Tag Archives: Italy

Training Wheels

Mario Batali, American chef and restaurateur.

Image via Wikipedia

Let’s end the week on a food note, shall we?  I know – just like every other Friday.  The sort of big news around my town this week is that Mario Batali is opening a place here.  Due to some funky zoning regulations, our town’s culinary scene hasn’t really kept up with towns around us so this is terrific news.  I’m sure you’ve all seen Mario on TV even if you haven’t eaten at one of his many excellent restaurants.  What you might not know is that his route to that success was kind of different and that’s today’s business thought. Continue reading

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The Rules of the Road

Stop sign used in various countries. The shape...

How many near disasters have you had on the road lately? I’ve had a few although from chatting with friends it sounds as if not as many as some. But I’ve seen a few accidents of late as well as a dozen more near misses and I’m pretty sure I know why these things are occurring. It’s reflective of other things going on away from the road too. Continue reading

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Held Up Without A Gun

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

I’ve been holding this post until today since it’s food related and we try to do food on Fridays. The Springsteen-based title is in honor of taking the family to see him tomorrow night but it’s applicable to the subject at hand. My friend Mongrel is of Italian descent and revels in what he calls the “underlying criminal mindset” of the entire country. I think he’s typically hyperbolic about that but a couple of food incidents sort of have me believing it. Continue reading

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True, true

italian food

Fridays are for food in this space and I’ve just come back from what I consider the greatest food country on the planet, Italy.  I’m not going to dwell on my usual themes of great ingredients simply prepared although we were lucky enough to have many meals done exactly that way. Rather, what struck me on this trip was how true the entire culinary culture of the nation has remained to itself. Continue reading

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Back, sorta

We returned from 10 days in Italy this afternoon.  One might think that the hard part is adjusting to the 6 hour time change or the very different takes on food here vs. there.  For me, neither of those is a huge issue.  Sleep deprivation has been a way of life for me, as it probably has been for you, since high school and while I have written a lot about my love for Italian cooking as it is done in Italy, the real hard thing is to adjust to getting good service, honest pricing, and the occasional sincere smile back here in the USofA.  Sometimes that grass isn’t always greener!

I’ll write more about this next week since I want to think about it a bit more. It’s always great to be home in your own bed, while I will be for a night and then on to out-of-town meetings.  I just wanted to post something now that I have web access to let you know that I appreciate those of you who’ve come to the blog in my absence.  I’ll try and reward your diligence with the usual daily posts.  Grazie mille!

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La Dolce Vita

A pretty interesting thing happened to us yesterday.  As we were driving back to Praiano from Pompei, the Amalfi coast road was closed due to falling rock.  Apparently the intense rain storms we had loosened the ground enough that some rocks tumbled down the cliffs and onto someone’s windshield.  Talk about ruining a vacation!  Anyway, we ran into a police roadblock in a little town called Piano di Sorrento.  The police were busy yelling atchatting with all of us who had climbed out of our cars and were trying figure out what was going on.  At some point, he got tired of the verbal abuse (and Italian is SUCH a great language for this) he was receiving for delaying everyone’s trip and told us “due minuti” – two minutes.  A big cheer arose , we climbed back in our cars, and hurdled forward down the narrow road.

In another due minuti, we ran smack into another cop who was at the pile where the rocks had indeed fallen.  Two guys were climbing up a pretty steep hill to inspect the state of the remaining rocks and no one was passing.  We ended up going back almost to Pompei and taking another route home and as of this morning the road still isn’t open.  Only two hours delay.  Non che problema.

I write this because clearly the first cop decided it wasn’t his job to get abused so he’d pass the Euro on to the next guy.  The only one whose situation he fixed was his own.  You may have thought he was trying to be helpful but he wasn’t.  Any cops like this in your business?

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The Blue Grotto

Grotta azzurra, Capri, Italy

There was a report last week that The Blue Grotto, one of Italy‘s most-visited tourist locations had been fouled by raw sewage.  The suspicion was that some local mafiosi had dumped the waste they’d been paid to haul away in the water rather than pay the dumping fees to increase their profits.  Fortunately, in the few intervening days, the smell has gone away and the early reports may have been wrong.  But the entire incident got me thinking anyway about how many business people do the same sort of dumb things. Continue reading

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