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Chowing down on the best Italian eats in town

I have been asked many times about what my favorite type of food is.

I grew up with a Polish mom and a part-French, part-Spanish dad, so you might think I'd like French, Spanish or Polish food. But while there are some dishes in those categories that I like, my ultimate favorite food is Italian.

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When I want Italian food, and that is fairly often, I go to any one of a number of places around town, so I thought I would share with you the Italian dishes I like from ROMG-area restaurants this week.

At J&P Pizza, at 4821 Butler Road in Glyndon, one of the dishes I really like is veal saltimbocca. Yes, I realize that it's not very politically correct to eat veal, but it is one of my rare treats. Some of my other J&P favorites include the strawberry spinach salad, the gnocchi sorrentino, and the design-your-own Italian meal, which gives you the option of 10 different varieties of pasta and eight sauces. To end the meal, I like the Italian lemon cake.

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When Mondo Pizza & Bar is on the day's itinerary, I like the Mondo's salad — minus the green peppers, of course. Mondo's Italian house dressing is the most amazing dressing I have ever had — I could literally sit there dipping bread or crackers in the dressing all day. The baked penne, with its red cream sauce and three-cheese topping, is so yummy. I also like the Tortellini Juliano, which is a very delicious dish of tortellini in red cream sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, prosciuto, gorgonzola and Parmesan cheese. Of course, at Mondo's, the pyramid cake is a spectacular end to any meal. Mondo's is at 31 Main St. in Reisterstown.

At Ristorante Firenze, at 2 Hanover Road in Reisterstown, I enjoy the Rigatoni a la Mama — the blend of prosciutto, peas and tomatoes in a cream sauce is amazing. Ristorante Firenze also has an awesome lasagna bolognese, which has wonderful layers of pasta, ground beef and a four-cheese blend. Then there is the pollo Oscar, which is asparagus and lump crab meat covered with an amazing cream sauce. To end the meal at Ristorante Firenze, I really like the chocolate mousse torte — it's a slice of heaven, in my opinion.

When I feel like dining in and delivery is on the menu, there are a number of delivery places I like to call.

I like the spaghetti and meatballs at Village Pizza, at 38 Main St. in Reisterstown. The meatballs taste like homemade; the sauce is rich but not acidic; and the pasta is cooked to just the perfect texture. I also really like the cheese garlic bread, which has just the right amount of butter and cheese and is toasted to a golden brown.

I like the chicken parmigiana at Genova's To Go, at 13022 Old Hanover Road in Reisterstown. The portion is large — the chicken is all-white meat in a light breading, cooked so it's tender and juicy, and served with a side of your choice of pasta. I am also a fan of the baked ziti in meat sauce — the portion is large and very tasty. To end a Genova's To Go meal, there is this awesome dessert called The Bomb, which is soft pastry dough with Nutella inside, baked to a wonderful, gooey deliciousness.

I like the baked rigatoni served at Garibaldi's Italian Pizza & Grill, at 10221 Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills. The shrimp alfredo is also amazing, and I hear the Chicken Garibaldi is wonderful, too. To end a Garibaldi's meal, I typically order a cannoli, made crunchy with a sweet, creamy center.

Terry Chaney is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at antter95@yahoo.com.

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