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September 12th, 2001 Caryn B. Brooks | z-Miss Dish
 

A Pinch of This, A Tad of That

     
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SLOWLY BUT SURELY: Genoa's Kerry DeBuse and Cathy Whims will open a new eatery...eventually.

GENTLE READERS,
Way back in 1999, Miss Dish had a conversation with the owners of Genoa, Cathy Whims and Kerry DeBuse. They talked about how they had bought the building that houses the restaurant a few years earlier and were thinking of using the extra space to start a new venture. A cooking school perhaps, maybe a cafe or even a private dining room. Both had dreamy looks in their eyes. Then Whims said, "Change happens here glacially," and the conversation came crashing back to planet Portland.

Now, two years later, it looks like there is some movement on the expansion front. According to DeBuse, a more casual eatery and drinkery based on the cicchetti available at bacari (more on these words in italics below) in Venice is in the works. When Miss Dish recently ran into Whims and asked how the project was coming along she smiled and said again, "Change happens glacially at Genoa." Indeed, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

DeBuse says to look for this nameless-for-now place where you can nosh on little bites of prepared food and buy wines by the glass and bottle "a ways off, March--probably April."

So what are cicchetti and bacari? If you use the translation feature on Google when visiting a Venetian website, you'll learn: "to Venice 'the ciccheti' they can be translate like stuzzichini. They anticipate the lunch or the supper and many times are one excuse for ubriacarsi: in fact many times begin with average egg and a white man, acciughetta and an other white man, one polpetta of meat and a red one,...the ciccheti they come you use in 'the bàcari.' The bàcari can be compare to you to of pub and the points of meeting of friends that is where it is spoken, mangiucchia and it is drunk."

Easy enough. But to make this clearer, here's DeBuse's interpretation on the subject: There will be a display stuffed with little plates of food. You will point at what you want: maybe a meatball or a dish of roasted veggies or a little sandwich. You can make your meal as big or small as you want. "People think it's like tapas, but it's not," says DeBuse. "Nothing is ordered and prepared and brought out to you." In Venice you stand and gobble; here there'll be seats available for needy American asses. The doors will open from early afternoon until 1 am-ish seven days a week. There will also be a wine retail component. DeBuse says the main focus is keeping the feel and presentation completely traditional. As far as how it relates to the business next door, DeBuse says, "It's a totally separate business. It's not Genoa. It's not a less expensive substitute for Genoa. It's not a Genoa cafe. The only thing they'll have in common is the feel, the focus on tradition and quality."

Molto molto.

 
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