WBEZ | Italian http://www.wbez.org/tags/italian Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Terragusto in Lincoln Park morphing into pastaterra http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-05-11/terragusto-lincoln-park-morphing-pastaterra-86356 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-10/gilbert terragusto.jpg" style="width: 346px; height: 230px;" title="Chef/Owner Theo Gilbert making pasta"></p><p>After a little more than two years, Theo Gilbert is switching gears. His <a href="http://www.terragustocafe.com/">Terragusto</a>&nbsp;-&nbsp;above Geja's Cafe and next door to the Park West Theater - will serve its final meals this Saturday, then re-open next Wednesday, May 18th, as a more casual concept: pastaterra.</p><p>"The place on Armitage has never gotten up to speed where we wanted it to," Gilbert said. "I brought on a couple of different people I thought were going to free me up to work on some other projects, but that hasn’t happened."&nbsp;</p><p>Gilbert will continue to operate the original Terragusto in Roscoe Village, known for its wide front windows through which passersby could watch them make pasta everyday. But he says his Lincoln Park location was taking up so much of his time that he was unable to focus on his next project in the suburbs.</p><p>"I need to free myself up from the stoves, so we’re going to reconcept the one on Armitage. We’re distilling it into what everyone knows – the fresh pasta – and really just boiling it all down to that," he said.</p><p>That means there'll be about four antipasti items such as soup, salad and meat or vegetable plates; there will also be 13 homemade pastas. For dessert, just two or three items, like panna cotta or tiramisu in a cup.</p><p>The price points will be lower, and the whole concept will be more casual: you'll order and pay at the counter, then sit down and have your food delivered to your table. Pastaterra will be open for lunch Wednesdays - Saturdays, and will serve dinner six nights a week.</p><p>As for his suburban project, (Gilbert won't say where, exactly, but the restaurant's website says Glencoe) he's hoping to open in the Fall. He says it will be both fine-dining and family-friendly, with a fast-service aspect and a fairly developed local and sustainable market, which will be able to sell packaged wine.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 11 May 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-05-11/terragusto-lincoln-park-morphing-pastaterra-86356 Top 5 Italian restaurants in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-24/top-5-italian-restaurants-chicago-84097 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-March/2011-03-23/langoustines.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img style="width: 441px; height: 609px;" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-23/lamb.jpg" /><br /><em>Lamb chop casserole from Macello (photo: Joseph Storch)</em></p><div>I realize the sheer number of Italian restaurants in our area makes this a somewhat daunting proposition. After last week's &quot;overrated&quot; edition, I'm turning to my top 5 this week, and all of these places have a few things in common: for one thing, they make pretty much everything - from the grissini and focaccia, to the pasta and desserts - from scratch. Second, the emphasis is on nuance - a hint of lemon here, a whisper of oregano there - rather than overwhelming you with white wine, garlic and tomato-vodka-cream sauce, then feeding you more food than you could ever possibly eat in one sitting (thus, requiring doggie bags).</div><div><br />Which brings me to my third point: these are Italian restaurants in the sense that the owners/chefs have either worked or lived in Italy for some time; they've trained there, they know about the lovely progression from <i>antipasti</i> to <i>primi</i>, then onto <i>secondi</i> and <i>dolci</i>. They don't push overpriced chianti and they don't brag about their tiramisu.</div><div><br />These are Italian restaurants that my friends from Bari would feel at home in as much as my college girlfriend who spent a semester in Rome would. Buon appetito!</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>1. <a href="http://piccolosognorestaurant.com/">Piccolo Sogno</a>, 464 N. Halsted St., 312-421-0077</div><div>2. <a href="http://www.spiaggiarestaurant.com/">Spiaggia</a>, 980 N. Michigan Ave., 312 280-2750</div><div>3. <a href="http://www.terragustocafe.com/">Terragusto</a>, 1851 W. Addison, 773-248-2777; 340 W. Armitage, 773-281-7200</div><div>4. <a href="http://www.riccardotrattoria.com/">Riccardo Trattoria</a>, 2119 N. Clark, 773-549-0038</div><div>5. <a href="http://www.pelagorestaurant.com/">Pelago</a>, 201 E. Delaware, 312-280-0700</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Honorable mentions: <a href="http://www.merlochicago.com/">Merlo on Maple</a>;&nbsp;<a href="http://macellochicago.com/">Macello</a>; <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=en&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;q=coco+pazzo+hubbard+chicago&amp;fb=1&amp;gl=us&amp;hq=coco+pazzo+hubbard&amp;hnear=Chicago,+IL&amp;cid=11398383725839411090">Coco Pazzo</a>; <a href="http://www.davantichicago.com/">Davanti Enoteca</a>&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><img height="299" width="450" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-23/langoustines.jpg" /><br /><em>Langoustines with risotto from Macello (photo:&nbsp;Joseph Storch)</em></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 24 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-24/top-5-italian-restaurants-chicago-84097 Something You Should Eat: Gnocchi from Franco's http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-22/something-you-should-eat-gnocchi-francos-83978 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/21240936?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;color=c40215" frameborder="0" height="281" width="500"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: left;">Evidently,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-17/top-5-overrated-italian-joints-chicago-83641">my post last Thursday</a>, (the Top 5 overrated Italian joints in Chicago), revealed there is clearly a passionate base out there, willing to defend loyalties. I promised that this Thursday, I would reveal what, I feel, are the top 5 best places to get Italian, but before I do, I wanted to share with you one of the places that I think falls in between the two. <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps/place?client=safari&amp;rls=en&amp;oe=UTF-8&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;q=franco%27s+chicago&amp;fb=1&amp;gl=us&amp;hq=franco%27s&amp;hnear=Chicago,+IL&amp;cid=15327118189005134840">Franco's</a> doesn't really make that many "best of" lists in Chicago, but if you ask anyone who grew up in Bridgeport where they go for pasta, fried calamari and veal saltimbocca, chances are they'll tell you they head to Franco's.</p><p style="text-align: left;">It's by no means one of the best five in the city, but it's certainly a joint that's worth a trip, like <a href="http://www.lalucewestloop.com/">La Luce</a> on the Near West Side or <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps/place?client=safari&amp;rls=en&amp;oe=UTF-8&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;q=ignotz+chicago&amp;fb=1&amp;gl=us&amp;hq=ignotz&amp;hnear=Chicago,+IL&amp;cid=12107849095454950210">Ignotz</a> in the Heart of Italy 'hood. The Daley clan certainly has fond memories here, so much so that our outgoing mayor made it point to have a recent birthday celebration here. I didn't love everything on the menu - they don't make everything from scratch - but they sure do put the effort into their gnocchi, which was as light and toothsome as any I've had in town. If you're going to see a Sox game, or find yourself heading down the Dan Ryan, near the 31st St. exit, pull over and get an order; you can thank me later.</p></p> Tue, 22 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-22/something-you-should-eat-gnocchi-francos-83978 Top 5 overrated Italian joints in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-17/top-5-overrated-italian-joints-chicago-83641 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-March/2011-03-16/dolinsky-italian.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="276" width="400" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-16/spag.jpg" /></p><p>I realize today is St. Patrick's Day, but did you also realize that Saturday is St. Joseph's? This Italian day of feasting occurs during Lent and features several seafood courses, if not an entire spread (don't forget the zeppole!) I figured now was as good a time as any to reveal what I believe to be are the Italian joints that get more praise than they deserve. (My Top 5 favorite Italian will appear in this space next Thursday).</p><p>1. <a href="http://www.rosebudrestaurants.com/">Rosebud</a><br />Enough already. Just because your uncle Vito went here during trade shows and your cousin Angie ate here during prom doesn't make it authentic. Let me ask you this: when was the last time you saw tomato cream vodka sauce in Italy? 1500 W. Taylor St. (among others), 312-942-1117.</p><p>2. <a href="http://www.gioscafe.com/">Gio's</a><br />Went here last week after hearing loads of praise for this charming cafe-within-a-corner-grocery store. Had the homemade 8-finger cavatappi, which tasted like undercooked, water-soaked cardboard; the meatball sandwich was similarly lacking in flavor. Didn't see any Italians in the kitchen. 2724 S. Lowe Ave., 312-225-6368.</p><p>3. <a href="http://www.maggianos.com/en/Pages/home.aspx">Maggiano's</a><br />Melman's masterstroke for the masses (and huge payday from Brinker Int'l), but lowest common denominator &quot;ItalianLand&quot; food for tourists. When the emphasis is on big portions and doggie bags, you know there's a problem. 516 N. Clark St. (including many more nationwide), 312-644-1077.</p><p>4. <a href="http://www.agostinogustofino.com/">Ristorante Agostino</a><br />Great old-school vibe, but few, if any pastas made in-house. Yearround caprese salads and $20 linguine from a box/bag don't inspire confidence. 2817 N. Harlem, 773-745-6464.</p><p>5. <a href="http://www.miafrancesca.com/">Mia Francesca's</a><br />I went back-and-forth on this one. I used to love the original on Clark Street, when there was just one. Today, the food seems watered-down - again, for the masses, so as not to offend anyone - and there just isn't the same vibrancy; too many other places have surpassed it in terms of bold flavors and scratch cooking (if you live in Northbrook or Arlington Heights, I realize you think I'm crazy, but I'm sorry you have so few options out there). 3311 N. Clark St. (as well as every suburb near Chicago), 773-281-3310.</p><p>Honorable mention: <a href="http://www.lascarola.com/">La Scarola</a>. Headshots of athletes&nbsp;rarely guarantee high-quality or authenticity (see: Ronny's Steakhouse); who puts &quot;light chipotle sauce&quot; on bowtie pasta? I agree the vibe is lively and fun, but for food, I'll walk a few yards West to one of my favorites...(next week).</p></p> Thu, 17 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-03-17/top-5-overrated-italian-joints-chicago-83641 Friday Foodie Forecast: Bloody marys, Italian dinners and a crab festival http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/friday-foodie-forecast-bloody-marys-italian-dinners-and-crab-festival <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/bloodymary.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: left;">Although the gift-giving season may be drawing to a close, the foodie holiday season is poised to last through January. This week's forecast has in store an extended brunch with bloody mary specials, a gourmet Italian dinner and a month-long crab festival.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="500" width="333" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-23/5076908724_163123ef56.jpg" /></p><p><strong>Three-Restaurant Extended Holiday Brunch</strong></p><p>From December 26 to January 2, enjoy an extended brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar, Dunlays on the Square and Dunlays on Clark. In addition, in honor of National Bloody Mary Day (Jan. 1), anyone who orders a bloody mary during extended brunch will have the option to buy a 32-ounce bottle of &quot;foot stompin' good&quot; Smoke Daddy &quot;Smokin' Mary&quot; mix for $2. Frasca Pizzeria is located at 3358 N. Paulina St., Dunlays on the Square is located at 3137 W. Logan Blvd, and Dunlays on Clark is located at 2600 N. Clark St.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Shaw's Annual Crab Festival</strong></p><p>Bring in the new year and honor the crab in the month of January at Shaw's for their annual crab festival. Both Shaw's Chicago and Schaumburg locations will offer special three-course crab prix fixe dinners throughout the month of January. Diners can choose between the Maryland-Style Crab Cakes Dinner, the Pacific Whole Dungonness Dinner and the One Pound Whole Alaskan Red King Crab Dinner. All dinners include clam chowder, cole slaw, au gratin potatoes, and key lime pie for dessert. Shaw's Chicago is located at 21 E. Hubbard St., and Shaw's Schaumburg is located at 1900 E. Higgins Rd. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.shawscrabhouse.com">www.shawscrabhouse.com</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>ChicaGourmets Special Dinner at Rhapsody</strong></p><p>Celebrate cuisine and culture on January 10 at Rhapsody with Executive Chef Dean Zanella as he cooks up Italian flavors with local and seasonal ingredients. His menu will include items such as tomato and polenta duck liver mousse; three-meat filled pasta in broth; salami and scallion stuffed veal; and a chocolate and chestnut tart. The event, which includes wine pairings, costs $95 for ChicaGourmet members and $105 for non-members, and you can reserve your spot at www.chicagourmets.org. For more information, email donaldnewcomb@att.net or call (708) 383-7543. Prepaid reservations will be accepted until January 6, and events often sell out early. Rhapsody is located at 65 E. Adams.</p></p> Fri, 24 Dec 2010 17:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/friday-foodie-forecast-bloody-marys-italian-dinners-and-crab-festival Film Contributor Milos Stehlik reflects on the life of Italian filmmaker Mario Monicelli http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/film-contributor-milos-stehlik-reflects-life-italian-filmmaker-mario-monicelli <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/monicelli.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>When he was 92 years old, Italian filmmaker Mario Monicelli, who created some of the greatest Italian film comedies, unrepentantly said that he was &mdash;is&mdash; and will always be a communist. He directed more than 60 films. Monicelli died this week by jumping from his 5th story hospital room window where he was being treated for prostate cancer.</p><p>It was the time of George Bush and Silvio Berlusconi when Monicelli declared his communist bona fides. Back then his political stance seemed less defiant than anachronistic. But from reading Tony Judt&rsquo;s remarkable book, &ldquo;Postwar Europe,&rdquo; one learns just how close Italy and France came to having communist majorities and how Cold-War manipulations gave Stalin control of the &ldquo;East,&rdquo; in return for the U.S. laying claim to an allegiance with Western Europe. It&rsquo;s in the spirit of that postwar idealism that Monicelli embraced the freedom of the proletariat.</p><p>Unquestionably his breakthrough international success was the 1958 film &ldquo;Big Deal On Madonna Street.&rdquo; The basis of the film is a caper plot: A half-dozen, half-baked crooks decide to &ldquo;scientifically&rdquo; break into a vacant apartment through coal chutes and over roof tops, and then use a carjack-- all to break into the office next door where a fortune awaits them in a safe. But the ever-clever Monicelli turns the caper into a farce by using a series of plot situations filled with gags which are simply hilarious. The young Marcello Mastroianni plays one of the gang members. He is a master photographer. His job is to shoot from the rooftop through an open window and film the safe combination as it is being opened. The gang watches the finished film. Just as we are about to learn the combination, underwear on a clothesline drifts across the office window as the Mastroianni&rsquo;s baby cries, and the film slips off the sprockets. The camera, which didn&rsquo;t work very well anyway, was stolen from a flea market.</p><p>The comic situations belie Monicelli&rsquo;s proletarian sympathies. At some point in the film, almost all of the characters land in jail. Marcello, the photographer, is at home with the baby because his wife is in jail.</p><p>Monicelli says, &ldquo;This was a reality at the time. It existed. Everyone, to survive, had to do what was necessary. One sold cigarettes on the black market and so he eventually went to prison&hellip;.the little old man who ate all the time survived by pick pocketing on the bus. They were not big criminals.&rdquo;</p><p>For Monicelli, the inept crooks are disenfranchised human beings caught up in the unemployment of postwar Italy.</p><p>Unquestionably, Monicelli had an eye for talent. He&rsquo;s credited with launching the careers of or collaborating with some of Italy&rsquo;s greatest 20th century actors: Monica Vitti, Gian Maria Volonte, Vittorio de Sica, Anna Magnani, Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni and Vittorio Gassman. Claudia Cardinale was just 17 when Monicelli cast her in &ldquo;The Big Deal On Madonna Street.&rdquo; But perhaps his greatest collaboration was with Toto. This actor&mdash;whose adopted name was Antonio Focas Flavio Angelo Ducas Comneno De Curtis di Bisanzio Gagliardi&mdash;is the almost indescribable comic presence in many of Monicelli&rsquo;s best films, including &ldquo;Big Deal on Madonna Street&rdquo;.</p><p>Toto&rsquo;s ability to transform the poor man into &ldquo;everyman&rdquo; &mdash;to endow humanity, irony and nobility to an odd-looking and physically inarticulate little man of the lowest classes&mdash; corresponds with Monicelli&rsquo;s lifelong battle to give voice and image to the under-privileged, under-represented people living on the margins.</p><p>Monicelli&rsquo;s greatest films, like &ldquo;The Organizer,&rdquo; in which Mastroianni plays a former school teacher who comes to 19th century Turin to organize exploited textile workers, reveal the essence of inequality and injustice.</p><p>All of his life, Monicelli was an activist. He made films well into his 90s. He lampooned Italian infatuation with the cheap opportunism of Berlusconi and his cronies, fought against the recent fiscal cuts to culture in Italy, encouraged young people to rebel and said that Italian cinema was incapable of representing Italy as it really is. What made his chosen métier, film comedy, possible, he said, was because Italian comedy &ldquo;revolves around arguments and&hellip;themes that are very dramatic and sometimes tragic. This is a type of comedy that grows precisely out of the fact that [this is how] Italians see reality and life.&rdquo;</p><p>For Monicelli, who was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer some months ago, euthanasia, which is illegal in Italy, was not an option. In a great tribute to his genius and the independence of his spirit, the critic Paolo Mereghetti said in Corriere della Sera that in his final months Monicelli &ldquo;couldn&rsquo;t see a future for himself&hellip;his death was a final proclamation of freedom in an anarchic life. He wanted to decide everything all by himself right to the end as in his movies.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;</p><p><em>Milos Stehlik is </em>Worldview<em>'s film contributor and the director of </em><a href="http://www.facets.org/" target="_blank"><em>Facets Multi-Media</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Fri, 03 Dec 2010 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/film-contributor-milos-stehlik-reflects-life-italian-filmmaker-mario-monicelli