After a whole day subsisting on only popcorns and iced latte, I was famished. It was time to eat. It was time to eat something that is very Chicago’ish.
So … what are the food that is very Chicago’ish? Well, Chicago is the home of:
- Chicago Style Hot Dog
- Deep Dish Pizza
- Italian Beef sandwich
- The Jibarito
I had this first official meal in Chicago all planned out. I would be going to have the Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza. And I was not going to just any restaurant that has this. I had to go the very restaurant who claim to have invented it.
The above is Pizzeria Uno and it is located on Ohio and Wabash. It was not too far from where I got off from the River Cruise. Finding it is easy … finding any address is easy in Chicago because the streets are all laid out in perfect N-S E-W grid.
The Pizzeria Uno was not very big but it sure was popular. I had to wait almost 30 minutes for a table even though it was after 2PM by the time I got there. It seems like waiting for a table is so common that they have a waiting room.
Because pizzas takes time to prepare, they take your orders at the same time they take your name. After that it is just waiting till they call your name.
The deep dish pizza was invented while the world was waging war against one another in World War II. Since then it had grown to be a chain restaurant with over 170 restaurants all over the world.
However this original Pizzeria Uno remained true to its roots. With tiled floors and wood panel walls, it looked every bit an old time pizzeria.
There were no fancy tables or big logos emblazoned all over the place. Things do look the way it is meant to look … even the dented shakers and the rusted tray it sits on. I simply love the place.
I ordered Iced Tea which is mango flavoured. It had been a hot cloudless day. So this was just the right kind of refreshing drink I needed.
It did not take me long to decide what I wanted. I did not even bother with their fancier food.
My number one choice was the Numero Uno.
The pizza … did not take long to come since I already pre-ordered this while waiting.
Doesn’t it look like something you want to instantly tear into? Actually, I am not a huge fan of pizzas but this does look different.
As a matter of fact, even though there are many variations of pizzas in the world, the one that is most noticeably different and unique is the Chicago style pizza.
Before this was first made, pizzas used to be regarded as mere snacks. The deep dish pizza added in more meat and ingredient that makes it a hearty meal.
The crust is about 2 to 2.5 inches tall which acts like a bowl for the ingredients. The crust is thick and in it was filled with cheese and tomato.
This is something you eat with a knife and fork. You can’t really use your hands.
Taste-wise, it was OK by me. It wasn’t really something I would eat a lot of since after all I am not really a fan of pizza. I find it sourish … and I actually hate tomatoes.
But I gotta try it right? I cant conceivably return from Chicago and telling me I did not try Chicago’s very own deep dish pizza.
Do we have deep dish pizza in Vancouver, BC? Anyone knows? It would be nice if there is a place which serves this.
So with the pilgrimage made to the shrine of the deep dish pizza, I rushed to my next destination for the day. I got two more places I wanted to visit and I am running out of hours!
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wow! this pizza looks like a cake!
I swear I had this exact same business-became-personal trip to Chicago. 🙂
Except that in addition to Pizzeria Uno, I also tried Lou Malnati’s. (I had a more positive experience at the latter, over all, but everyone has their own deeply held favourite, and I am not religious about these things.)
But where I really wished I’d been traveling with a group of friends, rather than on my own, was on a field trip up north to TAC Quick Thai at 3930 N Sheridan (right near the “L”).
I’d heard that some Thai restaurants in Chicago have secondary Thai menus, sort of like many Chinese restaurants in Toronto and Vancouver do. (Although I find this more prevalent in Toronto.) This excited me because I often feel frustrated that almost all Thai restaurants in Canada choose to play it safe with 10-20 of the same most popular dishes.
On Arrival, I found the regular menu at TAC Quick was fairly standard (with the exception of a few alarming items like gyoza and egg rolls). I was worried I was in the wrong place.
But the Thai menu bore fruit. In spite of traveling on my own, I managed to try their “sâi kràwk isãan” (Isaan-style fermented pork sausage with ginger, cabbage and peanut accompaniment) and “krà-phrao kràwp khài yiaw mûa” (minced chicken and deep-fried holy basil over preserved eggs)
It helped that I had stumbled on this excellent resource translating their specialties for the sake of non-literate lovers of Thai food: http://www.sptsb.com/TACQuickThaiKitchen.htm
(Stemming from an awesome thread on translated menus on the local Chicago foodie site, lthforum.)
I am now eagerly awaiting the day that Thai food aimed at Thai people and/or Thai food adventurers arrives in Vancouver. 🙂
I really like Pizzeria Uno in Chicago but I think my favorite is Gino’s East for deep dish pizza. So, will you be sampling an Italian Beef Sandwich too? Oh, I miss my Chicago roots!!
Hi Heidi: Am not telling if I had Italian Beef sandwich or not. You gotta follow this series to find out. He he he … Ben
I’m salivating just thinking about it! ha! I have you in my google reader so I will definitely be following!
I think Maenam on w 4th is supposed to be more authentic Thai.
I looked in the Yellow Pages and there is a place called Chicago Deep Dish on Denman St. and another place on Fraser st.
But it seems Vancouver is dominated by the Italian style ones or the $1.00 slice places…
You hate acidic taste (sour)? And you dislike tomatoes? You can cross Italian and Mexican food out on your list. They put a lot of tomatoes and lime juice in Mexican food (salsa). But you can still enjoy Northern Italian cuisines. Tomato is virtually absent in most Northern Italian cuisines.