Another day, another city... another gray city. But I don’t fear the gray, it plays nicely with fall’s colors, and be it Nantes, London or now Chicago, I feel strangely at home atwixt fall’s gray days.
But it is not the hue or the air that is my comfort, but the bustling city streets. The tired feet of a day well-walked. The full belly of hunger satisfied by real food, food that you’ve respectfully earned by moving about using your own two feet. I can’t say I like the early sunsets or the drizzle drizzle (though to date, no rain has affected my journeys). But there is no energy like the city.
Of course, not just any city will do. Last night over thick bites of Chicago’s eponymous “pizza” we talked urban aesthetics. First, however, we decided that Pizza so named bares no fair comparison with the “pizza” we enjoy at various Atlanta-side establishments. Our favorite Fellini’s slice is thin-crusted, lightly sauced, and delicious. The Chicago brand would be better-named “pie”. It arrives piping hot in a dish that more resembles a black, oven-burned pie plate. Its “deep-dish” unlike Pizza Hut could EVER dream of. So, from here forward, banish that allusion from your palate. This Chicago pie has a thick crusty bottom, then a layer of mozzarella, then your toppings of choice, all-topped with a (presumably) tasty house-made marinara with fresh tomato taste and just the right spices.
I know, I was on track to pen a treatise on urban aesthetic, but once again, I've been sidetracked by the thought of food, wonderful, local, food. So, I wont stop at describing the pie presentation, lest your mouth be watering without merit.
I will now do an (over-hyphenated) un-professional, pizza-pie taste-test round-up.
Pizzeria Due: You guessed it, the 2nd in a series of, er, two, Pizzeria’s in Chicago’s heart. Due came highly recommend by our gourmand friends D&C. My caveat to the Due assessment is that I was on the tail-end of a 24-hr stomach bug, and Jeff was on the front-end of worrying he may have it, too. So...we ordered safely and avoided the heavy sausage, meaty versions in favor of BBQ Chicken (excellent, but Jeff regrets this un-Chicago choice), and Vegetarian. The pizza arrived, just scooped from a mini-deepdish. My Veggie was edged with black char, but it didn’t taint the marvelousness of my first crumble taste of the crust. In fact, I rather liked the smoky essence of the dark edges. The sauce was fantastic and fresh-tasting. The vegetables tasted equally as fresh: onions, zucchini and more. Sadly, I could only eat about half my pie due to my nervous tummy, but boy did I enjoy it (and the 2nd half made a stupendous breakfast the next day.) Our server was very friendly; the staff was well-dressed in button-ups and ties. The host exemplified Midwest friendly: he reminded me of a guy one of my cousins would marry. So, our first Chicago pizza experience was top-drawer (despite the wait).
A few nights later, another Pizzeria…we just couldn’t shake the taste of those tasty pies from Due. Another call to D&C and a chat with the concierge put us en route to Gino’s East, a larger, more “pizzeria” type pizzeria (read: checkered table-cloths, brick walls, t-shirt donning servers, family-friendly). Our stomach’s fully recovered and ready for the “real deal” we ordered a Supreme (sausage, green peppers and onions). It was tasty. The same style as Due with crust, then cheese, then toppings, then sauce. The yellow-ey crust was not as good as Due, but the toppings, especially the sliced sausage, were mouth-wateringly tasty...
Unfinished. Jeff finished his meeting and I had to go meet him.