Dinner with Tony Bennett

photography by rickycphotography.com

Greetings chums,

Last night, while many were still chewing over the shambolic performance of Britney Spears at the VMAs, I had the joy of being in the same room as a real star who was chewing his way through a plate of ravioli. Tony “I Ieft my heart in San Francisco” Bennett enjoyed dinner last night at Piazza Pellegrini in North Beach. His friend of more than 40 years Gino Biradelli, his lovely wife Alexis and a few other pals dined with him.

My moment with Mr.Tony Bennett

Gino told me that he and Tony first met four decades ago when he was performing at the old Vagabound Club. They have remained friends all these years and whenever the veteran crooner comes to town, Gino is usually the first guy he calls. “Friendship endures,” he said. “We have always been there for each other.”

Diners went about their business as the singing legend enjoyed one of his favorite dinners: old-school Italian ravioli. Once the main course was done Tony generously chatted to customers and staff, posed for photos and signed a few autographs.

The ravioli-loving legend also took a few minutes out for yours truly. He told me he was looking forward to his Davies Symphony Hall performance this week. I quizzed on his dinner. “How the raviolo?”  “Perfect. The best, the best.” Bennett said in his trademark low-tone gravel, with a twinkle in his eye—yes, at 80-plus, he still has a twinkle in his eye. 

Crab ravioli—Tony's favorite

Owner Davio Hadjim enthused, “Tony enjoyed four kinds of ravioli: crab, butternut squash, porcini and spinach and ricotta. Not a lick left on his plate. He loves his ravioli.”

With owner Dario Hadjim

It was a moment with a legend that I just had to share with you. He’s a true star, a gent, a national treasure and he loves ravioli!

By the way, if you want a true Italian dining experience, Piazza Pellegrini is the real deal. Not surprisingly, they’re known for rich ravioli. As the haunting sound of the late great Pavarotti filled the room, I enjoyed the gnocchi, loaded with asparagus, peas and ham in a delightful rich, creamy sauce. It was naughty but ever so nice. WOW. WOW. WOW.

Now what was that about Britney Spears?
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