Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Duty of Hospitality (is not just expected of the Host)

From the archives: Seeing as summertime is approaching and holiday visits to Italy will increase, along with requests to visit wineries, just a little revisit to this subject during our Memorial Day holiday

My dad, Lou, in the 1950's - the consummate salesman

I received an email from Italy, via a concerned and upset supplier, whom I regard as a friend.

“The person you arranged to visit our property in Tuscany never showed up. They never even called! Do you know what happened? We were waiting. We are still waiting. This happens too many times! Please make sure the people you set up visits for really want to come to visit us!”

I cannot tell you how many times this has happened. And with the tourist season ramping up, I fear more incidents like this. In this case I made three calls, filled out visit forms, three properties I made arrangements for and the client was a no-show at all three. To quote my dad above,

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Engendering Madness - What Price for an Authentic Italian Meal?

Seafood with Cheese - Authentic or the Ultimate Culinary Transgression?
 Over the past few days, I’ve been chatting with a foodie friend who spares no expense when it comes to food and wine. This is a person who will fly to Japan to eat raw fish. He was asking me for my take on some Italian places here in Dallas. One of his comments, in response was, “I’d rather fly to New York and go to Rezdora,” where the chef is a (local) friend of ours.

It got me to thinking about the costs of getting on a plane and going to Italy to eat authentic Italian.

What? Of all the profligate, indulgent, extravagant, privileged, entitled, senseless babble!

Well, as Batman said, “The world only makes sense when you force it to.”

So, let’s run some numbers.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Why “Italian” restaurants in America still don’t get Italian wine - Pt. II

Forging ahead with my quixotic crusade, let’s turn to red wines. I’ll try and be a little more circumspect in my presentation.

While Italy now has a plethora of great wines, I’d like to start with the less patrician and more serviceable ones. I say this because we still have legions of folks who don’t understand the intricacies of Italian wine. They are looking for easy road marks and equivalents. Not always so easy, but doable.

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Why “Italian” restaurants in America still don’t get Italian wine - Pt. I *

A classic Vitello Tonnato in a Langhe restaurant

I know, I know. We’ve covered this already. But apparently some folks out there still haven’t gotten the memo. Are we standing still? Or are we falling behind?

But, falling behind, that’s not news to America. We seem to be sliding in many respects. Still, at my stage in life, most of the critical crises are beyond my reach. An Italian wine list? It might be something I can parse.

This was recently triggered by a new Italian restaurant that opened up in town. Lots of flash. The chef is a food media-superstar and recently went to Italy, and was inspired to come back home and, with the help of an enthusiastic investor, got after it in a big way. No indication, one way or another, that they might have skiplagged their way through the food research.

I don’t wish to pick on any one chef or restaurant in particular, but rather see this latest iteration as a pattern of digression. The food menu, along with the wine list, seems to ramble. Dare I use even a loaded comment such as this: It is my belief that Italian food has been culturally appropriated to the point that some of the items (and combinations) that I see on contemporary menus in America, veer so far outside of the deep-roooted, sui generis pantheon of la cucina Italiana so as to barely be recognizable to those of us who truly love all things Italian.

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