Almost one year ago, I took my first trip out to Chicago. It was an amazing trip, and I am writing about it to relive the experience. It was a fun city that I enjoyed with my fiancee very much, and I remember it most for its food.
I have to start off by settling the deep dish pizza debate. NYC brick oven and thin crust pizza are a little better, but it is great to pig out on deep dish once in a while. I decided to try out Lou Malnati’s from the recommendations of several friends. Their deep dish sausage pie was phenomenal. It had a flaky and buttery crust and was filled with endless sauce and cheese. The sauce was sweet and made from ripened tomatoes, while the cheese was top quality and not too gooey.
What set this pizza apart from anything I have ever tasted before was its sausage. I believe they use Vienna sausage, which was so lean and meaty. It did not have the typical grease that a sausage and pepper sandwich has. The combo of the meat baked within the pie was perfect. The pie was extremely tasty and filling.
I also tried my fiancee’s pepperoni pie, which was solid but not too much better than Pizzeria UNO. I don’t know what they put in that sausage, but I was sold on its greatness. I even had a pie delivered months later, and it actually tasted almost as good as it did in the restaurant. They truly preserve the original taste when they ship them out.
Another Chicago staple place that we went to was Portillo’s. They are known for their Chicago style hot dogs. They put their dogs on a poppy seed bun and add the works to it. The hot dog includes mustard, onions, hot peppers, tomatoes, and a pickle. Personally, I wasn’t too impressed because I am more a fan of deep fried chili dogs.
What I did love from Portillos though was their Italian beef. In Chicago, the Italian beef is a roast beef sandwich with peppers and a little bit of gravy on a roll. It was similar to eating a cheesesteak minus the cheese. It was very tasty and probably my favorite lunch food to order in Chicago. Portillo’s was a great touristy spot but surprisingly inexpensive.
The roast beef was so good that ended up deciding to get one at the Cubs game I went to. There was a sign on the scoreboard that if the Cubbies scored six or more runs then they give away a free sandwich at Buona Beef. I was so excited when a home run was hit in the 7th, so I ran over to the Buona beef stand. I got my sandwich and the lady rang me up. I told her that I was under the impression it was free. She laughed and told me that it was only meant for the actual restaurant of Buona Beef and not the stand. I felt like an idiot, but the lady reassured me that others have misunderstood before as well.
Besides cheap and fatty foods, I did go to a couple of really nice restaurants. My favorite one was The Girl and the Goat. It is actually Stephanie Izard’s place who is known for winning Top Chef. It was a very nice cozy spot with excellent cocktails and unique small plates. Everything I tasted was incredible.
Girl and the Goat was one of those hip New American cuisine type places where every sauce and ingredient had powerful tastes. I was happy with every dish, but my fiancee and I ended up ordering like five or six plates since they were small.
The dishes included Goat empanadas, Lamb flatbread, Softshell crab, and pierogies. Despite sounding exotic, these were more of the more normal items on the menu. They also had other items including gamier meats and different animal parts. See pics below:
I bet you are all hungry now after reading this. So what do you think: Deep Dish or Thin crust pizza?