Chicago pizza is deep-dish pizza. It was invented in 1943 at Pizzaria Uno. An authentic pizza starts with a thin layer of dough, laid in a deep, well-seasoned pizza pan and pulled up its sides. Then it is topped with an inch or two of mozarella cheese, the diner's choice of meat or vegetables, and a layer of seasoned crushed tomatoes. You can still find authentic Chicago pizza at Pizzeria Uno.
Deep-dish is different from stuffed pizza. This 1971 invention adds a thin layer of dough above the cheese and tomatoes, creating a somewhat firmer pie. You can find great stuffed pizza at Giordanos and Edwardos.
Be prepared. Chicago pizza is not fast food. It takes at least a half hour to 45 minutes to bake. Also, it is very filling. Two pieces are plenty for even the heartiest of eaters. Also, you need a fork and a knife to eat this type of pizza.
It seems that on every street you can find a hot dog or Italian beef stand. There are some 1,800 hot dog stands in Chicagoland, according to Vienna Beef. Most are run by independent entrepreneurs who own one or two stores.
The Chicago-style hot dog is unique. It's an all-beef, natural-casing frankfurter, steam cooked- never grilled-and topped with the following (known as the works): Yellow mustard, fluorescent green sweet pickle relish, chopped onions, tomatoes, kosher-style dill-pickle spears, two or three hot green sport peppers, a dash or celery salt and absolutely NO ketchup.
Most of the places that serve Chicago hot dogs also serve the Maxwell Street Polish. That is a kielbasa that's been scored and grilled and placed on a poppy seed bun.
Not sure where to eat on your upcoming trip to Chicago? Check out the numerous detailed restaurant tips of dining maven Dabs here on VT. Dabs is called the Queen of the Chicago Restaurant scene for a good reason. Here I am with Dabs at a October 2004 VT clambake held at an excellent local favorite, Paprikash, after enjoying a taste-full meal of Central European delights.
Very good I thought it was like a philly cheese steak but it is not.
thinly sliced beef
sweet green peppers
You can have it dipped in the juice or have it on the side.
The Chicago style hotdog is different from any other place I have been.
All-beef hot dogs-Vienne Beef
Yellow onions diced
Flourecent green sweet relish
dill pickle spear
poppy seed bun
Never use ketchup!!
I tried this stuff on my visit here it tastes like fried popcorn in a way, but it was very tasty. There was a long line to get the popcorn. I tried the cheese and caramel. They had (4) locations downtown. You must go it is a Chicago tradition.
A Chicago Style Hot Dog has everything on it and I believe it is not a Chicago dog unless it truly has everything on it. Everything includes:
Onions, sweet relish, dill pickle wedge, hot peppers, yellow mustard, tomato, celery salt. It must be on a poppy seed bun and the hot dog should be of the Vienna beef brand.
Don't be caught dead putting ketchup on your Chicago Style Hot Dog. It doesn't belong.
For about 55 years people in Chicago area have been enjoying Garrett Popcorn, Carmel Corn, and Cheese Corn. The popcorn is hot-air popped using no oils or fats. Many people, including myself, favor the Pecan Carmel Corn. It is to die for (and you might with all the calories)!
For 21 years the location at 670 North Michigan Avenue has been open. People literally line up (up to an hour at times) to purchase their favorite popcorn.
Today (June 16, 2004) I stood in line for half an hour relishing the thought of tasting the delicious Pecan Carmel Popcorn. When I finally made it up to the counter, it was all gone, so I had to settle for the delicious Carmel Corn.
If the workers were as sweet as the Carmel Corn, it would be a much better experience. Every time I have been there, the girls who wait on me and all the other people are rather rude. Today, the girl said in a gruff voice, "So, what do you want?" When I told her, she said, "Too bad, we're out. So, what do you want?" It's all in the tone of voice.
That's so discouraging to see all of the out of town guests being treated less than kindly.
It's a good thing that the product is so wonderful.
You can order on line. They have really "cool" tin canisters also. My favorite is the one with the Chicago Skyline on it.
When in Chicago, visit a Garrett Popcorn Store.
Chicago is famous for food, but having moved here after many years on the west coast, my wife and I both feel we've yet to find a good Asian restaurant of any stripe, not even in Chinatown! Depending on what his or her expectations might be, the asian food lover could be very disappointed here. If there is hope, it lies on chowhound.com. Generally speaking, your typical Chicagoan doesn't really know good Asian food from bad, so going on recommendations has been disappointing. Fortunately, the E European, Italian, Greek, Latin-American and other cuisines are for the most part excellent.
*update* We've managed to find some places that are passable. If you would like, I will share the names.
Chicagoans don't usually eat a lot of ketchup, at least not compared to other parts of the country. When I try to think of what we eat ketchup on, mostly I come up with hamburgers, and some people like it on french fries, but for the most part, you won't be seeing it served with eggs, sausages, or any of the other things folks in the rest of the country eat it on. This isn't 100% true, but its true enough to be a stereotype I've encountered outside Chicago.
Be aware that in Chicago, if someone mentions fast food, they might not be talking about one of the famous chains. We have our own homegrown, almost chain free version of fast food. And pizza is NOT fast food here. Most places will specialize in one or two of the following foods, and serve the rest. Italian Beef, Gyros, Polish Sausage, Italian Sausage, Hot Dogs, Meatball Sandwiches, and a few other things. Generally speaking, its large, affordable (under $4), and tastes good, though the outside decor of some places will sometimes look so run down you'll want to cry.