Nonna Silvia’s Trattoria and Pizzeria in Chicago

As we exited the plane at O’Hare Airport, I felt a wave of heat and humidity wash over me, contrasting to our familiar Bay Area climate. “Welcome to summer in Chicago,” Marilyn called back with a smile. Although I’ve lived in hot climates before, my wife likes to remind me that Arizona is a dry heat and that I haven’t felt real heat until I’ve experienced it in combination with humidity.

Gathering our bags, we headed out to the curb and waited for Marilyn’s mom to arrive. After a cell phone call and a few minutes of honks, screeches, and exhaust, we were picked up and swept off to to lunch. Although it was only 10:30 am back home, we’d been up since 3:00 am and were already adjusted to our new time zone, hunger pangs and all.

On the corner of Talcott Road and Canfield Avenue, right on the dividing line between Chicago and suburban Park Ridge, is Nonna Silvia’s Trattoria and Pizzeria. We sat under a patio umbrella while enjoying lunch in the warm, but not yet hot, midday sun. Jetliners flew overhead, arriving at nearby O’Hare, engines roaring.

I ordered pollo con pesto, an open faced grilled chicken sandwich and a refreshing local ale called 5 Rabbit. The beer tasted of malt with a slightly hoppy finish and it replenished the water that had been extracted from my body during travel.

While drinking beer and waiting for my lunch to arrive, I reached for my sketchbook and drew Marilyn sitting next to me and then began another sketch of my lunch, starting with my beer and making sure to leave room on the page for a plate. When my sandwich arrived, I added it to my sketch but soon hunger won over and I set my sketchbook aside. Taking a picture of my meal for later reference, I then devoured my sandwich.

A rogue gust of wind came out of nowhere and blew over the patio umbrella next to us causing a stir, but thankfully there were no injuries. The wait staff asked if everyone was okay and secured the umbrella upright, this time leaving its canopy closed. Welcome to The Windy City.

4 thoughts on “Nonna Silvia’s Trattoria and Pizzeria in Chicago

  1. Great sketches! Your lunch looks great with all those subtle yellows. Thanks for showing the restatement lines in your drawing of your wife.It gives me encouragement for my own drawings. How did you get such great skin tones for your lovely wife?

  2. Thank you Cathy! Sometimes I work my sketches up in pencil more than others and this time I used ink, so I had to correct lines as I went. The skin tones are made out of a combination in my travel palette I mention here: . Mostly its a combo of:

    Permanent Rose
    Scarlet Lake Red (semi opaque)
    Windsor Orange
    Quinacridone Gold
    Windsor Yellow
    Green gold
    Manganese Blue Hue

    Hope this helps!

  3. thank you for taking the time to respond to my question while you are on vacation! I just want to tell you how much I appreciate you sketches and paintings. I look forward to your drawings and they are such an inspiration in my own “art journey”. thanks

  4. You’re welcome Cathy! I’m back now from Chicago. I find it difficult to get my work online when I’m on the road so I post when I get home. I’m so glad to hear my work is helping you with your own art journey. Happy sketching!

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