When we approached the restaurant Quartino, it was packed. There was a long line and just as long a wait to be seated. Naturally, we opted for seats at the bar. The crowd that initially had us doubting whether we’d be able to grab food here, contributed to the lively atmosphere- the loud chatter of everyone around us was reminiscent of a large family gathering. A few years ago, I had come to this restaurant with family and I remember enjoying my time here with them as well. Angela and I caught up on how our summer had been going and what our plans for the rest of summer break were. She told me how she had come to Chicago with her father for a food convention – which sounds super exciting. I would have gone if I was staying for longer!
After catching up over gnocchi, it was time for dessert: we stuck to an Italian theme and went to Eataly on 43 E Ohio Street. It’s an Italian marketplace that has branches in many cities so it’s not unique to Chicago. Nevertheless it was a neat place to visit! A string of dessert shops line the periphery of the first floor and sit-in restaurants surrounded by groceries make up the upper level. We chose La Pasticceria on the first floor as it showcased an assortment of little pastries and baked goods. Each item looked delicately crafted and surprisingly colorful. Fruits, cream and powdered sugar decorated the treats. I chose 5 items including two pieces of chocolate cake and Angela got a cream filled bread.
Each pastry tasted very different from the others and equally delicious. As someone who looks to indulge in sweets sparingly, I like that they were slightly larger than bite size pieces. It was just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth but not so much so that I would be eating the rest just to finish what’s on my plate. We poured over these desserts and then wandered around Eataly to check out the grocery items upstairs. This place is no Shoprite or Kroger- the cheese and meat displayed were high-end and imported from all over the world. There were unique vegetables I’ve never heard of and in the midst of all of this, people were seated for dinner. It was fun to stroll around the food, people-watch and ambitiously look through recipe books with hopeful plans of hosting fancy dinners in our own apartments at college. Meeting up with a college friend in Chicago was an exciting last minute turn of events. I’m so glad I got to catch up with Angela, and enjoy the Italian food theme of our night!