Chicago is known for foods other than pizza and we did our best to tackle them as well. Of course, the eponymous hot dog is right up there with deep dish pizza for famous Chicago foods. The Italian beef sandwich is a close third. Short on time, we hit two birds with one stone by trekking to Portillo’s – a local chain specializing in the authentic Chicago hot dog and the Italian beef sandwich.
We ordered both with a plan of splitting them. However, it became quickly apparent that we had our favorites. Jessica dug the dog and Joe Bob the Italian beef. While Joe Bob loved the dog itself and the steamed poppy seed bun, he’s just not a fan of the traditional tomato slice, pickle spear, and neon green relish. On the other hand, Jessica may have liked the Italian beef better if it hadn’t been double-dipped. It was just a little too sloppy and wet for her taste. And oh, did we mention the cake shake? When indulging this much in a weekend why not. It tasted as good as it sounds. How could chocolate cake blended with ice cream be otherwise?
For a mid-afternoon snack we stopped by the famed popcorn mecca, Garrett’s. Of course, we had to try it Chicago-style, which basically means an equal mix of caramel and cheese popcorn in the same bag. Jessica loved it; Joe Bob thought it was at least better than it sounded. He’s not a big fan of cheese popcorn. This explains the mysterious disappearance of all the caramel corn from the bag later on.
For dinner, we indulged in Chicago’s great staple of fine dining – the steak. Other than Joe Bob’s home state of Texas, Chicago likely has more steakhouses per capita than any other place on earth. Our hosts selected Chicago Cut, a classic and beautifully adorned glass box along the river. In true steakhouse fashion, we ordered the wedge salad, an expertly prepared NY strip, and several versions of potatoes, most notably the truffle scalloped variety. Just to throw in a little vegetable, we enjoyed carrot cake for dessert. It was a perfect evening of amazing food, exquisite atmosphere, and…what makes every meal…the company of good friends.
The last food item we couldn’t exactly eat. Chicago is such a food town, even their art looks like food! Check us out at “the bean.”