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My Blog

A Trip Back to Italy in Chicago and Cicero

Good morning to everyone.  What a morning this is.  It has cooled down substantially outside today.  Yesterday's temperatures were in the high 80's and today we are expected to reach 64.  I am not at all complaining...except I would like to see the sun come up.  It is cool, but due to the large volume of rain that fell yesterday..quite humid.  
Well, today's blog is about a trip back in time and ethnicity.  For the almost 40 years of  my marriage, there are a few places that I have continued to shop and eat.  It is a bit of a trek for me, but you cannot compare what you get, so the trip is definitely worth the travel.  So yesterday, I decided to make journey.  
Around noon, my husband and I got into the car and started off.  It isn't a long ride to the first stop...only about 35 minutes and then another 20 minutes further to the second...but oh the journey we had.  
Our first destination was to a place called Serrellis.  It is located on North Ave, just west of Nagle in Chicago.  Serrelli's in my opinion has always had the absolute best Italian beef in its Italian juice.  It can be purchased in containers starting at one pound up to 5 pounds.  It is the most delicious roast beef I have ever had...not too spicy, loaded with beef in the container...not just mostly juice as you would find when you purchase other containers of beef elsewhere.  When you walk into this Italian Deli, the first thing that smacks you is the aroma.  In this small family owned store are a few small aisles filled with shelves of pasta and refrigerated cases of beef and other items like meatballs in gravy and frozen pastas.  At the back of the store, there stands the meat and deli counter.  Behind the butcher counter sits some of the best looking meats I have ever seen.  
I went directly to the refrigerated doors and removed the second to the largest container of beef, grabbed some Italian buns and was confident that I had enough beef for a number of meals.  I would separate and freeze once I returned home and anxiously awaited dinner.  
Well, once I was there, the next trek took us west to Oak Park Ave, where we then headed South towards Oak Park Ave.  This is a pleasant trip and one we have graced many times before.  As we drove through Oak Park, we commented about the beautiful houses and the history there as we did when we were first married...almost 40 years ago and we were still appreciating the trip and the surroundings.  Once we were exited the city of Oak Park, we entered into Cicero.  We continued our drive South to 16th St., and then headed East to Freddy's.  Now if you have never been to Freddy's in Cicero...get out your calendar and plan the trip.  This place is amazing.  Freddy's story is amazing.  You can read about it on their website...but 49 years ago..a young man walked into this Italian grocery store...asked the owner for a job. The owner said he wasn't hiring.  The young man told him to let him work there a week without pay and let him see how hard he would work...needless to say, the young man stayed and 5 years later bought the establishment and moved it down to where it sits today and opened a full Italian deli with homemade pizzas, pastas and every Italian meal you could imagine.  All homemade and cooked on the premises.  And to top it all off...you can have your choice of homemade Italian Ice or Gelato.  The best I have ever had.  Freddy's make their own pasta's and are in the freezer section.  They even make their own salamis, sausages and cheese.  When you walk into this small store...you would imagine that you are in Italy with the salami's hanging from the hooks.  Once you reach the counter, your eye is greeted with a bevy of some of the finest Italian dishes to choose from.  They have an outdoor and an indoor area with tables and chairs to sit and enjoy your chosen selections.  We choose some pizza and some tomatoes with arugala and mozzarella chunks lathered with some of the most delicious balsamic vinergarette on top.  Then, to top off this delightful meal we partook in some of the Italian ice.  My husband had a creamsicle and I partook in the chocolate.  It brought back memories of when I was a child and was able to enjoy a chocolate Popsicle.  What a wonderful trip to what seemed like a vacation to Italy for me.  So, if you are in this area...don't think twice about these two wonderful small, family owned Italian Food Stores.  

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