Friday, April 1, 2011

FL From Charlotte From Chicago Airports

Buffalo . . . Cleveland . . . Chicago. An interesting trail has been blazed, albeit during sub-arctic weather. Steve and I were glad to leave both Buffalo and Cleveland behind. These cities just seemed to be beaten. Other than the rush hour traffic Friday afternoon in Buffalo, we experienced no traffic, motor vehicle or pedestrian, whatsoever. I do not think that things would have been more interesting if we had visited during the Summer. The long drive through Indiana was a test, but eventually having three nights in Chicago was well worth it. Now, I am at home. I am exceedingly hungry. Normally, I eat one or two meals per day. On this trip I averaged at least two enormous meals per day, sometimes three. Writing a blog for a trip like this requires dedication, which is not always easy when one is on a road trip - the need to record and describe experiences while preparing for the next day's adventures often conflict with what the participants desire. I had an awesome time with my friend, Steve, munching and marching our way from Niagra Falls, all the way around Lake Erie, to the Chicago shores of Lake Michigan. Thanks for following and be sure to click "Older Posts" at the bottom of this web page to see the journey in its entirety.

If You Are in Chicago and Need Some Deep Dish:

Wanna See a Deep Dish Pizza? Here is a Deep Dish Pizza!

What's Next? It Cannot Be A Salad?!?

Steve and I wondered if we should have dep dish pizza for our third dinner meal while in Chicago. We had many options before us due to my genius-level research. I quickly consulted my resources, figured in the time of day, not to mention the temperature outside, and discovered "Pizano." I speculate if this is a mis-spelling of "paisano," the Italian word for cousin. Does it matter? Pizano's had the second best (out of three) deep dish pizzas. A crisp, buttery crust, a layer of sausage, too much mozzarella cheese, and then the tomato sauce - this might be difficult to mess up! Well, so it seems in the City of Big Shoulders.

Steve Ordered The Elvis

Steve also ordered a classic Chicago-style dog. If he could do it over, two Elvises would have been the meal. Steve said that was the best Polish sausage (kielbasa) he had ever tasted. Despite my love for family tradition, I cannot argue with Steve as Hot Doug (who was working the counter when we ordered) is a repeat national champion in competitions. Hot Doug's fries, cooked in duck fat on Fridays and Saturdays, were also excellent.

The Classic Chicago-Style Dog - Hot Doug's

The classic hot dog in Chicago consists of the following condiments: celery salt, pickle spear, carmelized onions, tomato slices, mustard, and neon-green relish. That's a lot for a simple bun encasing meat in a tuibe! I enjoyed it, but it in no way copmpared to my duck sausage roll!

The Foie Gras and Smoked Duck Sausage!!!

For the uninitiated, foie gras is the liver of a goose, artificially enlarged due to foreced over-feeding. This practice has been around at least since the Romans two thousand years ago. Foie gras is a supreme delicacy of any meat lover. I should not limit it to just meat lovers. There is the fifth flavor - unctuousness - that has joined sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. I love foie gras. On this sausage sandwich it was incredible. I really could not believe how delicious every bite of the foie gras and duck sausage sandwich was. Foie gras on a bun seems sacrigligious on a snooty foodie level, but that had no effect on the taste.

I Love the Individual Humor of a Visionary

Menu Signs and How to Order - Hot Doug's

Chicago Dogs at Hot Doug's

Hot Doug's is an institution. Not just a Chicago institution, a national institution. The name suggests hot dogs, which is to be expected, but this is a one-of-a-kind sausage shoppe! When in Chicago, you must go here, with an appetite and an imagination!

The Beaches of Chicago

I did not research this info, but I would not be surprised if Chicago has as much beach front as Stuart. It is somewhat disconcerting to have skyscrapers bordering upon a shore line, in this case a lake front. These are photos taken during "Winter." I wonder what the scene is like during the Summer, especially a heat wave. For the doubters, the water looked clean and swimmable, for the most part. I am sure I can be proven wrong. Whatever - big cities are cool enough, and Chi-Town has nice beaches, too.

These Photos Tell the Whole Story, Mrs. O'Leary

Xoco - a Rick Bayless restaurant

For individuals who closeley follow the food scene on TV and also the cookbook genre, the name Rick Bayless should not sound foreign. If it does, Mr. Bayless is America's most highly-acclaimed and highly-accomplished chef of Mexican cuisine. Xoco is an off-shoot of his signature restaurant, Frontera Grill (right next door). As a foodie, sampling Chef Bayless' mastery at Xoco was a highlight of this trip.

Xoco's Chorizo and Egg Torta (Sandwich)

Check out the scrambled egg, chorizo sausage, tomato-serrano sauce, and avocado sliced layered between a split and crisp torta. Different and delicious!

Xoco's Hot Chocolate

Oh My G-d! This hot chocolate is not the hot chocolate your mother makes! Steve and I asked for recommendations while ordering. He received the "Authentic" (shot of chocolate with water), while I the "Classic" (shot of chocolate with milk) These drinks are made from fresh roasted cacao beans ground on the premises. The chocolate taste was incredible. Suddenly, despite my hunger, I was no longer thinking about breakfast. I could have just sat there nursing that drink. The reward for venturing out into the cold at 9am for a breakfast that is a 20 minute walk away. The reward for roadtripping.

The Original Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due

Pizzeria Due's Deep Dish!

More Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Through my incomparable and excessive research, I discovered that the restaurant one block away, named Pizzeria Due, is a part of Chicago Deep Dish Pizza history. Two more blocks away from our hotel is the original Pizzeria Uno. Pizzeria Due was opened by the owners of the original Pizzeria Uno due to the overwhelming demand for their pizza creataion. That's right - the second Pizzeria Uno ever opened! Now you may think that this valuable foodie information figured into our decision to have deep dish pizza a second night in a row. But that it is not the truth. After a day spent walking throughout Chi-Town in near freezing temperatures, we opted for the nearest desirable dinner destination. While Pizzeria Due was the leasy satisfying of the three deep dish pizzas we tried while in Chicago, it was still very enjoyable.