Chicago Tourist

10 Jul

When I was a teen, my father worked in Chicago and I would fly up and visit him on weekends and during the summer.  I have always been an adventurous eater and foodie so each visit my father would find a new exciting restaurant that I had never experienced.  It was my first experience with Sushi and Korean cuisine.  Returning to the city as an adult I knew it had limitless offerings!
We decided to be tourists for the day, which is something I usually stay away from. Being a tourist the right way can be beneficial to discovering what make a city notable. We asked our cab driver and several locals about what we HAD to experience while in the windy city. The answers were the same; Chicago Hot Dog, Deep Dish Pizza, and an Italian Beef. While Chicago has plenty of hot dog stands, we were told that there was only one clear option and it just so happened to have an amazing Italian Beef as well!
Portillo’s is set up very similar to a cafeteria setting with multiple food offerings all under 1 roof. Although overwhelmingly busy at first, the line moved quickly and efficiently. I ordered the Italian Beef at $5.19 with extra hot peppers, the Chicago Dog at $2.75 with extra peppers, and a chocolate cake shake at $3.19.
Now, granted we had walked two miles before finally arriving to Portillo’s, BUT the Italian Beef was AMAZING! The meat was perfectly marinated and juicy while the bread was softening from the au jus it had been dipped in. The hot peppers and pickled goodness was needed to finalize a perfect bite. This isn’t rocket science though. Plain and simple, it was just GREAT! Nothing fancy and not somewhere for a date night but taste and texture was spot on. Rated 9/10
The Chicago Dog, again, nothing fancy. Just good quality beef hot dog, warm steamed bun, and fresh ingredients. Tip: Do NOT ask to change anything on the hot dog or Italian Beef. There is a reason for the combinations they put on them. Well… you can add more hot peppers! ;) Rated: 8/10 The Cake Shake is not worth a mention. It wasn’t bad just not worth ordering again.
For the Deep Dish Pizza, I must apologize. I ate half of the pizza before I realized I hadn’t even taken a picture. This is what I call a “Foodie Problem”. We went to Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria and ordered “The Lou”, spinach mix, mushrooms and sliced roma tomatoes covered with three cheeses at $8.95. While the crust was cooked perfectly with the right amount of crunchiness and dough, I wasn’t impressed with the flavor. To be honest, it was rather bland. Again, it wasn;t bad but just not my style. I am more of the New York style pizza eater, lots of flavor packed onto a thin crust. Rated 6/10

All in all, our tourist day was a success! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Chicago Dog and Italian Beef at Portillo’s. I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way again for a Deep Dish pizza.
Portillo's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon
Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

One Response to “Chicago Tourist”

  1. Deb Bako July 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    I almost forgot about your windy city trip! Looks yummy, you have to love Chicago dog and deep dish too!

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