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Offline jeffereynelson

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Chicago Pizza Review
« on: April 15, 2012, 09:26:22 PM »
So I spent the last week Chicago for fun and decided to try a bunch of the different pizza options. I went with my sister who doesn't like Pizza so we booked the pizza tour so we could hit up a lot of places at once because I know she wouldn't be happy going for pizza every lunch and dinner.

Here are the deep dish options we had-

Pizzanos
Here we actually had a deep dish and the thin crust. Even though we typically of chicago pizza being deep dish, we were told deep dish is more of a tourist type pizza and Pizzanos sells their thin crust 3-1 over the deep. The deep dish was pretty good and the cheese they used on their pizzas was excellent, the rations just seemed really good and it was my favorite part. The curst however I didn't care for, it was more of a crackery crust and I personally prefer a more biscuit like texture. The sauce was good but nothing to write home about for me. The other pizza was the thin, this was the first time I had tried this style and it was really good. I'll have to try and make it at home.

Uno's
My least favorite of the deep dish pizzas. Sorry the picture is so bad, the place is quite dark. Everything here was just okay about the pizza except for the sauce which I didn't care for because it was super watery seeming and distracted me from the rest of the pizza. This wasn't on our tour, but we were heading back to the hotel one night pretty early around 10 and it was close by so I just got a personal to try. I thought since it's possibly the most famous deep dish pizza in the world I should at least try it since I was there. I don't think I'd go again.

Pequods
This place was my favorite for sure. Everything worked really well on this pizza and it was just delicious. If I am ever going to try and replicate a deep dish, this would be it. This pizza had the more biscuit like crust I like. they also do something very different with their crust, after the cover the bottom of the pan with the dough, they then place slices of mozz around the outside then pull the dough up over it. This creates a burnt goodness of cheese on the outside of the pizza. Another very unique thing about this pizza was the sauce, it was quite sweet compared to the other ones I tried, but I thought it really worked. I'm normally not a sweet sauce kind of guy I loved it. If anyone goes to Chicago and wants to try one place, I would recommend Pequods.

Pictures
1. Pizzanos Deep Dish
2. Pizzanos Thin Crust
3. Unos
4. Pequods


Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 09:44:13 PM »
Part 2

Here is the rest of the pizza we had outside of the deep dish.

Flo and Santos
I didn't remember to take any pictures here, but oh well. This pizza was not at all about the heart of pizza- dough, sauce, and cheese. It was all about the toppings. Even though they just covered their pizzas in toppings I still really liked some of the unique things they had to offer. The one pie I remember most had sauerkraut on it and it was actually very good. Bad part is that I think the pizza would have been just good as if the toppings were on a hotdog or some other medium. Everyone in our group liked this place best out of the different places we went besides me.

Apart
This experience was very unique for me because it was my favorite place, but probably least favorite pizza. They took us behind the counter and showed us the ovens, the dough, ingredients and we talked to their pizzialo. They asked if anyone wanted to make a pizza and obviously my hand shot up. I've never made a pizza except at home so it was really fun to get to make pizza in an establishment. We had a vegetarian on our tour so I just made the pizza for her to her choosing which is the one I am pictured with. The other one we had from apart was a chicken and sun dried tomato. The crust was not good at all on their pizzas. It was very crackery and had no flavor. I just think they needed salt or fermentation or something to help it out, but it was just missing something. It was the kind of pizza where I would eat the toppings and leave the crusts behind on my plate, where normally a crust can be absolute favorite part. I have heard the owner of this place is great (brianna??) but sadly she wasn't there.

Spacca
We made the trip out of the way to Spacca because neapolitan pizza is my definite favorite. I love to try it wherever I go and now I've been lucky enough to eat neo pizza in CA, UT, NV, TX, NY, and IL. I don't know if this was my absolute favorite but it was very good. The char on the bottom was a little bit more than I have had in other places, especially compared to the doneness n the top, but it was still good. I had the bufalina pizza and the buff mozz was very good and my experience was great. I hung out after they closed for a while and talked to the owner for a bit. he asked about my background and I told him I how had read good things about his place on pizza forums, and he said mentioned pete-zza by name and said he had remembered talking to him a few years back. Very nice guy. I would be a regular if I lived locally, place was very empty though when I went. From talking to him he is the only true neo place in the Chicago area, until his old partner opens her own location soon.

Pictures
1.Apart Outside
2. Me Making Pizza at Apart
3. My Pizza done from Apart
4. Apart chicken and sun dried tomato
5. Spacca ( I almost forgot to take the picture, hence the slice gone I gave to my sister)

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 09:57:50 PM »
Great trip report!

Next time you go to Chicago, explore the indigenous Chicago thin crust style some more.  It outsells deep dish by a wide margin and is worth a trip all by itself.  You could start a firestorm on this forum by asking for recommendations.  Vito and Nick's, Home Run Inn, and Aurelio's might be a good start.

Cheers!

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 09:59:30 PM »
Part 3

Just some miscellaneous stuff I thought I'd throw in in case anyone is in Chicago. I don't know if anyone will even read any of these posts, but at least I will have them for my reference and history.

Here is some other good food I really liked

Girl and the Goat
Probably one of the most popular places to eat in Chicago. Very good food, everything is small plates, more tapas style. We tried a bunch of different things but make sure you get their bread, and my favorite was the ceviche. The ceviche was a shrimp ceviche but very unique. The used pine nuts and for the "chips" they had an indian crepe type thing that I hadn't heard of or had before.

Avec
Very "trendy" place, more communal type seating. I just wanted to pitch their probably most popular item, their dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon. These were amazing. They just started sweet and then came in with an amazing spicy kick in the end. If you are in chicago just stop by and order these. If you are with someone else, make them order their own haha!

Hot Dougs
This is the second most reviewed place on yelp in chicago. The unique thing about this place is that even though they are very busy, doug is standing there taking your order and he is super nice to you. Those cheesesteak places in philly require you to know how to order perfectly, won't answer questions, and are just rude, but not Hot Dougs. I got the Foie Gras Dog per all the recommendations. I don't love regular hot dogs but this was awesome. For $10 he loads you up. We were lucky somehow and walked right in and order, then a line about 30 deep promptly formed before we even received our food.

Well that's it, that's all the parts. We did tons of other great stuff, and chicago is amazing, but I just wanted to focus on the pizza and include a bit of other food choices.

Pictures
1. Girl and the Goat (didn't have a ceviche pic)
2. Avec and the dates
3. My Foir Gras Dog

Offline David Deas

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 10:44:51 PM »
I used to be under the impression that everybody in Chicago basically ate deep dish.  Just like New Yorkers and their street slices.

Offline Garvey

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2012, 11:16:16 PM »
I'd be surprised if deep dish were greater than 5% of the market share.  No kidding.  Yes, people eat it.  But for many/most folks, it's an every-now-and-then thing.  For me, it was once or twice a year, especially if we had out-of-towners with us.  But thin crust was every single week, every party, every odd occasion, every spur of the moment pie, etc.  Hands down.

Deep dish is kinda like the what the French Quarter is to New Orleanians.

Of course, there are folks who eat deep dish more often or exclusively.  But I didn't personally grow up knowing anyone like that.  There are relatively few pizza joints that even attempt that style.  It's a shame, really, that more people don't know the reality behind the myth.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 11:19:02 PM by Garvey »

Offline David Deas

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2012, 11:24:34 PM »
Yup.  Chicago style pizza is rare even in Chicago.  

I have some friends in Chicago and they told me that when they want pizza, they do the same thing as everyone else around the country and order from some chain or regular shop.  I was pretty shocked.  Been there all their lives and never been to Malnati's.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2012, 12:15:35 AM »
Girl and the Goat
Probably one of the most popular places to eat in Chicago. Very good food, everything is small plates, more tapas style. We tried a bunch of different things but make sure you get their bread, and my favorite was the ceviche. The ceviche was a shrimp ceviche but very unique. The used pine nuts and for the "chips" they had an indian crepe type thing that I hadn't heard of or had before.

I thought Stephanie was pretty good on Top Chef. I'd like to get back to Chicago to try her place.

CL
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2012, 08:58:27 AM »
he asked about my background and I told him I how had read good things about his place on pizza forums, and he said mentioned pete-zza by name and said he had remembered talking to him a few years back.

Jeff,

That is a very nice trip report. However, I'd like to correct a statement. Jonathan at Spacca Napoli spoke with Peter Taylor, not with me. Peter and I spoke a couple of times about Spacca Napoli and what they were doing but he visited Spacca Napoli and met with Jonathan. Peter wrote about his visit at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3522.0.html.

Peter

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2012, 12:48:46 PM »
Jeff,

That is a very nice trip report. However, I'd like to correct a statement. Jonathan at Spacca Napoli spoke with Peter Taylor, not with me. Peter and I spoke a couple of times about Spacca Napoli and what they were doing but he visited Spacca Napoli and met with Jonathan. Peter wrote about his visit at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3522.0.html.

Peter

Strange, because he specifically said Pete-zaa. Maybe he's been on these forums too and somehow got your name in his head?


Offline pizzaboyfan

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2012, 01:11:12 PM »
Part 3Just some miscellaneous stuff I thought I'd throw in in case anyone is in Chicago. I don't know if anyone will even read any of these posts, but at least I will have them for my reference and history.

http://www.arunsthai.com/aruns.html

This one is perhaps my favorite restaurant ever.
It's a 12 course Thai meal, located deep in a Chicago neighborhood that is completely forgetful, except for this restaurant.
If you call Charlie Trotter's and can't get in, and ask where Charlie would eat..this is where they recommend.
It's listed in the 1,000 things to do before you die...and the answer to "Where would you eat if you only had one meal left"...
Each course is as beautifully crafted as it is delicious, and we ate every bite, leaving neither hungry or stuffed....it was perfect.

Offline jeff v

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2012, 12:51:26 AM »
Nice report Jeff! Glad you enjoyed the trip, and it looks like you ate well.

Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

Offline robert40

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2012, 09:47:57 PM »
Other then deep dish, I would recommend Great Lake for those visiting Chicago. Been then I may be biased! As I have logged in nearly ten thousand road and air miles just to visit Great Lake.

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2012, 01:08:51 PM »
Nice report Jeff! Glad you enjoyed the trip, and it looks like you ate well.



We definitely did. I wanted to do a nice chefs tasting, but my sister isn't really a foodie so I cancelled our reservation and we just went to the capital grill instead. I wish you could have made it out to Spacca with us. Sadly we couldn't really change our day because of some other commitments we had with a tour and a Cubs game.


Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2012, 01:10:24 PM »
http://www.arunsthai.com/aruns.html

This one is perhaps my favorite restaurant ever.
It's a 12 course Thai meal, located deep in a Chicago neighborhood that is completely forgetful, except for this restaurant.
If you call Charlie Trotter's and can't get in, and ask where Charlie would eat..this is where they recommend.
It's listed in the 1,000 things to do before you die...and the answer to "Where would you eat if you only had one meal left"...
Each course is as beautifully crafted as it is delicious, and we ate every bite, leaving neither hungry or stuffed....it was perfect.


I went and did some research on it and everyone said it has changed in last couple of years from amazing to just good. Have you eaten there in the last couple of years?

Offline pizzaboyfan

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2012, 01:24:19 PM »
I was last there in 2009, and a very good friend was there last week.
If by "research", you are relying on the local yelpers and such...oh, well.....

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2012, 01:57:32 PM »
I was last there in 2009, and a very good friend was there last week.
If by "research", you are relying on the local yelpers and such...oh, well.....


Ya yelp and a couple other reviews. That's why I was asking you to see if you knew anything about that.

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2012, 01:58:10 PM »
I'd be surprised if deep dish were greater than 5% of the market share.  No kidding.  Yes, people eat it.  But for many/most folks, it's an every-now-and-then thing.  For me, it was once or twice a year, especially if we had out-of-towners with us.  But thin crust was every single week, every party, every odd occasion, every spur of the moment pie, etc.  Hands down.

Deep dish is kinda like the what the French Quarter is to New Orleanians.

Of course, there are folks who eat deep dish more often or exclusively.  But I didn't personally grow up knowing anyone like that.  There are relatively few pizza joints that even attempt that style.  It's a shame, really, that more people don't know the reality behind the myth.

I think deep-dish pizza is more for the tourists.  Garvey is right in the sense that if you do a list of non-national chain pizza restaurants, you'll find more pizza restaurants do thin crust than deep-dish. I put such a list together a couple years ago just based on the Chicago Pizza Club blog's visits  http://www.chicagopizzaclub.com/) to see what kinds of pizza their reviews had included.  Most places serve both.  That having been said, I would wager the difference is more like 2:1 thin-to-deep dish in terms of sales, so roughly a third of the pizzas sold are probably deep-dish (or stuffed, e.g., Giordano's) and most of those are to out-of-towners.

-ME
Let them eat pizza.

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2012, 10:50:41 PM »
Ernie- Ya as I said in my post, they told us at Pizzanos that it is 3-1. And that is a place that is pretty famous for deep dish.

Offline David Deas

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Re: Chicago Pizza Review
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2012, 09:25:44 AM »
Deep dish is also expensive.  That might help explain some of the difference.


 

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