Author Topic: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan  (Read 11837 times)

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Offline peytonssmith

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #50 on: August 29, 2013, 05:57:55 PM »
For me the ideal would incorporate a few things.  First VPN would be thrown out the window.  My personal opinion is that VPN is more of a minimum requirement then a goal.  I would personally never market a product on the sole fact that I meet a minimum requirement. 

After that I would like to see REAL Neapolitan pizzerias educating their customers on their product.  I don't care how they do, just so people know not only what to expect, but why.  Serving the average american a sparsely topped wet floppy pizza with no warning is going to be a recipe for failure.  Explaining that it is supposed to be that way and why it historically developed that way before the pie is in front of them takes the shock away and gives them a better chance to experience the pizza for what it is, not what it isn't.  In that situation some will love it, some will hate it, and some will be indifferent.  Like pretty much any product.  In that situation the good will thrive, the poor will die, and the mediocre will scrape by, just like any product.

I disagree.  I live in a pizza backwater, where the best offering is poor NY imitation.  Been selling best version of napoletana I can make  from an oven mounted trailer for 3 years, and I can count on one hand the number of clients/guests/customers who thought it was burned, or not enough cheese, etc.  My founding belief was/is that, despite the totally f'ed palate of too many Americans, that everyone knows when something is better than another thing; even if that something is brand new to them.  Successful places that sell bad pizza places don't have to explain to their customers what their intent is... 


Offline peytonssmith

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #51 on: August 29, 2013, 08:11:42 PM »
No more than 7 dollars. How they keep it at that price is beyond me....how they maintain the quality and do so is even more impressive.

Here's how they do it.  I could sell a good margherita, using premium ingredients to other pizzerias, and still end up with a food cost well below the industry norm of 30-33%.  Modern Neapolitan in USA goes for $12-14 because the market for Mellow Mushroom bears a similar price point.  In fact, good NP, just as anything better than another thing, should cost more due to premium quality (AM takes this as far as it will go, but he does so in large markets with more potential customers).  That market was established well before NP began to gain traction here.  Not so in Naples.  For that matter, you can't separate the proliferation of NP places from the fact that, even using relatively expensive ingredients, pizza realizes lowest COGS in industry.  Most of new NP is driven by profit incentive, not passion.  Isn't that obvious?

I'm not suggesting anyone tell the customers "This is what it's supposed to be and you should like it like this".  I'm suggesting explaining to the customers what will be on their plate and why it is that way before it get's to them.  Take away the shock.

Waitress: "Have you been here before?"
Customer: "No."
Waitress: " Let me tell you a bit about our pizza then.  Our pizza is traditional Neapolitan Pizza.  It's cooked hot and fast in a wood burning oven, and because of that it might be a bit different then you are used to even from other pizzerias advertising Neapolitan pizza.  It's going to be very thin, soft, pliable, lightly topped and maybe a bit wetter then you are used to.  Traditionally it's made this way on purpose for lots of reasons from being easy to fold for mobile eating to ease of digestibility.  We make it that way because we think it tastes great, hopefully you do too."

All of this is in the goal of hoping the pizza get's a fair chance.  Put a 60 second pizza in front of somebody expecting a hot and ready and their mind will me made up before they ever taste it.  I'm also not pulling this out of thin air.  This is very similar to how I introduce people to Neapolitan pizza in my own home.

Huh?  The best pizza, bbq, pie, etc. I've ever had didn't have to tell me it was different.  I just knew when I ate it; the fact that it was better than my previous "best I ever had" meant it was necessarily different.  I would be skeptical of a server explaining to me the differentiating qualities of their pizza versus her presumption of what I was used to, which would be clear to me the moment I took a bite; as if she was apologizing in advance based on the whack assumption that I wouldn't like it.  Well if that's your paradigm, don't sell pizza.  That's dumb.  Same way with BS, meaningless descriptors like luxury, custom, and with pizza--artisanal and gourmet.  BS words meant to sell the idea of a thing rather than the thing itself.  The product does all the talking. 

I wonder if a place like Da Michele would fly in the states. Just a few types pies well crafted and not overpriced....casual eats. In dollars, Da Michele is about half the price of any other "neapolitan" pizzeria here in the states.

Totale tried to make a go of it but didn't last.

This place does just fine.  http://www.800degreespizza.com/




Offline shuboyje

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #52 on: August 29, 2013, 10:23:56 PM »
I've read through your 6 posts(2 of which are directed to me) and your bio, and you seem to be all over the place which is making it hard to get a read on where you are coming from.

You bio states your favorite style and "Napoletana" and your favorite pizzeria is Pepe's.  I know Pepe's uses the term Napoletana in their name, but it bears little resemblance to Neapolitan pizza.

You then state you have been selling Neapolitan pizza for three years, but in another board you ask very basic questions about pizza cooked in a 550F oven with bread flour.   

So, if the pizza you are selling is similar to Pepe's and cooked in a 550F oven, then your experiences are exactly what I would expect.

Am I missing something?

Here's how they do it.  I could sell a good margherita, using premium ingredients to other pizzerias, and still end up with a food cost well below the industry norm of 30-33%.  Modern Neapolitan in USA goes for $12-14 because the market for Mellow Mushroom bears a similar price point.  In fact, good NP, just as anything better than another thing, should cost more due to premium quality (AM takes this as far as it will go, but he does so in large markets with more potential customers).  That market was established well before NP began to gain traction here.  Not so in Naples.  For that matter, you can't separate the proliferation of NP places from the fact that, even using relatively expensive ingredients, pizza realizes lowest COGS in industry.  Most of new NP is driven by profit incentive, not passion.  Isn't that obvious?

Huh?  The best pizza, bbq, pie, etc. I've ever had didn't have to tell me it was different.  I just knew when I ate it; the fact that it was better than my previous "best I ever had" meant it was necessarily different.  I would be skeptical of a server explaining to me the differentiating qualities of their pizza versus her presumption of what I was used to, which would be clear to me the moment I took a bite; as if she was apologizing in advance based on the whack assumption that I wouldn't like it.  Well if that's your paradigm, don't sell pizza.  That's dumb.  Same way with BS, meaningless descriptors like luxury, custom, and with pizza--artisanal and gourmet.  BS words meant to sell the idea of a thing rather than the thing itself.  The product does all the talking. 

This place does just fine.  http://www.800degreespizza.com/
-Jeff

Offline peytonssmith

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #53 on: August 30, 2013, 01:14:06 AM »
I've read through your 6 posts(2 of which are directed to me) and your bio, and you seem to be all over the place which is making it hard to get a read on where you are coming from.

You bio states your favorite style and "Napoletana" and your favorite pizzeria is Pepe's.  I know Pepe's uses the term Napoletana in their name, but it bears little resemblance to Neapolitan pizza.

You then state you have been selling Neapolitan pizza for three years, but in another board you ask very basic questions about pizza cooked in a 550F oven with bread flour.   

So, if the pizza you are selling is similar to Pepe's and cooked in a 550F oven, then your experiences are exactly what I would expect.

Am I missing something?

Sure, you are missing quite a bit. 

Yes, my preference is for NP.  FWIW, my favorite NP places are Keste and Paulie Gee's.  A Mano was very good when I was there visiting RC in 2007 when he was anonymous.  I liked Motorino, but my recollection of it was that its cornicione wasn't as light and delicate as I prefer, though the flavors were spot on.  When I had UPN before he sold to MP, the pizza I had was very good, light and delicate irrespective of his much discussed method.  I thought Bianco was damn good, especially the Wiseguy--though not NP as far as I'm concerned.  Pizzicletta was very good, and a cool space.  And yes, Pepe's is my favorite pizzeria--not my favorite pizza;  2 vastly different things that are not mutually exclusive.  Why would you assume I cook in a 550 degree oven?  Because of a 6 year old post?  If you paid attention to my 6 post history, it should stand out that my first 3 posts were from 6 years ago.  Did it occur to you that maybe my POV and frame of reference has changed during those 6 years, given my remarks? 

I could be wrong--that's the problem with text as a medium, but I sense you are sensitive to my comments.  You made a speculative comment about what people who sell NP should do, so I thought my POV as someone who actually does sell NP--as close as I can replicate--to people was valid, maybe even desired.  Despite your assertion that your thoughts aren't outta thin air, there is nothing similar about the social contract of feeding your friends at home and the business contract of selling food to people.  I didn't disparage you, I simply stated my perspective, based on actually selling pizza to people.  Your statement that 2 of my posts were "directed" at you, rather than seeing them as the "replies"--and part of a larger conversation--that they are, indicates that you feel I somehow challenged you.  If I'm right, I would caution all on this board that such hyper sensitivity is the reason people lurk in these forums but don't engage.  Why would you participate in a forum if you can't deal with someone expressing a different opinion than yours?  Your assumptions and "am I missing something", along with educating me on FP's lack of real NP credentials smack of elitism, and are indicative of someone trying to protect their pizza-insider turf.  Is my silly name dropping above enough to get me into the club, or do I just have to say "Manhattan Clam Chowder?" 

I simply disagree with your POV about having to educate people about NP, and I don't agree with the idea that you have to qualify it in order to get people to accept it.  No one educated them about fake NP, or imitation NY style, or grilled pizza, or Detroit or St. Louis style, but people still determined on their own whether they like it or not.  If someone makes good NP, people will respond to it positively--same for good NY style, or any other style/method/type of pizza.  New stuff comes around all the time.  Consumers are accustomed to this, they know how to handle it.  No one educated people about the Beatles; they were previously anonymous, and novel.  They just showed up and people apparently went ape %$#.   

I could easily be wrong about the sensitivity I perceive.  I hope I am.  Regardless, a simple "Hey man welcome to the forum, tell us about your experience" may be a better tact.  If you want to be inclusive, that is. 

Offline CJ

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #54 on: August 30, 2013, 01:40:16 PM »
Sure, you are missing quite a bit. 

Yes, my preference is for NP.  FWIW, my favorite NP places are Keste and Paulie Gee's.  A Mano was very good when I was there visiting RC in 2007 when he was anonymous.  I liked Motorino, but my recollection of it was that its cornicione wasn't as light and delicate as I prefer, though the flavors were spot on.  When I had UPN before he sold to MP, the pizza I had was very good, light and delicate irrespective of his much discussed method.  I thought Bianco was damn good, especially the Wiseguy--though not NP as far as I'm concerned.  Pizzicletta was very good, and a cool space.  And yes, Pepe's is my favorite pizzeria--not my favorite pizza;  2 vastly different things that are not mutually exclusive.  Why would you assume I cook in a 550 degree oven?  Because of a 6 year old post?  If you paid attention to my 6 post history, it should stand out that my first 3 posts were from 6 years ago.  Did it occur to you that maybe my POV and frame of reference has changed during those 6 years, given my remarks? 

I could be wrong--that's the problem with text as a medium, but I sense you are sensitive to my comments.  You made a speculative comment about what people who sell NP should do, so I thought my POV as someone who actually does sell NP--as close as I can replicate--to people was valid, maybe even desired.  Despite your assertion that your thoughts aren't outta thin air, there is nothing similar about the social contract of feeding your friends at home and the business contract of selling food to people.  I didn't disparage you, I simply stated my perspective, based on actually selling pizza to people.  Your statement that 2 of my posts were "directed" at you, rather than seeing them as the "replies"--and part of a larger conversation--that they are, indicates that you feel I somehow challenged you.  If I'm right, I would caution all on this board that such hyper sensitivity is the reason people lurk in these forums but don't engage.  Why would you participate in a forum if you can't deal with someone expressing a different opinion than yours?  Your assumptions and "am I missing something", along with educating me on FP's lack of real NP credentials smack of elitism, and are indicative of someone trying to protect their pizza-insider turf.  Is my silly name dropping above enough to get me into the club, or do I just have to say "Manhattan Clam Chowder?" 

I simply disagree with your POV about having to educate people about NP, and I don't agree with the idea that you have to qualify it in order to get people to accept it.  No one educated them about fake NP, or imitation NY style, or grilled pizza, or Detroit or St. Louis style, but people still determined on their own whether they like it or not.  If someone makes good NP, people will respond to it positively--same for good NY style, or any other style/method/type of pizza.  New stuff comes around all the time.  Consumers are accustomed to this, they know how to handle it.  No one educated people about the Beatles; they were previously anonymous, and novel.  They just showed up and people apparently went ape %$#.   

I could easily be wrong about the sensitivity I perceive.  I hope I am.  Regardless, a simple "Hey man welcome to the forum, tell us about your experience" may be a better tact.  If you want to be inclusive, that is.


Man there is a lot of good stuff in this post. Words without expression from the body or the tip of a beer or glass of wine are sometimes imposable to understand. Some like Omid and Craig are so very good at presenting a good picture for me to see, cause that's how I communicate best, hands on. Yet to experience what is here I have to come. I have no choice. I have to type. I hate typing. I'm no good at it. Yet come to my house this weekend and I will show you how to ranch kill Berkshire pigs and make fresh sausage for your pie. Craig is so right about the amount of us out here, so few with a passion and it is so cool. Keep this in mind when you read the words we hand each other. yea there are ass holes out here but most of us pizza guys and girls are good people lovers that's why we do it, we love to serve people our food and they love it.
I have a gun to load, knife to sharpen and oven to heat.
Time to turn corn eaters into Bacon.


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #55 on: August 30, 2013, 02:51:53 PM »
Sure, you are missing quite a bit. 

Yes, my preference is for NP.  FWIW, my favorite NP places are Keste and Paulie Gee's.  A Mano was very good when I was there visiting RC in 2007 when he was anonymous.  I liked Motorino, but my recollection of it was that its cornicione wasn't as light and delicate as I prefer, though the flavors were spot on.  When I had UPN before he sold to MP, the pizza I had was very good, light and delicate irrespective of his much discussed method.  I thought Bianco was damn good, especially the Wiseguy--though not NP as far as I'm concerned.  Pizzicletta was very good, and a cool space.  And yes, Pepe's is my favorite pizzeria--not my favorite pizza;  2 vastly different things that are not mutually exclusive.  Why would you assume I cook in a 550 degree oven?  Because of a 6 year old post?  If you paid attention to my 6 post history, it should stand out that my first 3 posts were from 6 years ago.  Did it occur to you that maybe my POV and frame of reference has changed during those 6 years, given my remarks? 

I could be wrong--that's the problem with text as a medium, but I sense you are sensitive to my comments.  You made a speculative comment about what people who sell NP should do, so I thought my POV as someone who actually does sell NP--as close as I can replicate--to people was valid, maybe even desired.  Despite your assertion that your thoughts aren't outta thin air, there is nothing similar about the social contract of feeding your friends at home and the business contract of selling food to people.  I didn't disparage you, I simply stated my perspective, based on actually selling pizza to people.  Your statement that 2 of my posts were "directed" at you, rather than seeing them as the "replies"--and part of a larger conversation--that they are, indicates that you feel I somehow challenged you.  If I'm right, I would caution all on this board that such hyper sensitivity is the reason people lurk in these forums but don't engage.  Why would you participate in a forum if you can't deal with someone expressing a different opinion than yours?  Your assumptions and "am I missing something", along with educating me on FP's lack of real NP credentials smack of elitism, and are indicative of someone trying to protect their pizza-insider turf.  Is my silly name dropping above enough to get me into the club, or do I just have to say "Manhattan Clam Chowder?" 

I simply disagree with your POV about having to educate people about NP, and I don't agree with the idea that you have to qualify it in order to get people to accept it.  No one educated them about fake NP, or imitation NY style, or grilled pizza, or Detroit or St. Louis style, but people still determined on their own whether they like it or not.  If someone makes good NP, people will respond to it positively--same for good NY style, or any other style/method/type of pizza.  New stuff comes around all the time.  Consumers are accustomed to this, they know how to handle it.  No one educated people about the Beatles; they were previously anonymous, and novel.  They just showed up and people apparently went ape %$#.   

I could easily be wrong about the sensitivity I perceive.  I hope I am.  Regardless, a simple "Hey man welcome to the forum, tell us about your experience" may be a better tact.  If you want to be inclusive, that is.
I think Jeff's suggestion is a real fine one....but before going into the story/details about "what NP pizza is" the waitperson just needs to first ask the table "do you all know what NP pizza is like?"....but that statement is probably a given wouldn't you think CJ?  :)
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline shuboyje

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #56 on: August 31, 2013, 12:20:37 AM »
Sure, you are missing quite a bit. 
Like 6 years.  Makes a lot more sense now. 

I really don't think what I'm saying is that far out there.   Give a life long Bud light drinker an Belgian Sour Ale.  Give somebody who drinks Boones Farm a bottle of dry red table wine.  Give the typical american a Neapolitan pizza.  I think all three lead to similar results.  The new product is too far a deviation from their expected norm.  The new product is therefore defective.  I know it's the same with the people I associate with because I live it, lol.  Show the typical middle class blue collar Detroiter a Neapolitan pizza and you will hear "It's too small", "it's too thin", "it's burnt", "where's the cheese" and my personal favorite "it's thin so it must be crispy".  Show them the price of one and they will say "I can get 3 hot and ready's for that and eat for a week".

Pizza is so ingrained in us there is a prototype that is expected.  We expect a blanket of bubbling cheese over the entire surface.  We expect a golden brown finish.  We expect slices of some form that we can pick up and eat with our hands.  Neapolitan pizza is none of these things.  Going in blind a person may judge it for what it is and really enjoy it without any education.  My point is many people don't go in blind.  They go in AFTER having experienced non-neapolitan pizzas that are being called neapolitan....pizzas that are eaten in slices and aren't "burnt".  Because it conforms to their prototype this is correct to them, and when they come across the real deal IT is defective because it does not conform AND it is not like the other "Neapolitan" pizza that does conform.  This isn't purely speculation.  I've watched it play out locally as I've already mentioned.       
-Jeff

Offline CJ

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #57 on: August 31, 2013, 02:24:08 AM »
Bob, yes I am ready for the fight. Bring it on. My only point is...... Don't leave or I have no one to slay with my sword. A fight alone and I might as well ask my wife about Pizza. For the record I bake it hot in a mobile oven. but to tell you the truth I say it falls short cause the weight of the right oven is hard to carry down the road. Do I do a good job? yea I think so but it takes a lot to get to a Craig and Omid pie if you are moving. funny thing is, a lot of Pizza people want to get into this program going mobile. That is the worst f...ing thing you could do. It is hard beyond words to do this %$# in your house let alone pull it down the road. %$# I ripped the clean knob of my oven 4 years ago, until I met all of you I thought I was the only crazy person out here. The thing is, we know it can be done right, or better, or righter, or my way, or what? The way it is done in ? Where? Yea.... I know, we know, you know. Does ice cream need to be explained to a 3rd grader? No need to explain what we are trying to do. My explanation just called me back to do another wedding pizza night for the second time, I love it and still want to get better and go see Pizzicletta in flagstaff and work my way to Craigs one day. This journey is bitchen and if you are here, you must love it. Lets rock and I got 50lbs of GM OO coming my way, I cant wait. I want USA flour to rock the Neo world.
Where is my gun? I need to go shoot something. try that in Naples. Yea.

Offline CJ

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #58 on: August 31, 2013, 02:29:03 AM »
Oh yea, Sorry I went off the deep end.  Ahh   No I do not want any wait staff explaining my Pizza. Come to the oven and I will explain it to you.
Where in the hell is my shot gun?


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #59 on: August 31, 2013, 05:41:44 PM »
Oh yea, Sorry I went off the deep end.  Ahh   No I do not want any wait staff explaining my Pizza. Come to the oven and I will explain it to you.
Where in the hell is my shot gun?
CJ,
Please remember that alcohol and firearms do not mix.  8)
Have fun mixing your Born in the U.S.A. 00 flour...you seem to be a pretty fun case...oh, and welcome to the forum friend!  :chef:
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Offline italdream

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #60 on: September 01, 2013, 11:48:41 AM »
Like 6 years.  Makes a lot more sense now. 

I really don't think what I'm saying is that far out there.   Give a life long Bud light drinker an Belgian Sour Ale.  Give somebody who drinks Boones Farm a bottle of dry red table wine.  Give the typical american a Neapolitan pizza.  I think all three lead to similar results.  The new product is too far a deviation from their expected norm.  The new product is therefore defective.  I know it's the same with the people I associate with because I live it, lol.  Show the typical middle class blue collar Detroiter a Neapolitan pizza and you will hear "It's too small", "it's too thin", "it's burnt", "where's the cheese" and my personal favorite "it's thin so it must be crispy".  Show them the price of one and they will say "I can get 3 hot and ready's for that and eat for a week".

Pizza is so ingrained in us there is a prototype that is expected.  We expect a blanket of bubbling cheese over the entire surface.  We expect a golden brown finish.  We expect slices of some form that we can pick up and eat with our hands.  Neapolitan pizza is none of these things.  Going in blind a person may judge it for what it is and really enjoy it without any education.  My point is many people don't go in blind.  They go in AFTER having experienced non-neapolitan pizzas that are being called neapolitan....pizzas that are eaten in slices and aren't "burnt".  Because it conforms to their prototype this is correct to them, and when they come across the real deal IT is defective because it does not conform AND it is not like the other "Neapolitan" pizza that does conform.  This isn't purely speculation.  I've watched it play out locally as I've already mentioned.       

I have only given a cursory glance at this thread and I am not entirely sure what the point really is. However, I want to throw in a couple of personal anecdotes that support this last post.

1. Years ago, for the first time I took my wife's family (american, non-Italian but very "traveled" internationally) in Naples at Da Michele. We waited over an hour, get in, sit tight in the small tables, wait a little more. Pies finally arrive and I was in pizza paradise as usual. I asked them, how is it then? they said "very good" but I could see on their face the look of Paulie Walnuts when in the Sopranos' episode in Naples, he asked, very offended, "but where is the gravy?". They literally never tried any of my home NP-style pizza experiments and it's been a long time that I experiment at home. I invited them several times for pizza, they just politely decline. BTW most friends of mine love NP style and can't wait to come over for pizza. Lesson: some Americans will just never like NP style pizza.

2. First time in grad school in the States, professor asks us to introduce ourselves. "I am so and so and I am from Naples, IT, the place where pizza was invented". A very upset New Jerseyan (no offense here, just recounting) from the other side of the classroom, shouts "what you are talking about, pizza was invented in NY?". I felt that I had profaned the U.S. flag or something like that. Lesson, for years, I have never claimed in front of strangers that Naples is where pizza was invented. I usually just look at them with a mix of sympathy and condescension, when they tell me how much they like the next pizza joint around the corner.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 12:17:58 PM by italdream »

Online TXCraig1

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #61 on: September 01, 2013, 01:39:29 PM »
I don't think I've ever met anyone named so and so before. Is that a common name in Naples?

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Offline italdream

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #62 on: September 01, 2013, 02:20:04 PM »
I don't think I've ever met anyone named so and so before. Is that a common name in Naples?

Sorry.  :'(  :'( the actual quote was "Prof., I am italdream from Italy ....". And that was the last I saw of grad school.


 

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