Cuisine In Chicago – the Ubiquitous Italian

The Italian Photographer Stallion

My husband is Italian American, among other things – a little German and Irish, too.  But his grandmother was born one month this side of the crossing, which means her mother made the crossing pregnant.  Think about it – the nineteen-teens, on a ship, pregnant.  Yikes.  Tough stock, my husband’s people.

And, he cooks.

Which, since my subject today is Italian food in Chicago, is quite pertinent.

One of the dominant ethnic cuisines in this city is Italian.  Taylor Street is known for it, and many of the places on Restaurant Row are Italian.  Since that’s the case, I won’t hit the most famous.  I’ll share with you two gems that are a little lesser known, but no less incredible in their fare.

The first is Mario’s Table, in the heart of the Gold Coast.  Their sommelier is a genius, for one thing, and their food is to die for.  My favorite is their tortellini.

The second is up in our neck of the woods, on the north side:  Via Veneto.  They are truly magical, from the ambiance to the food.

I have a story about Via Veneto, as it happens.  One day, my good friend D… and her husband took me to lunch there.  Her husband is a survivor of Auschwitz.  He was there from the age of sixteen to the age of nineteen.  She knows very little of his experiences, because he’s been unable to speak of them.  But that day, the spell cast by the restaurant was strong around us.

“My cousin went to Australia,” he said.

Absolute silence fell.  I could tell from the look on D…’s face that this meant something more than I understood.

Over the next fifteen minutes, I hardly took a breath because her husband shared a steady stream of facts about members of his family.  I wanted to get up and give them privacy, but was afraid if I moved, I would break the spell.  He didn’t look at me; he seemed riveted on her face.

After we went home, D… told me it was the most information he’d shared in over twenty years of marriage.

Tomorrow, join me for a foray into Koreatown!


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3 thoughts on “Cuisine In Chicago – the Ubiquitous Italian

  1. Gotta love Italian food… especially if it helps someone share their feelings. I guess that’s why they call it comfort food, eh?

    I also wrote about Italian food today: Italian beef!

    1. LOL. Yes, definitely.

      My husband’s grandmother was the stereotypical Italian grandmother. I went to visit and she asked me, “Would you like to try a soft pretzel?” I didn’t know it at the time, but this is a “thing” in Phili. I said sure, I’ll try one.

      She brought out a platter with like twenty of the things, all dripping in butter.

      I was in Weight Watchers at the time. Let’s put it this way: at my next weigh-in, I did not lose. 🙂 I suppose that means, I won.

      ~snerk~

      Thanks for visiting, and happy blogging!

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