Arturo Toscanini

On the covers of the original menus that we used  for many years had biographical trivia of some of  the prominent Italian people that made contributions to America. One of them was Arturo Toscanini. We listed him as the manager of The Metropolitan Opera House. Well on July 3, 1977 his grandson Walfredo Toscanini came in for lunch. Reading the error on our menu he wrote a long explanation  in Italian on one of our placemats of the correction that needed to be made about his grandfather Arturo Toscanini (March 25, 1867 – January 16, 1957). In fact he further explained that Arturo was Direttore Artistico (artistic manager, conductor) of the Metropolitan Opera House and the Direttore (manager) was another Italian  Giulio Gatti-Casazza (February 3, 1869 – September 2, 1940)

Walfredo also added that he and his wife were passing through Poughkeepsie and wanted to stop and eat a good meal. They were thoroughly satisfied with their meal of Stuffed Shrimp and Shrimp in a Marsala wine sauce. And he finished his letter with saying that if we wanted to open up a restaurant in New Rochelle to call him because he would gladly help us.

Here’s a little background information on Walfredo Toscanini:
Walfredo Toscanini was born in Milano, Italy and moved to the United States with his family in 1938. He attended most of the NBC Orchestra concerts conducted by his grandfather, Arturo Toscanini, and traveled across the USA with the 1950 Tour. He graduated from Yale College in 1952, and received a Master of Architecture from Yale University in 1955. In the private practice of architecture, Mr. Toscanini was particularly interested in spaces for the performing arts and acoustics. He worked for the Facilities Development Corporation of New York State administering the program for Group Homes for the Developmentally Disabled, and for the N.Y.S. Urban Development Corporation in preserving and enhancing the economic base of the state. He served as City Councilman in the City of New Rochelle from 1973 to 1977 and has been active in the Democratic Party in Westchester County.

Stay tuned for some more interesting stories of people that we have met at Coppola’s Restaurant during our 50 years in business.  Hmmmm… I wonder… a restaurant in New Rochelle…

First Day of Spring

Buon Giorno,

Aahh the first day of spring brings us all the excitement of new and fresh…………We are starting all our herbs for our herb garden. Basil, parsley, arrugula,etc. I hope our sage and rosemary come back. The mint is starting to peek through and will soon overtake the garden if we let it. Fresh herbs from the garden just make all of our entrees just that much tastier. Store bought is good but it just isn’t the same as from the garden. Did you ever notice that the store bought basil is so bland? You need a whole handful to get just a faint aroma from them. A basil leaf from your own garden is all that it takes to  make a favorite dish “pop with flavor”. Until our garden is flourishing may you have a Bella Vita Gustosa!

Basilico

Basil, basilico or as they say in napolitana  – b(v)asinicola. Well,  in napolitana I was never sure if they say it with a v or a b. I love this herb! It is considered the “king of herbs” by cooking authors.  The tender light green silky leaves taste like anise. It has a strong pungent sweet aroma. Adding it to a tomato and mozzarella brings the salad to life. Tomato sauce without basil is like a book with blank pages.  Ce bisogno basilico per una vita gustosa!!

La Vita Gustosa

We can’t think of a more approriate title for our restaurants blog. La Vita Gustosa means a tasty life in Italian. Food and living go hand in hand. Can anyone honestly remember a celebration that did not involve food? If you were brought up in an Italian family then there is no way that special occasion did not revolve around food. Close your eyes and think of a pleasant memory.

Let me share with you one of my pleasant memories…
Waking up on a Sunday morning hearing my mother singing  along to the songs on the Italian radio station. And smelling the most delicious aromas coming from the kitchen. No not bacon! But tomato sauce simmering on the stove. A perfect blend of tomatoes, onions, garlic and basil. I hear the crackling and spattering of  frying. No not bacon! Meatballs! And thats my special memory. A busy kitchen full of music, aromas, and love.

Questa e la mia vita gustosa…