Odds and Ends – 11/18/13

Some of the things I’ve been eating lately…

Napoli’s Italian Eatery – My exploration of Canton dining continues. About a month ago one of my clients gave me his list of favorite spots in Canton, so I’ve been working through that a bit. Napoli’s is an old school Italian place in downtown Canton, right on the edge of the sketchy part of town. They seem to be known for their pizza, which appears to be a gigantic form of NY-style. I was in for dinner and didn’t feel like pizza so I had the “Penne Italiano”, which was penne with some pretty good sausage, peppers, and onions in a sort-of-spicy tomato sauce. Nothing mind-blowing, but the place really wins in terms of local charm. I’m keeping it on the list for future trips.

Pastaria – It’s pasta across the Midwest!. Pastaria is part of Gerard Craft’s local empire, specializing in (wait for it)…pasta. They don’t take reservations, and we had about a 45 minute wait arriving at 6:45pm on a Friday. It looked like there was a wait pretty much the whole time we were there, so factor this in if you’re planning on going. The pastas are all made in-house, and all three at our table were fantastic. My bucatini all’ amatriciana was nicely spicy with an almost stew-like sauce. The canestra in my wife’s cacio e pepe really made her dish, and our friend’s pistachio ravioli were unique and well made. Also, don’t skip the fried risotto ball appetizer.

Arami – Arami continues to be a shining beacon in Chicago’s sushi scene, which I maintain is remarkable given all of the changes they’ve been through. Well, here’s some more change. They have a new chef back in the kitchen, Fred Despres who used to be at Takashi. He’s already got some new items on the menu, including a wonderful hamachi poke and a damn respectable agedashi tofu. Their fish continues to be delicious and well handled by the guys behind the bar. Juno may be the trendy choice (and also very good), but the entire experience at Arami keeps me coming back.

Vera – I know I just gushed about Vera, so I’ll keep this short. They’re serving some gorgeous jamon iberico right now. It’s $28 a plate and it is worth every penny. Go eat it.

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