by Melinda Gallo

Guide books and good restaurants

I went to an English bookstore in via dei Neri today and checked out a few tourist books and was happy to finally find one of Rick Steve's 2005 books. Almost every American tourist I see has at least one of his books. Last year, I read his suggestions for restaurants in Florence when we were in Milan and he mentioned a few restaurants that I've been too and enjoyed. So, I trusted his suggestions for Milan and was not disappointed.

This time, I looked to see what he said about Lucca. I found the one restaurant that I absolutely hated and was even compelled to write about last week. He said that everything they served was fantastic. My initial reaction was to close the book and put it back on the shelf.

But, I decided to open it back up and read some more. It'd be easy to discount everything he said, but I know that he's made some other great suggestions. All I can think of is that the restaurant must have changed chefs or owners.

I then remembered that one year my mom wrote a letter to Patricia Well's editor about a recipe that she was going to publish in her upcoming book. She got it the year before, but the book wasn't going to be published for another year.

So research goes in a year before the book is published...and so much can happen in a year.

The problem is that there's nothing you can do, but try the suggested restaurant in the guide books. It's not like there's ever a sign outside that they've changed management. So if the restaurant is as good as listed in the guide books, then you got lucky!

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