A few weeks ago I went to Cafe Lou Lou at the Loop for lunch. It had been a while since I’d been there and I’d temporarily forgotten how much I love their four cheese calzone. That memory plus this being Passover, the time when Jews don’t eat any leavened foods (no bread, no pizza, etc), leaves me compelled to write about a few of my leavening containing local favorite dishes.

Four Cheese Calzone at Cafe Lou Lou The inspiration for this post has a thick calzone dough that has the perfect chewy texture. Within the dough’s warm embrace you’ll find a combination of cheeses and marinara sauce that I can’t imagine anyone not loving.

Seitan Parmesan Panini at Ramsi’s Seitan is a friend indeed to vegetarians and this is probably my favorite way to eat it. From the Ramsi’s menu: “House made Seitan in roasted garlic bread crumbs, marinara and vegan mozzarella on Cuban bread.” I confess I get it with real mozzarella instead of vegan mozzarella and it’s a fantastic sandwich.

Empanadas at Havana Rumba Flaky dough containing a combination of cheese and vegetables with a lovely pimento cream dipping sauce. Or for the meat eaters they have a chicken version that I’ve heard is outstanding.

Breadsticks at Impellizzeri’s They come absolutely swimming in garlic butter and they are divine. Occasionally my father will mention these out of the blue longingly and he doesn’t even live in Louisville.

Banana Chocolate Chip Rum Cake at Sweet Surrender Last week at Let Them Tweet Cake the owner of Sweet Surrender didn’t even wait for me to order, she just said “your banana chocolate chip rum cake?” and I enthusiastically nodded in the affirmative.

Cinnamon Toast at Please & Thank You This may be the perfect breakfast food. Thick brioche with enough cinnamon, butter and sugar slathered on to make the bread barely visible underneath.

If you haven’t had all of these wonderful dishes you should make it your mission to try each of them over the next week.