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A Foodies Playground: Eataly

For the past 3 months, I have been planning a trip to Eataly to see what all the hoopla has been about. Shortly, after the grand opening in December, reports on the news were that Eataly had to close for a few days to handle the crowds. The 63,000 square foot building dubbed an indoor theme park for Italian food is located at 43 East Ohio Street here in Chicago.

I honestly didn’t have any intentions on venturing to Eatly on a Saturday afternoon. Since I was already downtown, I decided to stop by Eataly. I walked along Ohio Street and walked smack dab into the most amazing foodie playground that I had ever experienced. I screamed, ‘WOW’, on the inside while I calmly stared into the lights from gorgeous oversized chandeliers that lead my gaze to the second floor. Eataly is to Italian food what IKEA is to ready to assemble furniture. One can find housewares, wines, spirits, beverages, oils, dried pasta, pasta sauce, cookbooks, candies, cosmetics, and the list goes on and on. Along with packaged grocery items, Eataly has fresh cheeses, meats, seafood, and produce. Eatly doesn’t stop there. They also house a brewery and various restaurants. If it is Italian, it is at Eataly.

Eataly

Eataly

I didn’t get an opportunity to eat at one of the various restaurants and cafés at Eataly. They are bustling with business and each eatery was packed. NOTE: Pack your patience, manners, and a positive attitude. Customers (and not the associates at Eataly) can be so rude.

Instead of waiting, I opted to buy a few grocery items to take home and test out. Eataly isn’t cheap on your pockets. I didn’t find $1 pasta or $2 pasta sauce. I purchased casarecce whole wheat pasta by Garofalo. I also purchased 2 different cream sauces by Urbani Truffles. The cost of these three items was $19.63 (including tax).

What I purchased @ Eataly

What I purchased @ Eataly

I cooked 2 cups of the whole wheat pasta and the can of cream and truffles. I followed the cooking directions for both items. I like the warning that was on the pasta instructing one to cook the pasta for 11 minutes. The pasta was just how I like it, al dente (firm to the bite and not mushy). I never had casarecce pasta before. I have only seen dry whole wheat pasta in macaroni and spaghetti. This whole wheat pasta has a more pronounced flavor than any other whole wheat pasta I have ever had adding an extra element to the dish. Because I am a fan of truffle cream sauce, the small cans from Urbani Truffles fit well into my budget. It took less than 10 minutes to heat up the sauce. I poured the sauce over the pasta, added shaved Parmesan cheese, and fresh minced garlic. And voila, lunch was served.

Lunch with Pasta & Sauce from Eataly

Lunch with Pasta & Sauce from Eataly

With some sautéed spinach that was garnished with lemon zest, I had a meal that brought out my inner chef. I suggest that you go to Eataly and pick up a few items to inspire your inner chef. I will visit Eataly again in the near future to dine at one of the restaurants. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the casarecce and the other can of Urbani Truffles.

To Eataly, I say, “MAGNIFICO”!!

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