Features

Chicago’s Recommended Italian Restaurants

Italian food lovers know that Chicago provides a diverse and vibrant food scene. From the casual to fine dining, you will find it here. Logan square, cheffy Chicago Pizza to the fine dining restaurant which is visited by the Obamas, Chicago is fiercely proud of its delicious home made pastas and massive, made for the whole family bowls of noodles. Lets take a look at the Chicago’s recommended restaurants.

Nico Osteria

Sporting a stunning dining room, Nico Osteria is the place to be. It is glitz and glamour at this Italian seafood restaurant brought to you by Paul Kahan and his One Off Hospitality Group. Pristine Crudo – a spaghetti topped with lobster and fish is something to be savored. Matty Eggleston and his Amaro based cocktails make the restaurant more enticing.

nico-osteria

Forementos

Shrimp and scampi, Chicken Parmesan and Fettuccine Alfredo are some of the classic Italian American dishes that are on offer by B Hospitality Co, also known for The Bristol Balena. If you feel like enjoying a Manhattan or Negroni, you can do so at the sleek, curved bar covered with a tin ceiling which gives you a cool, dark and comfortable place to enjoy your cocktail. The restaurant is comfortable with its banquette style seating, with the seats made out of inviting red leather, and black and white photography found on the walls.

Spaggia

This is not a place to come if you want to be able to pay the rent this month! Spaggia offers the best Italian fine dining option in Chicago. Frequented by the Obamas, you will have a great view of Michigan Avenue as the tables are all facing the windows. Upon entering, you will be greeted by bottles of wine, brand new chandeliers and a fresh, bright look. The popular gnocchi with ricotta and black truffle sauce still remain but the menu has been changed to a tasting menu. It offers up fresh crudos, pasta made in house and perfectly cooked proteins.

spiaggia

Osteria Langhe

Eggy pasta dishes, cream and truffles are presented are items that appear on the menu of Osteria Langhe which focuses on regional Piedmontese cuisine. Mini, cheese fill agnolotti – plin a delightfully, light dish, perfectly cooked, tender beef slices topped with vietello tonnato with a cistrusy, tuna caper aioli is a dish worth trying as is the perfectly seasoned beef tartare. Pair your food with a well chosen bottle of wine and enjoy your meal in a warm and cozy space. If you still have room, the creamy panna cotta is the perfect end to the evening.

Riccardo Trattoria

Chef Riccardo Michi is an expert when it comes to regional Italian food, the well known Bice restaurant empire in Milan was founded by his family. Riccardo Trattoria has a good reputation of being part of the list of the best restaurants in the city that serve Italian cuisine, and surprisingly enough it is located in Lincoln Park and not hidden away in Little Italy.

The rack of lamb, the tantalizing garlicky flavored rapini with pecorino cheese and the outstanding orecchiette and sausage of wild boar are all a must try. Once you make this your regular dining spot you may find that the waiters tend to complete your perfect meal with a delicious piece of ricotta cheesecake.

 

Food Inventions In Chicago You May Not Know About

When people visit Chicago, the first thing that they want to try is Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza. It was invented in 1943 by Pizzaria Uno’s owner, a guy named Ike Sewell. What people may not understand is that the Windy City has much more to offer than just pizza. There are many dishes that were first invented or made in Chicago. Some spread nationwide, and some are available only in Chicago. Below is a list of Chicago’s specialties.

Italian Beef

Italian Beef sandwiches are just as popular as Chicago’s hotdog sandwiches and pizza, and it has made its way around the world. In the 20’s and 30’s known as the era of the Depression, Italian immigrants created this dish. In 1938, Al Ferreri and family started the business “Al’s Beef”, however, it is not known if he actually invented the sandwich. The dish was created because people wanted to find ways to make meat that lacked flavor taste great and take more time before it spoils. They found that the best way to do this wold be to roast it. They added some Giardiniera on top for and extra kick, and the bread soaked up the juices.

italian-beef

If you visit Al’s Italian Beef in Chicago, you can opt for a “wet sandwich”, meaning one that has a lot of gravy. In almost every state you can find an Italian Beef restaurant. Chicago has about 300 of them, including Al’s. Recently, Al’s opened another restaurant, located in Dallas, Texas. It was so popular, that the restaurant had to shut down temporarily so that they could restock. If there is no Italian Beef restaurant in your neighborhood, Portillo’s sells a great kit where you can make your own at home.

Wrigley’s Gum

Chewing gum has been around for so many years, however, the ones that have a variety of flavors and have been mass produced which we enjoy today are all courtesy of William Wrigley Jr. – yup, Wrigleys gum!  Wrigley was from Philadelphia but moved to Chicago in the 1890’s. In 1891, Wrigley established the Wm. Wrigley Jr Company which specialized in selling baking powder and soap. To please his customers, he included free chewing gum packs with each order and when he saw how popular those chewing gums were, he decided focus on that product. Wrigley’s gums — Juicy Fruit & Spearmint were invented in 1893. In 1914, he added Doublemint to his empire. He came up with a great marketing campaign in 1915 – sending out free gum (just a stick) to every person who was listed in the phone book.  It wasn’t until 1984 that a new gum was introduced, Extra sugar-free gum. Wrigley’s mark is something you can view in different parts of Chicago, from Wrigley Field, the Cubs’ home, to The Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue.

Chocolate Brownies  

If you love chocolate brownies, thank Bertha Palmer from Chicago, wife of a hotel millionaire. The hotel is still open today (Palmer House Hotel). Bertha wanted to bring a dessert to the World Fair which she baked with her own hands that wasn’t necessarily a cake but had a similar consistency and texture. She also wanted the baked goods to have a size that can fit in a lunch box. The result was the brownies we know today, with the very first recipe consisting of walnuts, apricot glaze, and semi-sweet chocolate.

chocolate_brownies

The Twinkie

Twinkies were invented by a man named James Dewar, who was a baker for Continental Baking Company. The company was located in Schiller Park, which is a Chicago suburb. He saw a billboard for Twinkie Toe Shoes, and the name stuck. In 1930, he invented the yellow cake. The first version was filled with banana cream. Later, he switched to the vanilla cream that you see today. By 1980, Twinkies were being sold at a rate of 1 billion each year. Unfortunately, in 2012, Twinkies disappeared from the supermarket shelves when Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy. Twinkies came back when two private equity firms joined forces to purchase the bankrupt company and Twinkies were saved from extinction. In 2013, they came back on the shelves and were being manufactured out of four plants in the U.S. In 2015, the Schiller Park plant closed, leaving just three plants to create the delicious treat.

Flaming Saganaki

The Greeks were the first to fry cheese, however, a man from Chicago’s Greektown’s The Parthenon, named Chris Liakouras, perfected it. He found that if you melt cheeses such as kasseri, halloumi, and kefalotyri, they can be melted at high temperatures. He used a two-handed frying pan and created what we know today as “saganaki”. It was in the year 1968 when Liakouras decided to fry the cheese by the table. Next, brandy is poured over to flambee it, and a dash of lemon juice was used to top it off. The final product is crispy cheese on the outside, but slightly melted at its core.

 

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