Tag Archives: natural wine

Al Pont de Ferr

I’ve missed many a plane, train and automobile in my day for reasons both significant and not. In matters both personal and work-related, I am a professional only at being late, a fact I was grimly reminded of last month when our train from Florence to Milan nearly scooted off into the sunset without us.

Thanks, of course, to me.  I bought a pair of Italian-made sneakers on the way to the station.  (Yes, I have a picture of them, and no, I’m not going to show you. We just met.) Because of my poor judgment — or because of my impeccable taste in footwear — we literally had to run to make a dinner reservation in Milan with my buddy from Genoa.

This man is approximately two and a half times my age, a father-figure, friend, and mentor in one. He’s also part of the reason that, though I’m not actually Italian, I’m awfully good at faking it.

He and I are a dangerous, demented duo. We sat down and got right to business.  No menus — just the chef’s choice on our plates and champagne in our glasses.

The first thing we ate at Al Pont de Ferr was not a chestnut. Continue reading

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Le Chateaubriand

Sometimes I argue with the man in the mirror.  I’m smart enough to know that he can be stupid, and I delight in proving him wrong.  So in more ways than one, Le Chateaubriand was delightful.

I had to go there on this most recent Paris trip, precisely because I didn’t think I’d like it. I’d read the menu scores of times, seen pictures and reviews by friends whose opinions I really value. But a frustrating dichotomy was at work, the words “best” and “worst” uttered too frequently in the same breath.

I figured if I were going to investigate the matter for myself, a thorough approach was in order.  First my girlfriend and I would visit Le Dauphin, the newer, arguably cooler little brother to Chateaubriand that’s down the block.  Unfortunately after lunch there we learned that our date with the older sibling that evening was not, in fact, in the computer.  By “computer,” of course, I mean the scribbled, folded, wine-dotted papyrus peeking out of our server’s pocket.  Who, he asked, was our friend who’d made the booking for us, and what time would this hypothetical meal take place?  Inquiring minds wanted to know. Continue reading

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Saturne

For better or worse, there’s a bit of Henry Ford in me, an uncompromising spirit in the compromises I make. His customers could have any color car they wanted, as long as it was black. Likewise my girlfriend and I could vacation anywhere, I stubbornly told her, as long as it was a city with exciting restaurants.

I’m not only stubborn but also rather stupid for objecting initially when she proposed Paris. Jaded by meals too staid and too expensive there in the past, I thought it a boring choice. Nothing, restaurant-wise, seemed to be moving there.  Nothing seemed to be happening.

But truth be told, I had not checked in on Paris in over two years.  I was increasingly emotionally distant.  Our relationship had deteriorated, beaten down by my illicit flings with other cities, one-night stands with far-flung restaurants I might now call my favorites.

Saturne helped us hug and make up. Continue reading

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