If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve caught on that I’m Italian. And because of this (well, really because of my 95-year-old Sicilian grandmother), I’m incredibly picky when it comes to dining out for Italian. I still mourn the closing of Battuto in Little Italy, but that wound began to heal when I discovered Michaelangelo’s (also in Little Italy) about two years ago. When people ask me a recommendation for Italian, this usually is atop my list. In the Q&A, chef/owner Michael Annandono may not be one for a lot of words, but he more than makes up for it in the kitchen. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend checking out for yourself.
1. What are the top 5 spices every home chef should have? Kosher salt, course ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, saffron and bay leaves.
2. What is your favorite and least favorite thing to make? Most favorite is handmade pastas; least favorite is soup.
3. What is your favorite thing about Cleveland and what drives you nuts? Most favorite is the ethnic restaurant scene; least is the reputation of a meat and potato city.
4. If you could cook for one person, alive or passed, who would it be? Jimi Hendrix
5. Favorite restaurant in Cleveland? Chez Francois in Vermillion
6. What restaurant do you miss? The Top of the Town
7. What hidden gem(s) have Clevelanders yet to discover? Michaelangelo’s in Little Italy!
8. What’s your last meal on Earth? Tagliolini alla Bolognese
9. Most unusual food you have every tried? Horse
10. Most famous person you have ever cooked for? Madonna
11. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? Fly fishing guide
12. Favorite TV show? Las Vegas
13. Favorite kitchen gadget? French knife
14. What is the best plate of food you have ever had? Veal Ossobuco
15. What’s your signature dish? Veal Cannelloni
16. Why should someone visit you for dinner? We offer the finest ingredients prepared fresh daily in traditional methods.
17. What’s the inspiration behind your restaurant? Bringing the authentic cuisine of Italy back to Cleveland and serving it in a beautiful and sophisticated atmosphere.