After observing a lack of local, all-natural gourmet food products, Seasons Harvest took inspiration from the fresh tastes found at local farms and created a line of flavorful sauces and salsas made without preservatives or water filler. Popular products include hearty pasta sauces, medium-heat salsas, dessert toppings, and "salad enlighteners," which add zest to salads without heavy oils.
On November 16, 1955, Alfonso Tornabene arrived in Stickney, Illinois, half a world from his native Sicily. Though his location had changed, the synapses firing in his brain still carried the inkling of an idea––a recipe for a traditional Sicilian pizza. After several decades perfecting the preparation, he passed the recipe onto his daughter Mary, who by proxy brought it to the menu at Villa Nova Pizza.
Specializing in Chicago-style thin crust tossed with Alfonso's Sicilian methods, Villa Nova hand-tosses gooey specialty pizzas festooned with pesto and garlic, available by the pie or slice. Eclipsing the shackles of mere dough, skilled chefs also populate tables with hearty sandwiches and traditional pasta such as manicotti and potato gnocchi in marinara or vodka sauce. After the meal, guests can wrap up a mini cannoli and head to nearby Lake Michigan for walk along the water, or measure its depth by sewing several hundred mini cannolis together end to end.
Applying his background in engineering, Stony Gardens founder C.J. Jackson tackled a problem familiar to any family every Thanksgiving: cooking the perfect turkey. Determined to find a way to cook the poultry without drying it out, Jackson created a rotisserie smoker that cooks the bird thoroughly while retaining its natural juices. Injected to the bone with one of three marinades—herb and garlic, Cajun, or Caribbean jerk—each turkey slow-roasts over mesquite wood until cooked thoroughly, after which it's packaged for delivery or pickup along with recipes for reusing leftovers. In 2009, in an effort to give back to their community, Jackson and his wife, Dr. Chrystal Strickland, founded the Avert Foundation, a non-profit organization that donates 100 turkeys annually to local underserved families.
The epicurean alchemists at India House, winner of Chicago magazine's Best Indian Buffet designation, draw inspiration from many places: the cuisine of Bombay and Delhi, Indian street fare, and homestyle tandoori cooking. The menu's more than 250 items please vegetarian and meat-eating palates alike with curries and kebabs that use the flavors of fresh cilantro, chilies, and coconut. A reviewer for the Chicago Tribune praises the restaurant?s ?incredibly tender tandoori chicken,? and Chicago magazine says the fiery "Hyderabadi-style mahi-mahi ? is a must." Midday lunchers can dig into a buffet whose myriad options make it difficult to decide which delicious curries should be ladled over naan and rice.
St. Julian is Michigan’s oldest, largest and most awarded winery. This family-owned winery, founded by Mariano Meconi in 1921, is nestled in the picturesque fruit-growing region along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Today, grandson, David Braganini, has adopted the family tradition of wine making.
Beyond crisp falafel, creamy baba ghanoush, and other familiar Mediterranean snacks, Sahara Restaurant & Grill offers dishes that may surprise the palate or astonish a newbie fork. That's because the restaurant specializes in Chaldean cuisine, which traces its roots back to ancient Babylon and Mesopotamia. Saad Attisha and his family opened the restaurant in1982, and ever since, they've been serving up specialties such as chopped salads with fresh mint, savory lamb tashreeb, and tender charbroiled quail. "The delicious meal never stopped impressing, and is highly recommended as a must-stop," wrote one Spero News contributor after dining at the restaurant's Oak Park location.