Eat @ Joe's By Ralph Raffio for 2017
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT RALPH RAFFIO
Ralph Raffio has been a writer and editor for more than 35 years. He is former editor-in-chief of Restaurant Business magazine and currently writes the award-winning food blog Mister Meatball. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, he is now based in suburban Portland, Maine, and curses United Airlines whenever he has to connect to almost anywhere. He'll always stop for BBQ at The Salt Lick when he's at Austin-Bergstrom International and is convinced you should eat at Don Peppe while stuck at Kennedy Airport in New York.


December 7: MISTER MEATBALL AND THE MAN
With my past, I was reluctant to submit to "the airport man" for an interview in an attempt to get Global Entry. Turns out I worried for nothing.

November 16: THE DIE I'M DYING FOR IS IN BOLOGNA
The last time I was in Bologna I picked up a solid brass pasta extruder known as a torchietto, along with a die for making spaghetti. What I neglected to purchase was the specialty die for making passatelli, a simple pasta made with breadcrumbs, eggs and cheese. Anyone headed to Bologna and want to pick one up for me?

October 19: LEAVE THE CHECK. TAKE THE RESPECT.
I insist on paying my bills. But what do you do when service in a restaurant is so sloppy and distracted that you can't even get your bill?

July 27: MILAN IS MORE THAN A BAD AIRPORT
Too many business travelers think "Malpensa" when they hear "Milan." That's a tactical mistake. It's a fabulous place to visit--and, of course, to eat.

June 29: FORGET GROUCHO. I JOINED THE (AIRLINE) CLUBS.
To upgrade the way that I fly requires doing something that I have very carefully avoided for my entire life. I'm going to need to join an airline club. I hope Groucho will forgive me.

May 25: A FAKE BUSINESS TRIP OFFERS REAL ALTERNATIVES
Let me tell you about a fraudulent business trip because we might learn something about the fraudulent nature of travel loyalty and how honest-to-goodness business travelers can break the ties that once bound us to particular airlines and hotels.

May 18: MY LAPTOP OR MY LIFE? I'M THINKING! I'M THINKING!
There is no way that I would willingly leave my laptop at home in Maine while I am traveling on another continent for 15 days. Trouble is, there's nothing simple about this laptop ban--or about making a decision as to whether I take the MacBook with me. There are consequences no matter what I do. Potentially catastrophic consequences.

March 30: MEATBALLS ON A PLANE
When a guy who runs a blog called Mister Meatball gets a choice of "meatballs or fish" on a transatlantic flight, the choice is obvious. Here's a tale of misaligned coach seats, missed hotel reservations and, yes, meatballs on a plane.

February 9: A BRIEF HISTORY OF IMMIGRATION AND TRAVEL POLICIES
Travel and immigration bans dominate the news. But do we know the history? Here is a brief rundown of U.S. policy over the years. You'll be surprised by some of the twists and turns.

February 2: I AM A CHILD OF IMMIGRANTS
An early 20th-century photograph of an immigrant family rests in a prominent place in my home because I am a child of those immigrants. I love that photograph. After my wife, it might be the one thing I'd grab should flames ever force us to flee our home. Now all I feel when looking at that ancient Italian-American family portrait is dread and disbelief. I never would have predicted that this country of ours would be at such an awful place.

These columns originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright 2017 by Ralph Raffio. All rights reserved.