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Italian Coffee Culture Is Great! (Starbucks Is Evil - Part 2)
When I talked about my last post with my wife, which admittedly was pretty negative regarding Starbucks, she suggested that I should be more positive. We don't want to be the grumpy, negative business that only criticizes things we don't like. That's certainly not our model and if you spend a few brief seconds in the comments sections of various social media outlets, you will not see a shortage of negativity and of that I'm Positive! (see what I did there?)
O.K., so even though my intention was to be critical of a company I don't support, I will try to do it in a positive way so that you the reader will step away from this blog post with good feelings!
Part 1 of this blog post topic centered on how, through a positive appreciation for Italian coffee culture, a scrappy small business struggled to embrace this culture and make it their own! They are an inspiration to all multi-national corporations who want to give a warm, friendly embrace to a beautiful, complex, proud and historical culture and really make it their own to the point of altering it to make it fit their image and business needs! How inspirational!
They are SO inspirational that I recently learned of a movement in Boston's North End, which similarly has embraced the Italian culture through the proud immigrant population from Italy that calls the North End their home. Local small businesses want to maintain the authenticity of their community by ensuring enormous multi-national companies who have embraced the Italian culture for their needs don't impose their interpretation on the community. I'm positive that their goal is to celebrate their culture, including some uplifting and delicious espresso and cappuccino, while minimizing the possible confusion (that's positive) on what is authentic Italian-American culture in Boston.
Excitement in Boston's North End
In an exciting and positive development, North End business leaders are working together as a positive force to maintain the charm and identity of this enclave. Man, this is really inspiring! Rallying together, supporting a common cause and fighting the good fight all in the name of Italian Culture. Meraviglioso! Splendido! Stupendo! Fantastico!
This struggle is so infectious that even non-Italians, like Mayor Walsh (I'm positive he's Irish!) are supporting this. He has encouraged the developer to embrace the idea of withdrawing the proposed Starbucks in support of the Italian-American community! His inspired support of this community shows how the loving embrace of politics and immigrant communities can co-exist certainly at a local level, if not at a national level! If you'd like to join this movement, consider a petition in support of the North End community!
I'm totally jacked and pumped having read the Boston Global articles referenced above! The only logical (and positive) next step would be to enjoy an authentic cup of espresso and I'm uplifted by the idea that if you don't have any Italian coffee at home, you could give our store the warm embrace of commerce!
Dining in Rome
During my recent trip to Rome, a friend and local recommended Hostaria Dino & Tony, the selling point was that it is affordable, great quality and traditional Roman fare. Without knowing it, my friend gave a description that perfectly aligned with what I like most about Roman food, so I was excited to give it a try!
Tony or Toni
While I am still learning to speak Italian (slowly), I usually feel fairly confident in a restaurant. Tonight, however, I was tired and Dino (or Tony, not sure which) greeted me, sat me down and asked if I wanted some wine with blinding speed. I was so overwhelmed that I think I said I wanted both Red and White wine. I didn't, he understood and returned with a delicious half-carafe of Vino della Casa and water.
I hadn't realized that this hostaria didn't see the need for menus. I'm sure I was asked what I wanted to eat, or at least if I wanted what they were making, but all I'm certain of is that I confirmed I …
History (Our Story!)
Our journey from automatic drip coffeemakers to stove-top espresso makers was long, but it shouldn't have been! We received a Bialetti Moka pot as a wedding shower gift from my sister and as we had no idea how to use it, we boxed it up and dragged it around with us on our many moves. During an unpacking, we realized the handle had broken so we dumped it (big mistake but who knew!). Cut to years later, Beppe ends up with another one from a yankee swap at a work Christmas party. Again, we don't use it. Finally our drip coffeemaker breaks and as we mull over which make/model to replace it with, we dig out the Moka pot and carefully read the directions and start using it, but only as an interim solution. After a few tries, we figured out that using it is not only easy, but an espresso is so much better!
So if you're intimidated (like we were) by the newness of the whole thing, we're here to share some tips on getting started using your stovetop…
The next person who agreed to answer the Coffee in Italia questionnaire is none other than new friend Michele, from the awesome Instagram account Mangia with Michele. We began following her within the last year and her posts about Italian food leave us drooling (you really have to check her out if you're not already following her).
I met her in NYC a couple of times IRL, and she's just as awesome as you'd expect! She has an extensive background in the food sector after leaving her career in accounting to pursue her passion. She's traveled extensively (even lived in Switzerland for a year) but loves her Jersey roots and can't imagine living anywhere other than the NYC area. Seeing the view from her window in various posts makes me miss the big apple that much more!
Currently she's hard at work building her website; you should subscribe right away so you won't miss the launch. She's also partnered with Food Lover's Odyssey to lead a food tour o…