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exterior of la buona vita at night

Introduction the the Sous Vide Style of Cooking

Sous vide cooking is one of the most talked about new culinary trends, increasingly utilized by both professional chefs and ambitious home cooks alike. But what is sous vide? The name means “under vacuum” in French because ingredients are often (but not always) vacuum sealed before cooking. Simply put, sous vide is a cooking technique that uses a precise temperature-controlled water bath in order to evenly cook food to an exact doneness. Although pioneered by the French in the 1970s, this style of cooking is now used in a wide range of cuisines, from Spanish molecular gastronomy to authentic Italian food.

For those unfamiliar with the technique, the sous vide method might sound a little kooky–and indeed, the technique combines standard cooking principles with equipment that looks like it’s meant for a science lab. The benefits of sous vide are evident from the first bite, however. Sous vide is designed to make it simple to get precise cooking results that are easily repeatable. Imagine making steaks that are exactly medium-rare every time without any risk of overcooking or any need to fret over the pan, prodding the meat with a thermometer or cutting into to it to check how done it is. Preparing tough cuts of meat that require long cooking times to make them tender is also simplified with the sous vide method, allowing cooks to utilize less expensive cuts while still producing moist and flavorful results. And though popular with meat, sous vide can be used to cook a wide variety of ingredients, from poultry and fish to vegetables, fruits, eggs and even sauces and desserts.

How can you get started cooking sous vide at home? The past few years have seen equipment that was once priced to be accessible only by professional kitchens become inexpensive enough to be in range for avid home cooks. To begin, the only thing you absolutely need is an immersion circulator, although a vacuum sealer, a cast iron skillet and a Cambro plastic container are extremely helpful in achieving the best results. You’ll use the immersion circulator to heat and maintain your water bath at an exact temperature throughout the cooking process; a solid version suitable for home use can now be had for under $200.

Once you have your sous vide setup in place, the obvious dish to start with is steak. Pricey and notoriously difficult to cook well, a good steak can really highlight the benefits of sous vide. But the beauty of this method is that it can make so many dishes sing; juicy chicken breasts, perfectly poached eggs or tender and moist pork shoulder are all excellent to make using sous vide.

Of course, while the sous vide method is increasingly accessible to home chefs, getting started does require an investment in equipment and a lot of trial-and-error as you adjust your techniques to this innovative method. Even if you are daunted at the idea of trying to cook sous vide yourself, however, you can still reap its benefits. As an exciting and original purveyor of Italian cuisine in La Grange, La Buona Vita has been serving up specials that utilize sous vide to give diners tender, flavorful and perfectly prepared dishes. Recent dinner specials have included a strip steak prepared sous vide and seared to perfect golden brown perfection. If you are interested in tasting the results of sous vide yourself, La Buona Vita will have a table waiting for you.

Pairing Craft Beer With Italian Food in La Grange

When people think of drink pairings with Italian food, they most often think of wine (and that’s always a great choice!), but with the craft beer market becoming bigger in Italy, there are now some delicious alternative pairings to wine. We are currently in the golden age of craft brewing, so if wine was never really your cup of…tea, have no fear! There are plenty of delightful, refreshing Italian birre (“beers” in Italian) to complement your pasta, steak, seafood or other scrumptious meal.

La Grange, a western suburb of Chicago, offers fabulous family neighborhoods, close proximity to the city, and the opportunity to indulge in authentic northern Italian food while enjoying local or imported craft beer. At La Buona Vita, we invite you to come in for a relaxing, scratch-kitchen meal with house-made pasta and craft beer that perfectly pairs together. Here we’ll go over some of our favorite menu items and the beer that goes best with them.

Craft Beer and Pasta Pairs

Fun fact: the pasta itself doesn’t have much impact on flavor pairings — it’s the sauce that really dictates which craft beer pairs best with which pasta dish. Makes sense, since the sauce is the most flavorful part of the dish.

For the most commonly tomato-heavy marinara red sauces, it’s best to opt for a double malt beer like Moretti La Rossa. On our own menu, Moretti La Rossa is ideal when matched with the Lasagna La Buona Vita and Rigatoni Emilio. While considered a macro beer, Peroni is another good choice to accompany a marinara and a dish like Eggplant Parmigiana.

With an Alfredo sauce, try a pale ale or strong Belgian ale like Lurisia Otto or Farotta, which have silky texture and distinctive flavors. They go great with our Fettuccini Primavera.

Best Beers with Steak and Seafood

The rich and bold flavors of grilled steak require a craft beer like Super Baladin with its medium body and touch of tartness. Pair veal medallions and a red sauce with a Belgian-style Flanders, Tripel, or the Super Baladin as well.

For seafood dishes like Linguine with White Clam Sauce, Walleye Limone, and Fettuccine con Gamberi e Broccoli, opt for a Saison like Lurisia Sei or Moretti. Whitefish served with a light lemon butter and capers needs a blonde lager like Menabrea Birra Bionda or an IPA.

Beer with Poultry, Pork, and Lamb

Classic poultry dishes such as Pollo alla Parmigiana (Chicken Parmesan) or Pollo Cacciatore feature a red sauce, which means pairing with a craft beer that complements the acidity of the tomato-based sauce. Baladin works well as does Moretti La Rossa. Enjoy a grilled pork chop with a White IPA, while lamb chops pair with a craft beer that’s slightly tart and medium-bodied.

Italian Beer with Salads and Vegetables

Lighter fare, salads and grilled vegetables typically pair really well with pale lagers, amber ales, and IPAs with crisp, citrus aromas. When ordering a meal like the Insalata di Salmone — a grilled salmon with mixed greens and lemon vinaigrette, look to the Menabrea Birra Bionda, a blonde lager that is a three-time Gold Medal World Beer Champion for “Best Pale Lager in the World.”

Savory Suds with Delectable Desserts

Nothing caps a great Italian meal like a delectable Italian dessert. From the classic Cannoli and Tiramisu to Cheesecake and a decadent Molten Chocolate Cake, the right craft beer makes all the difference. A craft beer with fruity notes pairs beautifully with cheesecake and cannoli, especially the G.Menabrea e Figli Ambrata 150, an Amber Lager. Definitely try the Verdi Imperial Stout with the Tiramisu, Molten Chocolate Cake, or Profiteroles. For citrus-themed desserts, go lighter with an IPA or pale lager.

View our full Craft Beer menu and extensive wine list online and make plans to enjoy a mouth-watering, Northern Italian meal at La Buona Vita in La Grange today.

Host Your Spring Holiday Event with La Buona Vita

Photo: Event Catering - Pouring ChampagneSpring is here! April showers are giving way to May flowers and summer is beckoning. Birthday parties, anniversaries, graduation ceremonies, and weddings are all popular spring events for La Grange residents and visitors. Do you have an upcoming spring event? If so, then you need to pick out the perfect venue before it’s too late.

Planning Your Spring Event In La Grange

The beauty of a spring event is that the weather tends to be perfect for hosting either indoor or outdoor events. From designing the invitations to choosing the venue and menu, we have a few tips that will help you to plan the “event of the season.”

Tip #1. Choose your venue and date ahead of time.

The sooner you choose your date and venue, the easier it will be for your guests to accept your invitation. Speaking of invitations, if you are planning on taking a break from the modern day email invite, then we recommend using Ashley’s Custom Stationery in Hinsdale or AlphaGraphics in La Grange. As you are planning ahead, remember that Friday and Saturday nights tend to be very popular days of the week for large celebrations. Sunday afternoon is also a popular time for a less formal get-together. Finally, keep in mind that you can always host your event outdoors with the help of Classic Events and Table Rentals, or Twilight Party Rentals. The bottom line: plan ahead so that you get exactly what you want for your special spring event.

Tip #2. Add a little flare with the right decorations.

While food and drinks are an important component for any event, the ambiance of the celebration can be greatly enhanced by your chosen decorations. For flowers we recommend Bloom3, Maria’s Floral Studio, or Phillips Flowers in La Grange Park. Whether you choose to have table arrangements, flower-adorned chairs, or want a large group of freshly cut stems in each corner of the room, any of the latter flower shops can provide stunning floral designs that will help to create a beautiful event space.

Tip #3. Don’t forget the party favors.

No matter the celebration, party favors are a great way to say thank you to your guests. Small picture frames, chocolates, customized coasters, or other little trinkets will definitely be appreciated by all event attendees. For chocolates and other delectable treats we recommend, Lilett Candy Gourmet Chocolates, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and We’re Nuts.

Event Catering At La Buona Vita In La Grange

If delicious food and drinks are part of the main event for your upcoming event, then look no further than La Buona Vita. Chef Terry of La Buona Vita is proud to offer a delicious array of food, craft beer, wine, and all of your bar essentials.  If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion with a delicious cake for dessert, reach out to our preferred bakeries – Araceley’s of La Grange and Kirsten’s of Burr Ridge.

Enjoy La Grange’s freshest dishes that are crafted following centuries-old traditions from Northern Italy. Whether you are interested in creating a memorable event by following our traditional menu or prefer the flexibility of customized menu, La Buona Vita can deliver delicious meals that will leave your guests smiling and content. To learn more about planning your next event at La Buona Vita, or using the catering services, contact the Italian restaurant today!

Flavors of Italy – Italian Cuisine by Region

Photo: Flavors of ItalyItalian food evokes this great feeling of warmth, love, and family. That abundance of joy isn’t only felt by those of Italian descent. Today there’s a merging of the cuisines from the different regions of Italy in many American restaurants. For those who are very familiar with Italy, the northern region dishes have a distinctive flavor that’s completely separate from the southern cuisine. Both are excellent in their own right. Italian pasta is a popular dish in every region, but the sauces will have their own flavor.

In America, many Italian dishes have evolved from the creation of the immigrant population who settled here. For instance, spaghetti and meatballs is a popular dish in the US, but not one you’d readily find in Italy. Italian dishes in America are also sometimes specific to the state or region, which is why Italian Beef sandwiches are largely found in Chicago (where they were invented) and pizza tastes different in New York than it will in Philadelphia.

Southern Italian Cuisine

Southern Italian cuisine is often quintessentially Mediterranean. There are similarities between the Sicilian and Greek preparation of certain dishes, for instance. Southern Italian foods often have more spice than their northern counterparts – they’re often hotter, with a preference to red pepper and giardiniera. The tomato sauces tend to be hotter, tangier, and with an abundance of garlic. Fish is a popular dish in the south and many of the meals are prepared with citrus, such as lemon and the blood oranges found in Sicily. The southern region is warmer in climate and many dishes are fresh and light. You’ll find an abundance of steamed fish, with fresh fruits such as figs, and vegetables. Olive oil is often the key choice for cooking, as well as a base for salad dressings.

Northern Italian Cuisine

In contrast to the southern cuisine, northern Italian foods tend to be richer. The food from this region is often compared to French cuisine because the sauces are often butter based and richer in texture. The experience of dining is one of luxury. Northern Italian cuisine also reflects the region, which is quite a bit cooler and there’s an abundance of meat dishes, stews, and Italian pasta with a heavier, cream based sauce. Some popular northern Italian dishes include veal, chicken, and fish prepared with fresh herbs, garlic, and often sauce bases are made with wine.

Northern cuisine offers an eclectic choice, from the antipasto through the decadent desserts. Drink choices are just as important to the authentic northern Italian experience as the food menu. Fine liquors, craft brews, and of course, an eclectic array of various vintage wines form the perfect finishing touch to a meal that’s meant to be the main event of the evening.

In the Chicagoland area, there are many popular restaurants that specialize in Italian Cuisine, though many cater to southern Italian tastes. La Buona Vita in La Grange, features an eclectic menu of pure Northern Italian cuisine. Their specialty drinks and robust wine list are perfectly designed to pair with any meal or taste palate.

REDEFINING THE ITALIAN DINING EXPERIENCE

Be among the first to experience a new and fresh La Buona Vita! We think you’ll love our new vibe, a dynamic and warm rustic interior that is a fresh and friendly reflection of our Northern Italian roots. 

Experience for yourself our bold take on Northern Italian cuisine, direct from our famous “scratch kitchen.” Try our specials, sample our extensive bar menu, and choose from 10 Italian beers and wines from around the world. Our menu boasts new approaches to Italian favorites, creations that are simply bursting with flavor!