1. Market Research

buon'italia imported food grocery store
Credit: Photography by Margaret Sullivan

"If you're looking for great quality ingredients in New York City, Buon'Italia is my spot. Back in the day, it was a sell-right-out-of-the-distributor's-box kind of store. It's a lot fancier now, but I can still source stuff there that I can't get anyplace else—and at the best price there is."

2. John's Cocktail: The Pantheon

johns cocktail the pantheon
Credit: Photography by Kate Mathis

This awesome Aperol cocktail by my hubby, John, is perfect for our Italian issue.

3. Pie Town

pizza city, usa book by steve dolinsky
Credit: Courtesy of Northwestern University Press

"Award-winning food journalist Steve Dolinsky is extremely knowledgable about all things pizza, and in his new book, Pizza City, USA, he argues that Chicago has the best, most diverse pizza in the country. Spoiler alert: He also says that Chicago-style pizza isn't deep-dish. Surprise!"

4. Get Schooled

monteverdi tuscany culinary academy rachael ray
Credit: Photography by John Kernick

"The greatest experience you can have traveling is cooking with local ingredients, especially if you're lucky enough to pick up some new techniques from someone like chef Giancarla Bodoni at the Monteverdi Tuscany Culinary Academy near Sarteano, Italy. Keep a notebook handy for ingredients you want to seek out once you're home, and pack an extra bag to fill with stuff you can bring back and use."

5. Top Chef

ricotta gnocchi with broccoli, pesto, basil, and pistachios
Credit: Photography by Evan Sung

"Missy Robbins, featured on our cover last March—#LIKEABOSS—won the James Beard Award for Best Chef in New York City this year. We called it, America! Now make your pilgrimage to Brooklyn to experience the simple, spectacular Italian she's dishing out at Lilia. She's not messing around!"