1 Janice Lau - AVP Merchandising, Kevin Sharkey, and Jeanie Park - VP Merchandising all enjoyed an evening out on the town after a very busy design week at MSLO.
2 Lisa Wagner - SVP, Supervising Editorial Producer and Jerry Haggerty - SVP, Merchandising - JCP - It happened to be Jerry's birthday.
3 David Ong - Deputy Design Director and Jessica Rounds - Deputy Design Director for Textiles enjoyed a night of eating and celebrating.
4 Dan Grossman - Deputy Design Director, me, and Aaron Stewart - VP, Design - Aaron arranged the entire dinner with the owner of this great Italian restaurant, Antonella Rana.
5 Giovanni Rana is the father-in-law of Antonella Rana, the beautiful owner of this new New York establishment. There are 30 restaurants in Italy, pasta factories in several cities, including Chicago and New York.
6 We were served about six different pastas, all family-style. They were all different and quite delicious and I ate a bit of each of them. This is Bolognese and carbonara.
7 A very unusual dish - calamari and paccheri, a calamari shaped pasta in a rich, red sauce
8 A very delicious salad - Pane Carasau, Burrata, Ricotta, Olives, Hazelnut, Beet, and Spinach
9 This was polenta sticks with a mascarpone dip - very yummy!
10 A rustic board of Il Tagliere - Artisanal Cured Sliced Meats and Italian Cheeses served with Gnocco Fritto, a delicious fried bread
11 Fritto Misto di Pesci - shrimp, calamari, spinach, and lemon
12 My favorite - Stuffed artichoke hearts stuffed with bread, crumby pesto, and fried with thyme.
13 Another delicious mixed salad
14 A beautiful presentation of cheese ravioli and goat cheese served in a crispy basket of parmigiano reggiano. The basket is made by baking a 12-inch disk of grated cheese on a silicone baking sheet. When the cheese is melted, remove it from the oven, wait a few minutes, then lift and place the disk in a metal bowl to form the basket.
15 At the end of our very large meal, Jerry was presented with a birthday cake and one candle!
16 A dessert called Cassata, made with fresh ricotta, pistacios, pine nuts, candied orange peel topped with the finest chocolate from Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, served on a handthrown ceramic dish handcrafted locally in Astoria in Queens, NY.
17 Two days later, I went back to Rana to photograph the restaurant in the daytime. Kevin and I took Jude, who loved every dish we put before her. She loved walking around and looking at everything, as I did. Here is the pasta counter with many kinds of freshly made pasta.
18 Squid ink pasta, tortellini, and ravioli - mushroom, cheese, meat, butternut squash, and others
19 Beet, potato, semolina, and spinach pasta - Rana makes 500-pounds of pasta a day! Pastas are flavored with ingredients like chiles, curry, and cuttlefish ink and one is made with lentil flour.
20 Tomato, chestnut, curry, whole wheat, and artichoke - all these flavors are found in the pasta display.
21 And there are all shapes of fresh pastas - fusilli, paparadelle, fettuccine, rigatoni, gnocchi, etc.
22 Beautiful noodles
23 Tagliatelle and pappardelle - each to be served with a special sauce
24 The special proscuitto slicer is, of course, Italian.
25 Each serving is freshly sliced, expertly, on this machine.
26 The dining room looks very different in the daytime.
27 It was very crowded in the restaurant during the day and also very crowded in the evening - a great sign!
28 Wooden shelves display unusual Italian-made specialties for sale.
29 The owner, Antonella Rana, is a very beautiful and vivacious mother of two from Verona (born in Sicily). She is so creative and certainly knows her Italian recipes.
30 She gave Jude a sheet of pasta and tools to experiment with.
31 There is a cutter, a ravioli crimper, a round ravioli crimper, and a heart-shaped cutter.
32 While we waited for lunch, Jude tried all of them.
33 She was intrigued with the pasta tools.
34 Pressing the heart to make a cutout was hard, but not impossible.
35 All Jude needed was some butternut squash filling to make a round ravioli.
36 From the restaurant and shop, diners can look right into the kitchens and the Pasta Studio.
37 Kevin ordered a poached egg made in a jar and served with cheese, toast, and roasted fingerling potatoes.
38 Scrambled eggs were served with toast, cheese, and proscuitto.
39 Jude ordered little tomatoes, olives, and burrata cheese drizzled with aged Balsamic vinegar.
40 The fried bread is served in an Italian-made copper basin.
41 This is a giant raviolo filled with soft polenta and topped with a fried egg and little woodland mushrooms.
42 Kevin had whole wheat rigatoni with tomato sauce and a soft and creamy cheese.
43 The pumpkin ravioli were delicious.
44 The cappuccino was very excellent, also.
45 This was everyone's favorite - pandoro, a traditional Italian sweet yeast bread, sliced crosswise and cooked like French toast. It was really, really delicious and Jude adored it!
46 Garnished with raspberries, black raspberries, and pomegranate seeds - I'll be making this soon!
47 These special cookies are served with dessert. They're called krumiri, a delicacy of Casale Monferrato, the city in north-west Italy where they were invented in 1878 by the confectioner Domenico Rossi.
48 The logo of the company is painted on a rustic brick wall.
49 This is imported flour ready to be transformed into pasta.
50 Copper is for sale, as well as homemade olive oil, pottery, linens, salt, etc.
51 This is an original dough maker from the pasta factory in Verona.
52 This machine is not used for dough any longer, but it's a great display vehicle for Italian-made chocolates.
53 The new pasta machinery is custom designed and makes all types of dough, as well as many extruded and rolled shapes of pasta.
54 The process is very, very efficient.
55 This is fusilli being extruded neatly onto sheet trays.
56 Perfectly formed pasta!
57 The store displays old tools and implements.
58 This is an assortment of old cutting wheels for the pastas.
59 A large ceiling rack holds many pieces of copper.
60 Old grinders and colanders
61 There are big sacks of flour for making pasta and for baking on shelves near the entrance.