Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Comments Roundup-o-Rama

My recent review of Uva Trattioria inspired some mild cattiness in the comments section regarding how authentically authentic their Italian cuisine is. Maybe I'm just a Scottish/Norwegian/Russian boy (no, I'm not Irish, contrary to popular belief) who has never traveled to Italy or Little Italy or any sort of Italy, who was born and bred in dear old Idaho, but it seems to me Uva's cuisine is as authentic as any other Italian eatery in the area (I'm not counting Olive Garden's cookie-cutter corporate "Italian"). It's about 32 times more authentic than the Lean Cuisine Spaghetti and Meatballs I had for lunch yesterday. Anyway, after a little back and forth, Uva's Chef Steve pops in to shut 'er down:

Giucchi said...
If you are talking about Californian Italian cuisine, maybe it is up to their standards but please DO NOT say it is an authentic Italian restaurant!!!
If you want to taste authentic lasagna or Tiramisu or any genuine Italian dish, please come to my house and I will gladly educate you. I will even bake fresh bread to go with your meal.
So far the closest I have found is Tony's by the lake or Angelo's...or my own cuisine...
Anonymous said...
@Giucchi: Angelo's might be close to authentic, and up until about three months ago I would have rated the place well despite the cost of his food. But last three months I've personally noted a decline in quality. Portions, while not huge at one time were adequate. They have gotten smaller, with the veal dishes being the ones that seemed to have shrank the most. The last time I ordered the smoked salmon pasta dish, the salmon was way oversmoked. Finally, a few weeks ago I ordered spaghetti with meatballs. They claimed to be out of meatballs (They don't make them to order?!?), so I let them switch it to sausage. To their credit, I got three sausages, two whole ones and one cut up within the sauce. But all of the sausages were overcooked and way too dry, the one in the sauce the worst. I don't know if the food caused this or if I picked up a stomach flu, but my stomach was in horrid shape for a long time after that meal as well.

So in short, I no longer wish to even consider Angelo's. Maybe my experience was unique, I've seen other recent reviews that did praise the place. But I don't wish to go there now.

And another point. Show me where in the blog that the reviewer says the food is authentic. Maybe I missed it, but I don't ever see said claim. Even if they do, so what? I do like trying the "authentic" versions of cuisine. But I am not such a food snob that I can't enjoy Americanized versions of various cuisines if it is done well and tastes good. Often the Americanized versions become their own cuisine as well, many would argue such for Americanized Chinese for instance. There seems to be this food snob attitude that if it isn't 100 percent authentic to the nation of origin, it's crap regardless of the truth. I guess I don't need to be such a snob.
Jim said...
"If you are talking about Californian Italian cuisine, maybe it is up to their standards but please DO NOT say it is an authentic Italian restaurant!!!"

Don't think that was ever said...

And I highly doubt your cooking is as good as you'd like to think.

Dunning-Kruger much?
Anonymous said...
I guess you have to define authentic Italian. If your definition of authentic means my recipes came from a man who immigrated from Puglia, Italy in 1966, opened his own restaurant in 1968 and has been running strong ever since, winning numerous awards along the way, is authentic than yes we are AUTHENTIC.

I also make some pretty darn good rosemary fennel focaccia house bread fresh every day. Maybe you should give us a try.

Chef Steve
Uva Trattoria

A lot of people lost their cool and their minds a few months ago when I revisited Mexican Food Factory and gave them a less-than-flattering write up. MFF has a very, VERY devoted following and I may have ended up on yet and other hit list or two after I hit the Blogger "publish" button. Ah, well. I can take the heat, and I always hope readers keep things in perspective and realize that I only represent one little person's point of view in a big, big world. If people don't enjoy my opinions, they can start their own food review blog and get whatever they need to get out of their system. 

Please, let me throw down on this. As a former employee and close personal friend of Dan Franks, (yes, the same Dan of the Franks family that has owned MFF since 1981)and Galen, (the same Galen that has worked in that kitchen for over 12 years and now manages MFF)I am more than slightly offended by your review. Let's be real, every single item you ordered was made in that kitchen from scratch. The cheese you get on those tacos? Comes in 40 pound blocks that they hand shred. The lettuce? Hand shredded. The shells? Trust me on this as I have HOURS of personal experience; they are fried daily in-house. You want a Taco Bell taco for $1.37? Be my guest. But comparing the two tacos is asinine to say the least. You enjoy the taco carts on 4th street? Then go hit those carts, ask to see their health report and food handlers permit (which Dan Franks has hanging on his wall) and enjoy a cheaper meal. Oh wait, quesadillas at those places run $5-$6 as well... To obviously exaggerate the shortcomings of your meal is petty and a disservice to Dan. Tell you what, get your ass out of bed at 5 am and run on down to MFF some weekday morning to get a breakfast burrito from Dan. He will go ahead and stop prepping food in the back to come out and make from scratch the bacon and scrambled egg burrito that you will get filled with cheese and tater tots that you can then drench in their signature salsa. And when you get your cup of fresh, hot coffee, and pay your $5, (which is less than you will spend at McD's for breakfast) then leave, Dan will go back into the back to shred more cheese, or cook another giant pot of refried beans, until the next tinkle that announces a customer has walked inside looking for that little slice of the Southwest. Please sir, keep your negative opinions to yourself unless you are willing to give Dan a chance to address your concerns. By the way, that $2 beer? You would be charged at least $4 if you bought it anywhere else. And what taco truck or Taco Bell has a beer license that you can buy a cold one at? That license right there could run into thousands of dollars yearly. When was the last time you could buy a bag of chips at the store for under $4? Cheese for under $6? It looks like you'll pay $10 for that chips and cheese right there. So yes. I am offended by this article that shows you obviously wielded your pen as if you were fighting some monstrous injustice. But it just as obviously shows that you have poor taste and could use some class. The problem with "food critics" such as yourself? Well, anyone can pop a blog online and write a review and call themselves a "critic." I've seen 5 year olds that can do that. Doesn't make you a better human being, and it sure as hell doesn't make you right in your review of MFF!
@Scott Cardwell: I am not the author of this blog, nor have I ever met him. But firing off a rant at a food critic/blogger over a negative review is NOT the way to drum up more business. It just makes you come off as angry and defensive. A critique of a place isn't an attack, it should not be taken personally. It is only a post about one person's experience with a place at that time. Ranting about it does nothing. What you SHOULD do if you are a former employee and friend of the owner is point out this review to the owner so he can THEN decide if 1) It may have merit, 2) It is just one bad review and has no merit.

Or to put it another way, if you want to see what happens when a restaurant review by a critic or blogger is taken as a personal attack? Go watch the "Amy's Baking Company" of Kitchen Nightmares.
The point is Mexican food factory is not what it used to be anymore!! The prices now would be okay if the quality of the food was what it used to be, that place did used to have a family quality that reminded you of home and love.

I love Dan and have known him since I was 14 as a customer there which was 21 years ago!!! I won't go there anymore. The restaurant has gone down hill, it's insulting to be expected to pay the money they charge for what's on the plate. I want the old Mexican food factory back! When the food they made wasn't just about the money, and throwing something on a plate quick style. When their food was made with love, passion, and inspiration!! Lortus was the cook back then and she was amazing. I would love Mexican food factory to come back to life and be that place again.

Anonymous said...
My husband and I went to that same location the other evening and the only flavor the shrimp had was the cocktail sauce! It was pretty bad.
Anonymous said...
My family went there and while waiting to be seated the hostess told us they didn't have any tables big enough to seat our family. (My family is a family of 6 skinny people!) Never will I go back there!

I cut my teeth for surviving life in CDA in the 80's. I had an apt above First interstate typewriter on 4th and Sherman. I loved rustler roost's fried potatoes. and when I was at the lowest point in life I was living in a tent up fernan.

Amazing to read about it all. 
William Jack said...
The Sheep House was my only taste of downtown. Didn't do the clubbing or the cruising. I lived in Dalton Gardens so there was lots of vacant land to party on. The woods up by Honeysuckle Beach which is now full of McMansions had many a party. We would grab pallets from various places and have big fires.

I remember the Bookseller and Hobbit Town (in the basement of the long-gone Interstate Typewriter building). Pre-Resort we would go to Cloud 9 for the Sunday chicken dinners.
patrick said...
in the late 70's, early 80's i lived in "the cabin" on 17th and young ave.
does anyone here know any of these people?
roger or terry ore, sherry adkins and mary jane maxwell or tan diane, queen of sanders beach.
john and madie, chuck and kathy, jack and fran,ray and jeanie.
so many people that come to mind when think of north idaho times.

i wonder if i could still live in a sleeping bag on tubbs hill for the summer?

how nice to run across this site … many wonderful thoughts come to mind of north idaho and the people of those north idaho years.
Anonymous said...
It was an easier life. I recall the sign outside of town stated 13600 population when I was here. Moved here in 1967 from Wallace ID. I was the lead bouncer at Peabody's for several year working for Terry and his associate . (Can't recall his name). It was an easy job as I knew most regulars as friends. One night my door bouncer Dan Worthington waved at me for help at the front door. He had a rowdy with a 45 and his buddy with a Bowie knife. These two were threatening Dan as he wouldn't let them in with these at their hip. I calmed this scene by stating I'd buy them their first drink after they take their toys to their rig. Those were the days TR


Anonymous said...

I too am sorry to say that UVA's fare was much less than expected. To me doesn't matter if recipe was handed down by the best chef in Rome. If the food is too overcooked, or tough or to spicy.....well then some people will not like the cuisine. My meal at UVA was a total disappointment. I don't have an Italian Grandmothers handed down recipe but after living in Italy for 13 years and dining all over the country I feel qualified to say UVA was a disappointment to my palate but I am sure many American's that have not had the pleasure of dining on Italian food will find the menu to their liking. I never tried to find a good hamburger in Italy and have not found good Italian food in Idaho. I think UVA is a fusion of Italian thought and American palate.

Dean said...

Visit me back