Chicken Piccata, Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, and Chianti for a Cold January Night

Chicken piccata recipe

Inspired by all of the warm-lighted, cozy and down-home, family-run Italian Cafes we seem to stumble upon when traveling about, below is a simple recipe for one of our favorite Italian chicken dishes along with three elegant chiantis to create an “Italian Cafe” meal at home during the cold month of January. Read more

Discovering Polenta At Chicago’s Spiaggia

creamy polenta recipe“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” –Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

“During the last twenty years, Spiaggia [Chicago’s premier Italian restaurant] has wined and dined the famous, the infamous, trendy ‘foodies’, and some of the most discerning palates in the world,” writes Tony Mantuano and Cathy Mantuano in The Spiaggia Cookbook: Eleganza Italiana in Cucina (2004).

From the great chefs of America and Europe such as Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck and Charlie Trotter* to the likes of Sir Elton John, the late Princess Diana, Sir Mick Jagger, Julia Roberts, Billy Joel, Harrison Ford, Sting, Tom Cruise, President Clinton, Paul Newman, Steven Spielberg, and Sir Paul McCartney, Spiaggia – translated as “beach” in Italian – has certainly satisfied the palate of many a famous people.

As the guest of a native Chicagoan, I had the privilege of dining at Spiaggia – located on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Oak Street, with a view of Oak Street beach on Lake Michigan – over 10 years ago. And as I first learned over 25 years ago after eating at New York City’s famous world-renowned Le Cirque, fine dining is an experience that one always remembers. Read more