I love stuffed artichokes. You can't always get them. I used to go to Palermo's in Oak Lawn, but they are often out and don't have this delicacy that years ago an Italian date told me was something to share with someone you really loved.
So when I heard Cuzzin's Cafe in Orland Park served stuffed artichokes, I figured, why not make it a meal, and took the family there to enjoy a nice authentic Italian meal.
The food was very good, for the most part. I can't say it was bad. But it was off when we went tonight. Right off, I ordered the stuffed artichoke. It was tough, although the stuffing was phenomenal. Usually, you work your way through the maze of artichoke leaves covered in thick stuffing and the artichoke meat is soft. But this one was a little under cooked, maybe. Tough tough. The heart was like stone and it's the first time I didn't finish eating it, even though Alison kept telling me that "It's fattening." Not referring to her but to me where fatty foods have been making their presence a little too known.
You eat artichokes with your hands, grabbing one leaf at a time and scraping the stuffing and the artichoke meat off with your teeth, discarding the tough leaves. It's messy but fun. And when you can share it with someone you love, it's just that much better. Alison tried it but Aaron hasn't evolved into a food experimentor yet. He's still too young.
Anyway, I figured, no problem. Then they brought the bread. It was a few slices of fresh Vienna bread with a plate of marinara sauce, olive oil and grated cheese. Another reminder that there wasn't enough but that's okay because it's too fattening.
Everything Italian is fattening, honey! Not that pleading does any good.
So I ordered heart attack on a plate, Fettucini Alfredo. The sauce was too thick, like peanut butter. Another excuse for my wife to tell me, "It's fattening, don't eat so much." I didn't.
I ordered a side of meatballs and so did my son, Aaron. My meatballs were over mixed with stuffing, and not enough meat. It tasted like stuffing more than a meatball. So I didn't eat them all. In fact, my wife was happy because I really didn't eat much at all. "Too fattening."
I know. I know.
Anyway. we'll give it another try again. The food had real authentic Italian flavors and taste. It is more of a casual dining room setting, which was nice. Maybe like a little cafe like the ones were visited when we crossed over from France into Italy a few years backed and spent the day in Menton along the French Riviera.
All Cuzzin's needs is an outdoor fountain and some little tables. It would be fun.
Sometimes restaurant's have bad days. So I don't want to be too hard because I know the place is great. It really warmed my heart when I heard one of the waitresses say, "Hey Mom, I need a plate of ..." Family run and family operated. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt. So while I am having funw ith this experience, I;m not going to trash the place because it is great.
OrlandParker.com is an Opinion Commentary based news and information web site about Orland Park and the neighboring suburban communities of Tinely Park, Orland Hills, Frankfort, Mokena, Palos region and Homer Township. Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and former Chicago City Hall Reporter (1976-1992) covering "Daley to Daley." He writes a syndicated column distributed by Creators Syndicate and published every Week by the Jerusalem Post, and a political column on Chicagoland and mainstream American political issues each week in several regional community newspapers. He is a political consultant and president of Urban Strategies Group and he offers his personal insights and experiences about regional and national politics at www.Hanania.com. This is an Opinion Commentary-based news and information web site. We publish opinion columns, cartoons, comic strips, news stories, feature stories and, occasionally, local press releases of interest to the general public in our target market area. Email Ray Hanania (email@example.com) with any information, corrections or clarifications. This blog only represents the views of Ray Hanania, as a media and political analyst, and no one else and no other organization or agency, unless specifically stated.