Food & Family

Giardiniera, beet salad, roasted peppers and caponata to share
at Quartino Ristorante

Food and family. It's no coincidence that they're both comforting. I live several states away from my family. My Dewey's family is close, and we are lucky to see them often, except for our Thomas. When he settles somewhere, we will, no doubt, travel to spend time with him also. Recently, we spent two weeks in Chicago eating and visiting with my family. Even the simplest meal pulled together at the last minute by niece Tina was amazing. And sipping hot cider around a back yard firepit watching one child run around with boundless curiosity and the other, still a baby, smile at all of us who had a chance to hold her...that's wonderful memory-making food for the soul!

Enjoying small plates with family at Quartino Ristorante in Chicago.
Chicago dogs are a must! With every visit to the Windy City, my sister, Antonia, has to take us to Portillo's for Chicago hot dogs. Our visit to Chicago is never complete without a Chicago dog! It's the first thing we do together. This time it was in the city. Afterward, a brisk walk to Eataly to enjoy virtual eats. It's best to shop for foodie treats with a full belly. Your inner chef can go crazy shopping at a foodie destination like Eataly!
My sister cautioning Dewey to watch out for the big salami
overhead at Chicago's Eataly.

Going Greek! My cousin Soula and her husband, Chris, never fail to take us to at least one Greek restaurant. Dewey and I eat Greek food often at home, but Greek restaurant food is different. You get special dips and grilled fish that are not typically cooked in home kitchens. And the atmosphere reminds us of past trips to Greece. Always a treat!

Artichokes in Avgolemono.

Grilled fish beautifully deboned at the table.

Greek coffee to complete the meal.
Greek Town. Sadly, as the rest of the country has changed since Covid lockdowns, most of the Greek restaurants in Chicago's Greek Town are disappearing. Two favorites, Santorini and Pegasus, were sold this year to make way for condominiums and retail space. For 31 years, Santorini served up an authentic Greek dining experience. I remember the grill to the left as you entered. Always decorated with whole octopus hanging from hooks awaiting charcoal grilling and chopping and dressing with the ubiquitous olive oil-lemon juice-oregano mixture. We couldn't visit Santorini without ordering grilled octopus.

On this trip to Greek Town, we ate across from where Santorini used to be, at the much favored Greek Islands restaurant. During our lunch, the manager, Stefanos Naoum, sang high praises for my cousin's husband, Chris, who worked for several years as the manager of Santorini where he influenced the excellent service and high quality of food offerings. He is so well regarded, that one of the younger employees wanted to come to our table to meet him. A Greek living legend!

Cousin Chris with Greek Islands manager, Stefanos Naoum.
The perfect meal was dinner on our last night in Chicago. We stayed in the city for the last four days of our visit and got to enjoy the wonderful service and classic American cuisine at RL Restaurant across from the Water Tower, a most enjoyable brunch and healthy salads at The Lunchroom at Space 519 and early cocktails and small plates at Quartino Ristorante. But the last meal was in the home of niece Demetra and her husband, Eric. A beautifully composed salad loaded with nutritious seasonal fruits and vegetables and a chicken breast with pesto that I cannot stop thinking about.To round out the dinner, and what made it perfect, we had uninterrupted time with our niece and nephew who we haven't had time with since 2019. Come to think of it, EVERY MEAL in Chicago was perfect because we had time with family. We love you all: Katerina, John, Alexandra, Eric, Demetra, Penny, Antonia, John, Chris, Soula, Katie, Eliot, Tina, Peter and all of the young ones.


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