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You know the restaurant I'm talking about. The one your family would go on your birthday, the place your baseball team always visited at the end of the season. The menu is laminated and six pages long; the tablecloths are white. The wine list consists of "house red" and "house white." You can get the Caprese salad no matter if tomatoes are in season and the cheese on the eggplant Parm is half an inch thick. Maybe the waiter even makes the Caesar salad tableside, tossing it dramatically in a massive bowl.
Sure, there's modernized, more seasonally-driven, more Italian food—but I'd challenge you to show me something more satisfying than classic, red-saucy Italian-American food. Pick up your own bottle of house red, make a white-tablecloth feast at home, and, as my Italian-American mother would say, mangia:
Insalate e Antipasti
Close your eyes and imagine your neighborhood Italian spot. Now tell us about it in the comments!