Chicago Eats

While we were in Oak Park for a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright homes, we stopped by the local Giordano’s for deep dish or actually a variation of deep dish– the stuffed pizza.

I’ve been to Chicago exactly once before and everything I’ve heard made me NOT want deep dish. Mainly how you had to eat it with a fork and knife. Pizza is for a-grabbin’, foldin’ and shovin’ in yo’ mouth, fool. Not dainty cutting and forking, right? Well, if you’ve never had real Chicago deep dish, you know it’s not dainty.

Once I had my first bite, things flew out the window and here I am today, craving deep dish and laughing at what passes as such in L.A. I knew I was going to get some when I was in Chi-town but where?

Giordano's sausage stuffed pizza

Giordano’s wouldn’t have been my first pick but they were very accommodating. We put in our order for a small stuffed pie with sausage and wandered around for 45 minutes while it was baking. When we got back, they sent forth their beautiful pizza.

I kind of missed deep dish, where the entire sausage patty would be on top. But stuffed pizza has its merits. More cheese!

Six years ago, I asked for a salad to go with my pizza. Two weeks ago, I eschewed it for another slice.

Giordano’s

1115 Chicago Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302-1803
(708) 386-2223

Portillo's Chicago-style hot dog

While I’ve waited and waited for my deep dish, I have had many hot dogs in the last six years. Okay, not that many. But a few and more than a handful proclaiming to be “Chicago-style.” For those who don’t know, it’s an all beef kosher hot dog in a poppy-seed bun with sports peppers, tomato, onions, neon-green relish, celery salt and mustard. There is absolutely no ketchup which is great as I despise ketchup.

When you first get to Chicago and people tell you to go to Portillo’s, don’t go. You don’t want that “dragged through a garden” hot dog. Okay, fine, you must have one. And Portillo’s is fine. My memory has built it up to be greater than it was the first time I ever had it. And all those hot dogs I’ve had since? Well, L.A. serves up some tasty hot dogs and some better “Chicago-style” hot dogs than Portillo’s. I think it has to do with the fact the buns aren’t so mushy after being wrapped up in paper  (why did they do that when we were eating it at the restaurant?!).

As a side note- Portillo’s doesn’t have a Chicago-style hot dog on the menu. It’s their regular beef hot dog and you tell them you want everything.

When I have more time the next time I go to Chicago, I may have to do a crawl to find a better version.

Portillo's Italian Beef

The one Chicago food I didn’t get to have on my first trip was the Italian beef. I’ve dated a number of boys from Chicago (perhaps far too many) and  more than a few have mentioned this sandwich. I was looking forward to trying one on this trip. We ordered it at Portillo’s. I thought it was similar to a Philly cheesesteak. Well, more steamed. And perhaps a lot more beef but otherwise, it’s pretty tasty. I’m not sure I would normally order it though. Where are the veggies?

Oh, I’m so California.

On my next trip out to Chicago, I’m going to have to get a proper gyro.

Portillo’s

100 W. Ontario
Chicago IL 60654
312-587-8910