DOLCE ITALIAN

Dolce in one word. Delicious. We tried the new hot spot with friends on a Friday night, and each dish we had was better than the next. They have the Neapolitan style pizza down. And we ended the meal with a meringue cake that could battle Cipriani’s in NY. 

   
Caprese with house made mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes. 

  

Grilled Octopus with a pistachio vinaigrette 

  
  

We all loved the Tartufata Pizza with speck, spicy salami and truffle oil. 

  
A side dish of eggplant Parmesan broiled and gooey to perfection. 

  

Pan seared Halibut with a flavorful and aromatic seafood brodetto. 

 
This light, fluffy and sugary Italian meringue layer cake is cravable. 

Dolce Italian is located in the Godfrey Hotel at 127 W Huron St. 

(312) 754-0700

My Staten Island Roots

It is something that can’t be helped if you are an Italian from Staten Island. Pizza is in your DNA. You are passionate about it, would profess it to be your last meal, and always crave just even one slice.  On the Island, my favorite is Joe and Pats. Thankfully, my best friend lives just a few blocks away, so when I visit we get it delivered, pop-in for dinner, or may just run in for a snack.

When I found out the owner of Joe and Pats son, AJ Pappalardo, opened Rubirosa several years ago, it has been on my list to try it.  Tucked away in Nolita, Rubirosa is charming, friendly and most of all, a delicious find.  On a recent work trip, a colleague and I sat outside for 20 minutes, just to be sure we would get a table right at 11:30.

Our server suggested we do a half Supreme (tomato, mozzarella, pepperoni, mini meatball and roasted garlic) and half Vodka sauce with fresh mozzarella.  We devoured it, but saved room for cannolis.  My Nonna would have been proud.  See you next time Rubirosa!

Bar Toma

Lunch meeting at Bar Toma on a cold winter day in Chicago.  The Kale Salad was a standout – beautiful colors and flavors.

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Follow along from left to right.

The Spaniard Pizza – with chorizo, cilantro and Toma Cheese; Crispy Veal Breast with Chimichurri; Fried Cheese for Grown-Ups

Pork Belly; Kale Salad with Garlic Breadcrumbs and Anchovy Vinaigrette; Effy’s Mortdella Sandwich with Pistachios, Ricotta and Arugula

Eggplant Parmigiana with with Smoked Mozzarella and Spicy Tomato Sauce; Gelati; My Favorite – Amaretto Gelato, with a shot of Basil Sorbetto.

Prosciutto of Happiness

We celebrated our Ham Independence with Chef Tony Mantuano at Bar Toma along with Herb Eckhouse visiting from La Quercia.  Herb has been making award winning hams and prosciutto in Iowa since 2005.  It’s the kind of thing when I see La Quercia products on a menu – let’s just say I get kind of excited!

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Pig Banners.

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Herb himself showing off the the acorn edition ham.  The pigs were fed acorns, resulting in a richer and nuttier flavor similar to Spanish ham.

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Lucky for us Cathy Mantuano picked all the wines for the pairings, inlcuduing this Scarpetta Rose Spumante.

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The best pizza on the menu – the DOTTORE with La Quercia prosciutto, arugula and mozzarella.

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“Acorns have been associated with superior dry cured meat for centuries, and we are proud to be the first to bring this tradition to the United States.  For the last three months of their lives, the fortunate Acorn Edition pigs eat a diet of 60% acorns. We generally buy the whole pigs, so in late fall, we begin the traditional country cycle of curing as many cuts of meat as possible. The aging rooms fill with guanciale, coppa, lonza, lardo, pancetta, prosciutto, spallacia, and even a few sausages. Throughout the next twenty four months, each item is meticulously cured and released to our customers, culminating in the crown jewel of cured pork: acorn-fed prosciutto!” – La Quercia

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Hamming it up – it was such a great night and fun to meet Herb from La Quercia.

Bongiorno’s – a slice of NYC

My man is from Staten Island just like me, and we love our NYC pizza slices.  There are a few favorites in town like Cafe Luigi up on Clark, but hold the phone!  Bongiorno’s Italian Deli & Pizzeria just opened up off Michigan Avenue, and the slices are so close to NYC living.

Pepperoni, cheese and other gourmet toppings are on the list.  And they slice is just right!  After all, the owner is Italian, from Brooklyn, and had a stint on Staten Island.  And it’s a family run joint too.