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Olson’s Observations

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Food & Drink Around Chicago: Spacca Napoli & Suzi’s Tea

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I grew up in central Massachusetts and with that came a traditional New England “meat and potatoes” diet. I was very content with that until I met my girlfriend. She grew up in Washington D.C. and thus had very diverse food interests due to the international flair of the city.

Over the past six years she has opened my eyes up to interesting new foods (while I kicked and screamed the whole way) and my palate is slowly building and refining (did I just say palate?). That said, nothing beats my Mom’s home cooking and apple pie/crisp. Hey, I am a born and raised New Englander. What can I say?

Anyhow, I thought it would be interesting to bring up some great places I find myself in around town on this blog. Therefore, this should be the first of many Chicago foods and drink posts. These reviews will be very accessible and not at all pretentious. It would be fair to say that I am anti-pretentious (which is why I love Gary’s mission so much - taking the pretentiousness out of wine).

The first two places I will highlight are Spacca Napoli and Suzi’s Tea.

Spacca Napoli:

Spacca NapoliSummary: Fantastic service and even better pizza.

Spacca Napoli is new in town and focuses on the art of the traditional Neopolitan Pizza. It is located at 1769 W. Sunnyside and is just steps from the Montrose stop on the Brown line.

Looking to try something new some friends and I went to Spacca Napoli last Saturday night. Unfortunately you can’t make reservations and the place is very popular so the wait was pretty long. While there is no bar area where you can pass the time we were allowed to have a drink while we waited.

Here is where things get good in terms of service.

After waiting for about an hour the owner came over to our group, asked us what we were drinking and got us a round on the house. Not only that, the owner also brought around a truffle pizza for us, and the rest of folks waiting, to try.

As if that wasn’t enough when we finally did get to sit down the owner had three different apps sent to our table on the house due to the long wait.

Now, that’s service and you guys all know how much of a customer service advocate I am. Needless to say I loved the place already and would wait an hour again in a heartbeat.

What about the pizza you ask? It was awesome. I had the Prosciutto e Rucola pizza which consisted of pizza bianca with provola, prosciutto di parma, arugula, parmesan and olive oil. I have high prosciutto standards having lived in the North End of Boston for a couple years and this was good stuff. Everyone else enjoyed their pizzas as well.

Check this place out if you get a chance and support the owners who truly know what customer service is all about and how to cook a mean pizza.

Suzi’s Tea:

Summary: A comfy, cozy place for tea lovers.

Suzis TeaSuzi’s Tea, which opened just recently around the corner from my apartment, is my new favorite spot. I have wanted to get into tea for a while now and I think Suzi’s is a place that will help.

Suzi’s is located at 2965 N Lincoln and has a very rural “homey” feel which I appreciate. It is truly a little rural oasis that feels like home to me.

Suzi (yes, there is a real Suzi and she’s awesome) has 135 teas on the menu including some rare ones so there is room to try something new but there are also some tea staples like Earl Gray around for the folks who want to stick with what they know.

Each tea is served up with its own timer so your tea is steeped perfectly down to the second. The vast majority (if not all) of teas are loose leaf and the one I chose, the Darjeeling White (which was killer!), was a whole leaf loose leaf.

While you are sipping the tasty tea you’ll also be drawn to the homemade goodies like the oatmeal cookies which are fantastic and are truly homemade.

Suzi’s also offers breakfast and lunch which I have yet to try but everything on the menu looked great and Suzi mentioned that her husband is the cook and that he is really good at what he does.

Didn’t get to try a tea you wanted to? Want more of the tea you had? No worries at all. You can buy any of the teas on the menu on the way out for home use. You can also order tea pots and other various tea accessories on Suzi’s website.

Check out Suzi’s Tea next time you are thinking of going to Starbucks. I think you’ll be much happier there and you’ll be supporting a local entrepreneur.

Written by Eric Olson

February 27th, 2008 at 10:51 am

Posted in Chicago, Food