An Outsider’s View of Chicago, Pt. 2: Captivating Comestibles–Pizza & Hot Dogs

Posted: August 11, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Our trip to Chicago would not have been complete without Chicago-style pizza and Chicago dogs.

Friday brought pizza. While there are apparently a multitude of specialists, we chose to eat at Pizzeria Uno, reputed to be the original home of Chicago-style deep dish pizza. I liked the buttery, flaky, pastry-type crust, a true pizza “pie,” unlike the yeast bread crust I’m used to. Most of my family prefer the bready style; I remain conflicted. Inside the crust, I was expecting a few toppings floating in a sea of mozzarella, and was pleasantly surprised with a decent amount of vegetables (I had the Spinoccoli) and a sparser share of cheese. It was a meal even my dairy-sensitive digestive system could manage. I was quite satisfied with my first exposure to Chicago’s pizza scene. As I mentioned, however, there are many pizzerias rumored to be must-visits, and Giordano’s is on the list for next time.

Our planned destination for hot dogs was the storied Hot Doug’s. It comes highly recommended by everyone from personal friends to Anthony Bourdain. We scheduled our visit for Friday so we could indulge in their Duck Fat Fries. We plotted our dogs ahead, intending to share: The Dog (of course), the Game of the Week (whatever it was…), and one of the other fascinating concoctions on the Specials menu. Sadly, the time demon caught us, and we placed Hot Doug’s on the catch-you-next-time list. While it wouldn’t be quite the same, we were going to the Sox game that night and were sure we would at least be able to get a Chicago dog there, if not buffalo or rattlesnake. Take note: Chicago-style hot dogs are not available at US Cellular Field. Or if they are, we were not able to locate that particular concessionaire. This was a great disappointment, but somehow our trip to the Windy City was complete and fulfilling even without the encased meat.

So that’s it. We did eat other food, obviously. We were in Chicago for a week. I did want to make one final comment about eating on vacation. If you want to eat well on a budget, you have to make choices. If you want to go to pricier restaurants, there are ways to save money on other meals (that free hotel breakfast, for instance) and places you can cut expenses. We live within a day’s drive of Chicago, so we took our car instead of a plane. The money we saved more than covered the price of our out-of-normal-budget meals. We walked when we could and took public transportation when we couldn’t, shaving a few more dollars off. We even opted out of some activities because we preferred to spend our time and money on amazing food. This won’t be our only trip to Chicago. Some of the activities we skipped will make up the memories of our next visit. And a couple of new and wonderful dining experiences will definitely be on the menu as well.

Other stops on the food tour:

I hope this whets your appetite for your own visit. And if you are from the city or have visited, please share your favorite restaurants and dining experiences. I’d love to hear from you.

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