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Rossetti’s: The chic corner of Lynn

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“Our job here at Rossetti’s is to make sure that all guests are treated like kings and queens,” states Chris Rossetti, the youngest partner of the new family-run eatery, situated in downtown Lynn. With superior hospitality, a classic Italian menu with a modern twist, and a posh, yet comfortable atmosphere, guests are certainly treated as such. In fact, frequent diners suggest that Rossetti Restaurant is the epitome of the North Shore dining scene, and has contributed to the revitalization of Lynn’s city center. On the corner of Sutton and Liberty St., Rossetti’s industrial chic interior, complete with a craft cocktail ...

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Malden’s Hidden Gem: Ristorante Serena

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There is perhaps no other restaurant that fits the term “hidden gem” quite like Ristorante Serena, located in Malden’s lively, working-class Maplewood Center. With its front entrance obscured from a passerby’s view, a little help from locals will guide newcomers down a lateral hallway through neighboring Panda Palace to find the highly acclaimed Calabrese eatery. Ristorante Serena, named after chef and owner Giovanni Longo’s eldest daughter, has been ranked as the city’s preferred locale for Italian fare, seafood and catering for the last six years. With an intimate dining room setting and traditional cuisine from Longo’s native Calabria, Ristorante Serena ...

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Ciao, Johnny Shoes

Johnny Shoes (photo courtesy Stefano Salimbeni)

“È finita la canzone,” the song is over: it was the first quote by Johnny Shoes Cammarata that I ever put on television; many more followed. The year was 1998, and I — 31 and hungry for the spotlight — had just begun telling Italian and Italian American stories for RAI, the Italian national TV network I still work for today; Johnny, then in his mid-sixties, was already in a nostalgic mode, constantly looking back to the ‘good old days’ when “everyone knew everyone” in Boston’s North End and “you could leave the doors open”… all that jazz old timers ...

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Cristiano Bonino: The Craft of Tasty Tours

Cristiano Bonino checking out seasoned Parmigiano Reggiano

Cristiano Bonino organizes food tours for a living: yet, as a foodie, he is not very credible – at least not at first glance. At 45, the shape he is in is associated with enthusiasts of diets and gyms, not gourmet regional specialties — especially after living in America on and off for the past 8 years (full time for the last four). As he leads me up the stairs to his Somerville top floor apartment it is hard for me to keep up with him; then as soon as we reach the kitchen/living-room – a sunlit open space nicely ...

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The theatrical life of Chiara Durazzini

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As Colombina, the servant of the rich and stingy Venetian merchant Pantalone, Chiara Durazzini is extremely convincing as she delivers on stage the blend of grace and cunning embodied by the most famous female figure of Commedia dell’Arte — the theatrical representation of human mores, vices and virtues invented in Italy in the 1500s. Yet all it takes for her to turn into a — just as convincing — bold and flamboyant Spanish Captain without even needing to get behind the scenes. (Nothing sexual about it, of course, at least in this case – even though double entendre and play ...

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Avellinese Pride and Plentiful Dishes at Danny De Simone’s La Vita Mia

La Vita Mia owner Danny De Simone

Tucked away in the most unlikely location just outside Saugus center is a treasured spot for Italian fare. Sandwiched in between a bustling convenience store and a Dunkin Donuts, La Vita Mia’s unassuming exterior has kept the restaurant a hidden gem, and that’s just how the locals prefer it. Owner and Head Chef Gaetano “Danny” De Simone’s quaint eatery is packed with Italian flavor, which has landed La Vita Mia on the North Shore’s list of local hotspots. With family photos displayed tastefully on the walls and family recipes appearing on the menu, diners are continually reminded of the significance ...

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Diving into the Wine World of Campania with Filippo de Magistris

Filippo de Magistris with Jennifer Martin

It’s always a pleasure to speak with folks of Italian heritage, but when they come from the same region as your own family — Campania — and even the same province and town, Candida, then it gets very exciting. I recently had the pleasure to meet Filippo de Magistris, one of the restaurant owners of Il Casale in Lexington. The restaurant is located in downtown Lexington on Mass. Ave and it focuses on the cuisine from the region of Campania where de Magistris and his brothers, Dante and Damien, originate from. De Magistris’s father Leon came over from Candida with ...

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Chef Francesco Gargiulli Mixes Innovation and Tradition at Mast’

Executive Chef Fracesco Gargiulli standing in the patio area of Mast'. (photo by Stefano Salimbeni)

Francesco Gargiulli looks like a kid and has the enthusiasm of one. Under a thick bush of dark curly hair, his eyes light up in sparkles when he talks about… anything, really! And he does talk — a lot and fast — about many things, at times three or even four different subjects at a time, jumping from one to another without ever losing the thread. In short, everything about Gargiulli evokes youth, but what he says carries the weight of experience. After all we’re talking about someone who started working full-time at the age of 16. A few minutes ...

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Fausto Panizzolo: A “non-assisted” walker, down the path of research

Fausto Panizzolo of Harvard's Biodesign Lab.

For a living, Fausto Panizzolo develops devices to help people walk: better, faster and with a lesser amount of energy. On the walk along his career path, however, he likes to rely, solely on his own: in fact in his native Italy – as well as elsewhere – “devices” (whether political, social or even merely economic) are often used to obtain prestigious positions in research, like the one he holds now as a post-doc at Professor Conor Walsh’s Biodesign Lab at Harvard, a cutting edge think tank where over 50 scientists from all over the world work to create assistive ...

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Boston’s Top Sommelier Todd Lipman on Italian wines

Todd Lipman winning the Best Sommelier in Boston award.

Voted Boston’s Best Sommelier a number of times — including 2015 — I wanted to interview Todd Lipman, who serves as the Head Sommelier of Bistro du Midi in Boston. After graduating from Boston University, Lipman decided to begin his wine education at BU’s Elizabeth Bishop Wine Studies program where he fell in love with the beverage business and knew this was where he belonged. He’s now a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and continues his education currently listed as an Advanced Sommelier candidate through the same program. Even though Bistro du Midi is focused on French ...

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Marblehead’s Casa Mia: A Home Away From Home

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In Italian, Casa Mia translates to “My Home,” and for both Marblehead’s chic and trendy and the local fishermen alike, home is where you’ll be at once you enter this new Calabrese eatery. Twenty-five year old Raffaele Scalzi and his brother Luigi (Gino) Scalzi, opened the brand new restaurant on July 1, and have already been met with unparalleled success. Nestled alongside The Barrelman and the hopping Five Corners Kitchen, Casa Mia is a stellar contribution to Marblehead’s catalog of dining locations. I arrived at Casa Mia with a particular curiosity, anxious to see what such young culinary entrepreneurs had ...

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Honoring culinary traditions at Caffe Paolina in Swampscott

Caffe Paolina in Swampscott (photo by ©Elise Balzotti)

In the eyes of a passerby, the small Caffè Paolina, tucked discreetly in the corner of a quaint strip mall on Swampscott’s main road, does not beckon customers in. Once inside, however, diners feel an unusual sense of comfort and welcome. Greeted by the proprietor, herself, in a true Calabrese fashion, with open arms and a thick Italian accent, Paolina sets the tone for an authentic Italian meal. Paolina’s personality and presence are an integral part of the dining experience at this family-operated locale. Born and raised in the Calabrese hilltop town of Palermiti, she learned much of what she ...

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