Mangia! Mangia!

We had a delicious Italian meal at Convito Cafe in Wilmette, just up the street from home last Friday evening. We love finding new places for date night, and feel doubly lucky when we discover a great place right where we live.

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I smiled when they sat us in the coziest enclave, white linen on the table, soothing flameless candles, and this print of Venetian canals. If Venice is in my view, how could a meal ever be unpleasant?

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I’m a sucker for beet salad! If it is on the menu, I order it. Some soft goat cheese and spicy arugula, earthy chilled slices of beet…this salad alone made my night.

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No helter-skelter mussels arrangement here! Didn’t you know that mussels taste better when they are arranged this nicely? The Prince Edward Island Mussels with San Marzano cherry tomatoes, white wine, parsley, marjoram (a type of oregano), butter and crunchy garlic bruschetta was delicious!

Is it just me, or could you also eat an entire loaf of ‘crunchy garlic bruschetta’, dipping it into the sauce until there isn’t a drop or crumb left, only to ask the server for a second loaf?

Fun Fact: Bruschetta is actually just grilled bread rubbed with garlic, drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with salt. You can put toppings (like diced tomatoes, onions and basil) on it, but bruschetta doesn’t mean its topped. I’m always learning something new!

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Pasta heaven! My date had the Campanelle Tonnato: bell shaped pasta, Italian poached tuna, grape tomatoes, picholine olives, capers, fresh basil, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of chili peppers. Was it delicious? I ate his leftovers and mine the next day.

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I enjoyed every bite of the Penne Integrale: whole wheat penne, butternut squash, kale, leeks, pumpkin seeds and parmesan butter sauce. Mmmmm…parmesan butter sauce. I dug this dish! The hearty kale, soft sweet squash, flavorful leeks and crunchy pumpkin seeds made it a pasta plate to remember.

A slice of sticky sweet apple tarte and vanilla ice cream was just the right ending to our meal. That was handsome’s espresso, but I couldn’t stop sniffing it. It smelled divine. I would have taken a sip, only my eyes would have been wide open all night and this gal needs her eight hours.

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Convito Cafe was simple in the very, very best way. The food was delicious without being overly rich, the restaurant was classy yet warm like home, the service impeccable without being stuffy. We truly enjoyed our dinner.

But there’s more! Convito Cafe has a market on one side of the restaurant, filled with delectable, take-home meal options. We just picked up some butternut squash lasagna (for me), and meat lasagna (for him)…and some potato gratin (for him) and some cannelloni (for me)…and some roasted brussels sprouts (for us) and a lemon bar (for him…but I’m going to steal a bite when he isn’t looking and blame the cat). Our eyes may have been bigger than our stomachs…well, maybe not mine.

If you live on Chicago’s North Shore, take a little ride up Sheridan along the lakefront and enjoy a table at Convito Cafe. It’s a gem! We’ll see you there!

8 thoughts on “Mangia! Mangia!

  1. It all looks so delicious including the picture of Venice. I have been to Wilmette more than a few times but not recently. I’m a Baha’i and have been to the House of Worship there.

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      • If you have never been inside do go. It’s open to everyone and there is a visitor center. I think you would find the simplicity of the inside stunning also.
        In probably 1984 I was there for a special program for Baha’is who are going pioneering which is a very little like a missionary and we had the privilege of climbing up into the dome. Something I would not be able to do now with my arthritis.

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      • Grazie, Michelle.
        I still have my hummingbirds to post but I am recovering from spending last weekend in the hospital with deep vein thrombosis in my left leg. I will be fine but the leg is still swollen and painful and I’m barely walking and not allowed to sit at the PC…have to keep the leg elevated when sitting so the non texter is one finger typing on her tablet. I was only in there for 48 hours but it feels like weeks and I’m exhausted.
        I do have a friend who asked what she could do gor me from Venice and I said to light a candle for me in one of the churches.

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      • Oh heavens! We need you to get better and soon! I’m sure you are very exhausted; rest, rest, rest! Well, let others’ posts amuse you for now, but I can’t wait to see your next shares! I’m thinking of you!

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