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Shut Up and Mangia!, Issue #014=St. Valentine's Day
February 13, 2008

"Shut Up and Mangia!"

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be. - Robert Browning

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Welcome to the St. Valentine’s Day issue of "Shut Up and Mangia!". As Dino once said, “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime”. And what better way to show your love on this romantic day than preparing a delicious Italian meal for your loved one. Or your loved ones. Food is love and love is food.

In Italy, St. Valentine’s Day is reserved exclusively for lovers. Couples go out to dinner and exchange gifts of flowers, chocolates, diamonds and perfumes, etc.. A very popular chocolate in Italy is known as Baci Perugina. Perugina Baci Chocolates are little chocolate covered hazelnut containing a small piece of paper with a romantic poetic quote written in four different languages. What a way to say “I Love You“. After all, Baci does mean kisses in Italian.

You don’t have to go out to dinner to enjoy a candlelight dinner for two. This issue will focus on a great Italian menu that you and your loved one can enjoy at home. So dim the lights, put on your favorite CD and enjoy these delicious Italian recipes.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Site News

Great Chicago Italian Recipes is dedicated to adding new and traditional Italian recipes for your enjoyment. The site is getting bigger and better with the “The Italian Grocer“ and “The Great Italian Music Store“ for your convenience.

Don’t forget to add your personal family recipes by contacting me through my “Share Recipes“ section. Just send me one of your favorite recipes and I’ll post it immediately for all the world to see.

The Best Romantic Restaurants in Chicago

  • Rose Angelis
  • located at 1314 West Wrightwood Avenue is a great spot for a home-cooked romantic evening on St. Valentine’s Day. The restaurant features dark wood accents, over-sized pictures and cozy tables for two. Their menu features spinach pasta stuffed with risotto and pesto and some great lasagna layered with mozzarella cheese and pine nuts. Rose Angelis is one of the best date spots in the city. For reservations call 773-296-0081.

  • The Italian Village
  • is always a favorite among romantic dinners. The Village features three great restaurants in one location and is Chicago’s oldest Italian restaurant. Their menus feature excellent Italian dishes ranging from pasta to seafood. The Italian Village is located at 71 West Monroe. For reservations call 312-332-7005.

  • Spiaggia
  • is one of Chicago’s finest Italian restaurants with a magnificently elegant dining room. It is also one of the most expensive dining experiences in the city but you can’t beat the wonderful dishes created by Executive Chef Tony Montuano. Spiaggia is located at 980 North Michigan Avenue. For reservations call 312-280-2750.

  • Dinotto Ristorante
  • is a great little spot located in Chicago’s Old Town. This romantic spot features an old world feeling that projects European warmth and intimacy. Their menu features some great past, chicken and veal dishes. Dinotto Ristorante is located at 215 West North Avenue. For reservations call 312-202-0302.

  • La Vita
  • is located in the heart of Chicago’s Little Italy. This Italian restaurant features a great atmosphere and some great Italian food. Their menu features everything from pasta to veal. My favorite dish is the Pollo Crema Di Brandy. Two boneless chicken breasts sautéed in a brandy cream sauce and topped with prosciutto and parmesan cheese. La Vita is located at 1359 West Taylor Street. For reservations call 312-491-1414.

    These restaurants are definitely five of my favorite.

    The Best Valentine‘s Day Cookbooks

    If my recipes aren’t enough you may what to check out a few of these cookbooks for a great Valentine’s Day dinner for two.

    Author Diane Brown has written the perfect cookbook for Valentine’s Day. The Seduction Cookbook: Culinary Creations For Lovers is a book filled with great recipes and ideas exclusively for lovers. Some of the recipes in this book include Artichokes with Warm Vinaigrette, Chile Lime Shrimp, Baked Cod with Shitake Mashed Potatoes and Shitake Sauce and Cornish Game Hens with Orange, Ginger and Soy Sauce. This is great book for planning that perfect intimate dinner.

    Ellen Albertson’s Food As Foreplay: Recipes for Romance, Love and Lust is another interesting book for Valentine’s Day. This book contains over 100 recipes for you and your loved one to enjoy.

    Chicago St. Valentines Day Events

    A great place to go on Valentine’s Day would be the Park West, located at 322 East Armitage Avenue. The Park West is hosting "'Duets for My Valentine” which is a Chicago tradition of the finest dance artists who perform seductive and flirtatious dance duets that echo the highs and lows of being in love. For more information visit their website at Park West

    On Friday February 15th the Music Box Theater is featuring "Casablanca" for more information visit The Music Box for showtimes and ticket prices.

    Throughout Chicagol the Chicago Park District hosts a variety of Valentine’s Day parties and dances. For further information visit theChicago Park for a list of events.

    Great St. Valentine’s Day Sites

    Anything and everything you ever wanted to know about Valentine’s Day can be found at St’ Valentine’s and St. Valentine’s These two sites have everything you need to create a great holiday.

    Great Italian Valentine’s Day Recipes

    This is my personal menu which I’m preparing this Valentine’s Day. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we will. Like any great Italian meal, this dinner will be prepared in courses starting with the appetizers. The two appetizers I chose are Artichoke Heart Bruchetta and Clams Oreganato. For the Primo I picked a delicious Fettuccine with Asiago Cheese. For the Secondo I chose the Venitian-Style Scallops and the Chicken with Sweet Pepper. I picked out two great sides dishes. First the Creamed Spinach and second the Mashed Potatoes with Fontina Cheese. To relax and cleanse you pallet I’ll serve Cheese and Fruit. And if there is room for Dolci, I'll serve a Decadent Chocolate Mousse. Enjoy! St. Valentine's Day Menu

    Final Thoughts

    Feel free to email this newsletter to a friend so they can Subscribe to "Shut Up and Mangia!" and begin to enjoy the many Italian recipes we have to offer.

    Take Care and have a Great St. Valentine‘s Day,

    Phillip J. Speciale

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