A Taste of Taylor Street

Almost every weekend, folks stop by the Roosevelt Branch and ask “What's good to eat around here?"

Roosevelt is located on Taylor Street, Chicago’s Little Italy, and there is no shortage of tempting delights. My personal faves are Pompei for budget-friendly sandwiches and pizza strudel or Davanti Enoteca for something a little more romantic. Don't forget dessert! Scafuri Bakery has all sorts of cookies and treats made from traditional Italian recipes. And every year starting May 1, you can join the crowd on the sidewalk in front of Mario's Italian Lemonade.  I love the balance of traditional European flavors and American-born creations that you find on Taylor Street (Italian Beef, anyone?).

If you have already devoured your Pompei leftovers, you can always try to whip up some Italian-American specialties in your own kitchen. In Lidia's Italy in America and Sheryll Bellman's America's Little Italys,  you'll find great recipes along with wonderful historical details of the Italian immigrant experience as told through food.

For fine Italian dining at home, check out these cookbooks, all highly recommended winners of the prestigious James Beard Award:

Italy in Small Bites

La Cucina Siciliana Della Casa

Molto Italiano

Pasta Sfoglia

Whether you are dining out or at home,  impress your friends with your superior knowledge of Italian cuisine. They'll all be saying you're una buona forchetta, someone who really knows good food.

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