First let me say that Chicago is a beautiful city. It is cleaner than New York. And by clean I mean less visible dirt and garbage, not less corrupt. Being a native New Yorker I have a few observations I would like to share, this is how I see Chicago.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Chicago? Well I bet that depends who you are and where you're from. The first thing I think about is pizza. The Chicago Deep Dish. Now this is a touchy subject between many people here in the Windy City. Why? There is debate on who invented it and what it should be called, deep dish, stuffed, pan. And of course, who has the best. Because in Chicago, everyone and I mean everyone I have met has a different answer to that question. No matter what their answer, everyone thinks that their restaurant is da best. In my pizza eating opinion, hands down, Pizzeria Uno's takes the pie. Yes a chain restaurant that you can find in practically any city or suburb across the United States.
Pizzeria Uno is the originator of this style of pizza. But of course this is Chicago and someone else has to stake claim. Enter the Pizzeria Uno cook, Rudy Malnati. The son's of Rudy opened their own restaurants and one of them was called Lou Malnati's. Apparently this is the “most famous, award winning pizza” in the Chicago-land area. People swear by this pizza, they have mail order catalogs and are on some of those TV shopping channels. Da Bears serve it to the opposing teams. I had to try this pizza.
A little over a year ago we were told by a neighbor that they would be opening a restaurant close to the house and was also told that you have to have the sausage pizza, it's the best. Now I can chow down on some pizza, it's my favorite food. So we hurry up and wait for this place to open. The day finally gets here and we order the famous sausage deep dish, we asked for the biggest one they had, we wanted to savor the greatness.
The pizza arrives, we open the box, a tremendous amount of gooey cheese, but no sausage. Well I don't know about you but when I ask for sausage, I expect to see sausage, be it sliced or crumbled up links. Maybe the sausage is underneath all this gooey cheese, that has to be the explanation. So I take a slice (that's my term, not a Chicago one), examine it like a New York Times Food Critic. But I still don't see the sausage. I smell the sausage, but it's nowhere to be found. Finally I find it, It was covered by tomato sauce and cheese, but I could not believe what I was seeing. The first thing I think is “what fucking judge awarded this THE best pizza, they really need their heads examined”. What we had on that pizza did not resemble any sausage that you would ever put on a pizza. Instead it resembled something you would put on an Egg McMuffin. Seriously, it was flat and as round as the pizza itself and enough garlic to make a Sicilian grandmother cry. Who wants to eat a sausage patty that's 18 inches round? Apparently da Bears opponents. Maybe if the Cubs would serve this to their opposition they would have won a World Series by now. But that's a whole other story.
Oh and the thin crust here is like putting sauce and cheese on a water cracker, baking it, then cutting it into squares, yes squares. I don't get the logic in cutting something round into squares. Would you cut a round cake or an apple pie into squares, probably not. So why would you cut your pizza in squares? The only answer I have is that it's The Chicago Way.
More to come........