, Learning the Secrets of Tuscan Food"

...to re-enter the post after many replies--I remain disturbed about "tourists" seeking secrets of the authentic as defined by others (for a profit or not). I love Firenze, but it's one of the most touristy of towns in Italy; to find the authentic secrets of Toscana requires a car to travel the narrow roads and the mind and spirit of an explorer--not a semi-passive tour participant. If that's not your preference, relax and enjoy the good food you find.

Nov 06, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

"In Florence, Learning the Secrets of Tuscan Food"

Jen, I totally agree with you about this article in particular and tours (of any type) in general. In fact, I'm becoming increasingly concerned about how many CH posts seek the "best" of everything listed out in advance. At one level, I appreciate their quest--and their research; at another level, though, I know how much they'll miss by sticking to any list--even from members of this board. The rewards of exploring, or as you say "directing your own steps and having your own experiences," far exceed even the best of recommendations from others.

Nov 05, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Narrowing down in Florence

ditto minchilli--especially RE Tranvai

Oct 21, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Day Trip from Florence??

Depending on how many tastings the driver wants, you might consider taking the bus (about an hour trip) to Greve in Chinati. It has the Enoteca Del Chianti Classiso (with almost 100 wines), Macelleria Falorni (with salami salami), shopping and lunch places.

Oct 09, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

9 tables Athens OH

Anyone eaten @ 9 tables? Sounds interesting--only 9 tables, and menu options are 5 or 7 course meal (2-3 hr. experience). Advertising fresh, local sources, wine pairings, etc.; but the proof is in the tasting.

We're meeting friends at Zoe in Athens, but need another dinner suggestion.

Sep 03, 2012
Longing for Italy in Great Lakes

Memorable dinner for 6 in Florence?

I fear "ambiance" is too vague--but a place I frequent is small, servers with white jackets, good food and great wine: Cantinetta Antinori on Piazza Antinori.

Sep 01, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Florence restaurant musts for chef staying for 6 days early september

I think Al Tranvai was "SlowFood" before there was Slowfood. Very small place, family run, on Piazza Tasso in the Oltrarno. In our times there, we were the only non-locals. Menu on the small blackboard (what's freshest today) and wines on the shelves around you (our first visit, I asked for the wine list--the server just smiled and pointed to the wine bottles).

Traditional food rules: ribollita, tripe, a melted pecorino fondue, pecorino sfuso, fried Taleggio cheese, small celery "meatballs" breaded and lightly fried, served in a tomato sauce, or a spinach "meatball" seasoned with Parmesan and truffles. Save room for a wonderful torta dei fichi (fig walnut and fennel cake)!

Aug 20, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Florence restaurant musts for chef staying for 6 days early september

I just returned from my fourth 6-8 week stay in Florence. I'd hope you'd venture beyond the obvious places (although Mario is a must). Places I consistently return to are:
I due G,
Cantinetta Antinori
Le Volpi e l'uva
Al Tranvai

Aug 20, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Recommendations for 6 days in Central Tuscany

Just spent 10 days in Montepulciano in mid-May--with daily trips all around. An absolute "don't miss" is between Montepulciano and Pienze: La Porta Osteria in the tiny village of Monticchiello. It was so good we broke our own rule and went a second time. Fabulous wine list and the best meals of our 10 days [before heading off to Firenze for 5 weeks :) ]

www.osterialaporta.it/monticchiello.e...

Aug 01, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Florence, eating near Boboli (review)

You also need to check out Le Volpi e l'uva, a fantastic enoteca on Piazza de' Rossi, n. 1 (between Palazzo Pitti and Ponte Vecchio).
ciao

May 18, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

one week ouside Montepulciano

We're in our 9th of 10 days in Montepulciano--doing what you want to do. Day trips are easy; we've been from Volterra in the West to Cortona in the East and most places in between. We always eat lunch out and usually dinner in. Without a doubt, the best meals (yes we went back) were in La Porta in Monticchiello (just South of Montepulciano). We would have gone back the third time but "Master Chef Australia" is filming their chef for 2 days! The second best place was in Cortona--look for the sign "Dolce Marie B & B" on Via Ghini, 12; and the third best was in Siena: Hosteria IL Carroccio on Via Casato di Sotto, 32 just off the Campo.

Just a heads up--most market vendors travel from town to town, so you'll soon encounter vendors you've seen before. No matter--watching the town folk connect on market days is great people watching.

enjoy

May 18, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Send champagne to someone in Bloomfield Hills, MI?

Elie Wine Company in Royal Oak--shopped there for years!

www.eliewine.com/

May 04, 2012
Longing for Italy in Great Lakes

Fine dining near Volterra?

We've stayed in Volterra several times. The best place we'ver found is Trattoria "by Bado"

Borgo San Lazzaro n.9
56048 Volterra (Pisa)
Tel 39 58385 +39342

Apr 30, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Offering the chef a glass of wine

I'd just read Tim Fish of Wine Spectator (http://www.winespectator.com/blogs/sh...)
on these issues before reading your post. He answers your questions better than I could.

Apr 22, 2012
Longing for Italy in Wine

Where should I buy wine online?

A late response to an old post, but WineAccess delivers to PA. I've been generally pleased by their service. They often offer wines I can't get in Ohio, Michigan, or KY and they'll work with you about delivery schedules.

Mar 24, 2012
Longing for Italy in Wine

Honey

RE honey & Florence, the best selection is in a shop on either Ricasoli Cavour, between the Duomo and San Marco (sorry for the vagueness of location). Several stalls/shops in Mercato Centrale have good selections as does the gourmet store Pegna (Via del Studio,8).

Mar 16, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Indianapolis (east) - casual, inexpensive, perhaps a brewpub? pizza?

Brugge Brasserie

(317) 255-0978
Broad Ripple
1011 E Westfield Blvd
Indianapolis, IN 46220

www.bruggebrasserie.com

Fabulous mussels and frites--is a brew pub as well.

Feb 27, 2012
Longing for Italy in Great Lakes

Dayton OH - Jimmie's Ladder 11

I wasn't sure about trying it--all (yep, "all") of the reviews from friends have been negative. So, I'm glad to hear a positive review.

RE the other reviews--I admit they were from long-time Cornerstone patrons who want their old "divey bar and grill with suprisingly decent food " back. I, too, thought that Cornerstone had very good food for a bar; bottom line from my friends is that Ladder 11 isn't much of a bar and only has so-so food.

Although I'm not a sports bar/place fan, I've heard great things about the buidling and rennovation. I'd like to see it--than check out the food for myself. I'll report back later.

Feb 20, 2012
Longing for Italy in Great Lakes

Wine Storing in a cabinet a bad idea?

It could work----BUT don't guess on temperature--get a thermometer for inside the cabinet to check a couple of things:
(1) you don't want it to get in the upper 60's; and
(2) you don't want temperature fluctuation. A constant temperature is almost as important as the actual degrees: 65 (out of sunlight) should be OK for the 2-3 year period you're targeting. Longer than that isn't a great idea.

Feb 15, 2012
Longing for Italy in Wine

Good eats around Kent St Univ (OH)?

Thanks--I'd heard about The Bistro on Main, but not the others.

Feb 13, 2012
Longing for Italy in Great Lakes

Good eats around Kent St Univ (OH)?

I've done the search of previous threads and haven't found much. Is that because there's not much there, or....

Looking for CH type of food for a couple of dinners.

Feb 12, 2012
Longing for Italy in Great Lakes

if you had just one lunch and one dinner in florence...

Then Le Volpi E L'uva - Piazza dei Rossi, 1 (between Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti) is the place for you!

Feb 01, 2012
Longing for Italy in Italy

Rue Dumaine slipping? [Centerville (Dayton) Ohio]

The announcement helps explain why Anne hasn't been in the kitchen very much lately--nor that visible in the house. Seems like she's been busy planning the move and expansion. I agree on the apparent motive to move to Dayton's newest hot spot--and to be closer to Cincy. Opening another restaurant and expanding the hours of the original will be a management challenge; the Rue's food has always surpassed the service, so Tom will have his work cut out for him.

For us as well, the extra distance will certainly mean fewer visits. But, I wish them well.

Jan 21, 2012
Longing for Italy in Great Lakes