Thursday, February 16, 2017


22 East Chicago Avenue
Naperville, IL. 60540
wheelchair access, ample parking, valet

Story and photos by Dwight Casimere

22 E. Chicago Ave.
Naperville, IL 60540
wheelchair access, ample parking, valet
moderate pricing

story and photos by Dwight Casimere

Rosebud is an authentic Italian American dining treasure in the heart of Naperville's bustling downtown area, near the Riverwalk. With its spacious sleek, modern dining room, cozy bar area and outdoor patio, its an ideal place to enjoy traditional favorites with a modern flair. The service is quick and courteous, and the atmosphere is lively. The bottom line, however, is the food. Long-time favorites such as Shrimp Scampi, Homemade Cavatelli, Eggplant alla Parmesan, or Chicken Vesuvio, are front and center on the expansive menu.

 The food is delicious, with copious portions and reasonable prices. The appetizers are large enough to share. There's almost enough variety there to make for an entire meal, but don't cheat yourself out of the flavor bonanza to follow with the main courses.

A glass of Prosecco, that northern Italian bubbly that is champagne's lighter, slightly sweeter cousin, got things off to a delightful start. Appetizers of Fried Calamari and Fried Shrimp arrived within a flash. The seafood was perfectly cooked, crisp and crunchy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside with a spicy marinara sauce and a healthy slice of lemon wrapped neatly in a cheese cloth to prevent seeds from dropping onto the plate. Nice touch! 

Fried Calamari and Shrimp with Chopped Salad and Prosecco

Besides the wide array of pasta dishes, meat and seafood of the day is prepared any way you like it from a list of Italian specialty preparations; Picatta, Vesuvio, Marsala, to name a few.

There are also a number of specialities of the day, which are well worth asking for. On a recent Valentine's Day menu, a featured item was Medallions of Filet Mignon prepared three ways; with a mushroom and brandy suace, bearnaise with fresh crab and artichoke on top and with a cap of flavorful Guyere cheese. It was delicious served with a glass of Palazzo Della Torre Red Sangiovese wine from the magnificent Allegrini estate in Verona in northern Italy. The flavors of the wine, redolent of rich, ripe, red berries and a hint of baking spice and black pepper from careful oak aging, made for an excellent flavor combination. A side of the house speciality Rigatoni with rich, house made marinara sauce, rounded out the flavor medley. The fish of the day, Salmon, was prepared with a simple dusting of olive oil, mushroom and herbs and topped with fresh Shrimp. The salmon was pristinely fresh.The portion was large, meaty and perfectly cooked, with the salmon flaking under the pressure of the fork. It too paired well with the flavorful red wine. 

 Fresh Salmon prepared any wsy you like it
A Trio of Filet Medallions with Palazzo Della Torre wine from Allegrini

Artisan Pizzas are made by hand and served with a variety of toppings. The pizzas are perfect for a shared starter or for the main event. They are truly outstanding and, prepared in the brick, among the best in the area.

The freshly made Artisanal pizza dough is hand rolled and trimmed

The restaurant features a spot-on Tiramisu for dessert that is as close to the original that I had in Treviso. I was too full from the main courses and opted instead for just a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream to cleanse the palate. That just calls for a return visit! For reservations and information, visit

The spotless, bustiling stainless steel kitchen at Rosebud Naperville

Rosebud Naperville:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


By Dwight Casimere

Marina Cvetic Montepulciano D'Abruzzo FOC San Martino Rosso ($29.99) is a rich robust wine that is perfect for the foods that go with the kind of brisk weather we've been having in advance of spring. Hearty soups and stews, roasted meats, game birds and thick porterhouse or bone in strips quick cooked in the oven on hi broiler temperature with a mushroom sauce bolstered with a splash of the wine are the order of the day. Try a side of riagtoni pasta and broccoli rabe sauteed in garlic and olive oil to complete the culinary portrait. The wine is harvested in mid-October for optimum fruit and then fermented in stainless steel under cool temperatures to retain the rich fruit flavors. The wine is then aged in a new oak barrels for 12-18 months to give it roundness and character and all of those underlying flavors of chocolate, baking spice and vanilla that we love in a red wine. The introductory notes of fresh cut red roses and flavors of ripe red cherries and blackberries persist throughout the bottle with
aromas of dried flowers adding to the flavor potpourri. This is a great wine for a hearty Italian meal. Sunday Italian meatballs with oregano and garlic laced red marzano tomato  'gravy' over ribbons of hand cut pasta with a side of spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil and a few red pepper flakes and garlic bread dusted with grated parmesan would be in order for a simple but hearty meal this weekend. San Marzano tomatoes are readily available canned in the supermarket. They have a richer, sweeter taste than most tomatoes, without the bitterness and saltiness of most tomatoes on the market. This dish will go perfectly  with the wine.

Filet of Beef Medallions with Bernaise, Mushroom and Parmesan sauces

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Story and photos by Dwight Casimere

Dwight Casimere with Michael Foley of
Marco Sabellico-Sr. Editor Gambero Rosso

For nearly three decades. the Italian Food, Wine and Lifestyle media giant, Gambero Rosso International (the Red Shrimp), has honored the best in Italian wine with its Tre Bicchieri (three glasses) award. Since its launching in 1988 along with the first ever Gambero Rosso Guide to Italian Wines, Vin d' Italia, the honoring has expanded to include a world tour, which began in Chicago at the beautiful Bridgeport Arts Center, with its panoramic views of the Chicago skyline, and continues on to New York's Metropolitan Pavilion and on to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The tour expands internationally to Canada, Dusseldorf, China and, for the first time, Moscow. The tour not only is a showcase for the greatest wines produced in all regions of Italy, it is also a recognition of the growing prominence of Italian wine in the international market place. In many major cities around the glove, Italian wines are selling right along pace with French wine, and, in the United States, have found inroads into a new generation of young, adventurous wine drinkers who are embracing new varietals based on rediscovered indigenous types of grapes.
Among the favorites at this embarrassment of riches was Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico 2012 ($21.99) and Basilicata Il Preliminare 2015 from Cantine Del Nataio sparkling wine ($21.99).
 Tre Bicchieri is not only a celebration of great wine, but a sign of the rejuvenation of a zest for life and all the many pleasures it enfolds.

 Rashell Sisley of Santa MargherLamole di Lamole  with Chianti Classico
 Maria Elisabetta Fagiuoli with her Montenidoli white wine blend
 Marco De Bartoli with his Baglio Di Planetto

Some faces in the tasting crowd, including our good friend Daoud (below)

Monday, January 30, 2017


by Dwight Casimere

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Instead of going with the traditional sparkling wine or Champagne idea, why not try something different? German Riesling is a terrific dry, food friendly wine that undeservedly  gets overlooked. Most people think of Riesling incorrectly as a "sweet" wine. True Riesling is anything but that. True, it has an abundance of bright fruit flavor, green apples, citrus and hints of white flowers and a bite of tangerine or mandarin orange, but never cloyingly sweet, as some pretenders tend to be. Most people are also unaware that Germany produces some terrific dry red wines, particularly Pinot Noir, that have lovely flavor notes and aromas of crushed red roses, ripe raspberry and blueberry flavors and a hint of pepper, that make them ideal with a Valentine's meal of Surf 'N Turf or Roast Orange Duckling. The Dr. Loosen 2014 Wesem Pinot Noir from the Rheinhessen-$23 is perfect for Valentine's Day. It can take you right through the meal to a sumptuous decadent dessert, or a pairing with dark chocolates or traditional chocolate covered strawberries. Another great Valentine's Day wine is 2014 Dr. Loosen 

"Red Slate" Dry Riesling from the Mosel-$18. This is another great flavor pairing with traditional Valentine's Day delicacies; Shrimp Scampi, Lobster Thermidor or Veal Picante. Try this Riesling with assorted Valentine's Day candies, particularly the heart-shaped fruit-flavored lollipops that are so popular. You may want to save a little on the side to savor after Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


by Dwight Cashmere

This is a lush, full-flavored Chardonnay from Sonoma's famed Russian River Valley. Dry Creek pulled out all the stops to create this 'runway model' of a Chardonnay. Harvested under ideal weather conditions in mid-September, the wine was pressed from whole clusters and then barrel fermented, with 50% of the juice undergoing malolactic fermentation. Aging ion French Oak brought forth a delightfully flavorful well-balanced wine with lush flavors of ripe tropical fruits; ripe honeydew melons, Meyer lemons, mandarin orange and ripe tangerine with hints of toasted almonds, cinnamon stick and a slight after taste of salted caramel. A hint of white flowers and crushed chamomille and sliced Golden Delicious Apples greets the nose just as the flavors begin to cascade down the palate. This is a terrific lunchtime wine to be enjoyed with salads, roasted free-range chicken with sage or tarragon, garlic and white pepper, then drenched in the wine for slow oven-poaching. Throw in some fresh multi-colored carrots, some tiny golden yukon fingerling potatoes and some fresh garden peas and you have a one-pot dish that will make this golden colored beauty shine. Serve a freshly baked apple/caramel crisp sprinkled with crushed almonds and a dash of creme fraiche or freshly whipped cream and you have the perfect ending to a perfect meal. Save a bit of the wine to savor alone afterward, because, with its hearty, well balanced structure and beautiful 'legs', this beauty will just start opening up at meal's end to reveal even more astonishing taste treats. Be sure to buy two, because you just may want an encore performance at the following evening's meal. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


White Bordeaux blend dazzles with finesse and complexity at under $20

by Dwight Casimere

Year in and year out, France enjoys its reputation as the finest maker of wines in the world. Also, this year, as in all others, Bordeaux remains its most prized region. The common myth is that the wines of this coveted region are priced out of the realm of reality for most of we mere economic mortals. The truth is just the opposite, there are a number of wines from Bordeaux, known as 'petite' Bordeauxs that offer the same care in winemaking and an abundant amount of complexity and flavor as their more expensive counterparts. Fortunately, they are readily available for your discovery in the New Year. A case in point is the versatile, highly flavorful and affordable Chateau Timberlay White Bordeaux 2013, a lively blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Bordeaux that is crisp, dry and delicate with flavors citrus fruit, such as Asian Pear, Meyer Lemon and a hint of tangerine and lovely floral notes. It has a lovely finish that literally  dances on tongue. If you're resolving to head to the lighter side of cuisine in the new year, this is excellent wine to have to tag along as  you explore less calorie laden fare.  Salads, seafood and dishes emphasizing fresh fruits and vegetables are perfect accompaniments. Spices and herbs  are a great way to amp up the flavor quotient in meals to excite your palate and make you less likely to crave salt and salt, the two worst enemies of weight loss. Consider Chateau Timberlay Bordeaux Blanc your flavor companion as you 'battle the bulge' in the New Year!

Saturday, December 10, 2016



Story and Photo Gallery by Dwight Casimere

Dwight Casimere with Violet Grgich at David Burkes Kitchen Treehouse bar and terrace in SoHo

NEW YORK--Violet Grgich, proprietor of Grgich Hills Estate of Napa Valley and daughter of winemaking legend Mike Grgich, is recounting the colorful life and career of her history-making father as no one else can in the chic Treehouse bar and dining room at David Burke's Kitchen at the James Hotel in SoHo.  What, for her father, began as a journey, fleeing the Nazis from a tiny village in his native Croatia, to creating a wine that won the 1976 Paris Tasting, founding a world-famous winery in the Napa Valley, which is now in its 40th anniversary year, to having that championship wine enshrined in the Smithsonian Institute as one of 101 Objects That Made America, is a story she never tires of telling.

Violet Grgich and her 2014 Napa Valley Chardonnay, her father, Mike Grgich, is known as "The King of Chardonnay"

"When my father was growing up in the tiny village of Desne in Croatia, " Violet Grgich began, "he never imagined that the wine he crafted would appear in the same museum as the Declaration of Independence or that he would have a winery in one of the premier wine growing regions of the world. His achievements far exceeded even his own American Dream. In every way, my father's journey is inspiring and empowering, " she said movingly.

Grgich kept her comments brief and to the point because her main objective was to have the assembled 20 or so invited wine journalists and special guests dive into a wine pairing luncheon choreographed by David Burke's stellar culinary staff. The opening salvo was, of course, Grgich Hills 2014 Fume' Blanc, the wine which Mike Grgich originally created for winemaking icon Robert Mondavi. The wine popularized Napa Valley wine in a way that it had never been before. Paired with a Root Vegetable Salad composed of fennel, smoke and white truffle, the wine's characteristic smoky flavor and full-mouthed texture and flavors of juicy tropical fruit and lemongrass was enhanced by 6 months on the lees in neutral barrels and aging in a combination of neutral casks and large oak barrels, which gives the wine smoothness and roundness of character.

Composed salad of root vegetables, fennel, smoke and white truffle was paired with Grgich Hills 2014 Napa Valley Fume Blanc

The centerpiece of the afternoon was, of course, the 40th Anniversary 2014 Napa Valley Chardonnay, accompanied by a Za'Atar Spiced Cornish Hen with roasted pork belly, spinach and yogurt, a Mediterranean spin on a lunchtime staple. The pairing emphasized the complex fruit flavors of ripe peach, backed by flavors of mango and tropical fruit, with a note of minerality. A pleasant natural acidity brought about by the fact that the wine is not allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation, and the grapes are farmed naturally and are certified organic. The fresh tastes and aromas linger long on the palate and brought out the sunny array of spices used in the dish.

Za'atar Spiced Cornish Hen with 2014 Grgich Hills Chardonnay, 40th Anniversary

House Made Rigatoni appeared next accompanied by Grgich Hill's robust 2012 Napa Valley Merlot.
With a red wine game ragout, duck egg, roasted mushrooms and parsley gremolata, this was an ideal flavor pairing. It mined the ripe plum and slightly earthy notes of the wine, with hints of black dirt and freshly unearthed truffles. For lovers of game meat, this was a rewarding taste excursion.

House Made Rigatoni with Duck Egg and Red Wine Game Ragout is paired with 2012 Merlot

2013 Violetta Late Harvest, named for the proprietor herself,  was every bit the classically-produced late harvest wine brought about by the "noble rot," Botrytis cinerea. The thick, rich juice from these shriveled berries that barely yield a drop of highly concentrated juice bring forth a wine rich in flavors and aromas of ripe pear, Mandarin orange and honeysuckle. The wine paired perfectly with the dessert of Mascarpone Mousse, with graham crumble, green apple sorbet and violetta honey reduction made from the wine.

 Grgich Hills 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is poured
The dessert of Mascarpone Mousse is paired with 2013 Violetta Late Harvest

There is  nothing more sublime than the melding of chocolate with a terrific red wine. In this case, Grgich Hills 2012 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, served as the dessert wine.

2012 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon and Dark Chocolate with Red Wine Ganache

 With its rich, full bodied flavors of black berries, licorice, and hints of allspice and juniper berries, this wine showed its pedigree as having been produced from some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the Napa Valley. Dark Chocolate accompanied by a red wine ganache and cocoa nibs, made for the perfect flavor combination and an ovation-worthy finale.

Photo Gallery/Dwight Casimere

Views of the Treehouse Bar and Terrace at David Burkes Kitchen in SoHo