To celebrate our birthdays, my great pal Matt and I met up in Chicago for a weekend of eating and drinking. Followed by more eating and drinking. And drinking. Then, eating. Ad infinitum. It's just how we roll.
Matt had just gone to Chicago in 2009, when he dined in the Holy House of Grant Achatz, so that was out of the question this time around. Sad for me. But Chicago is so much more than $200+ tasting menus, complete with foam and lavender pillows, so I was not too discouraged.
Let The Chicago Ten commence! I'll be writing about ten places we went to, ranked according to goodness. Let's start at the bottom with #10: Lou Malnati's Pizzeria.
Now, I'm not gonna spend too much time on this post because it was a downright depressing meal. It was our last night in town, and in hindsight, I'm not really sure what possessed us to go here. Maybe we were being punished by the gluttony gods for all we had stuffed down our throats in the previous two days. Yah, that's probably it.
We were looking for a deep-dish pizzeria near Bucktown. When in Chicago, you gotta do deep dish, right? After some rigorous research on the I N T E R N E T, we came up with this place Lou Malnati's. Slice actually recommended that we go to this other place in the area, which I totally rejected since it wasn't deep-dish. Lesson here: when it comes to pizza, you've really just gotta listen to the one and only Adam Kuban (founder of Slice, THE DEFINITIVE pizza blog) and crew, no matter what your preferences are. Period.
There are Lou's scattered all around town, but we went to the one in Lincoln Park. After waiting for a table for about ten minutes, we were escorted to the dining room. Right smack in the middle of the room, was this scene here:
A fucking COUCH, chairs and a flatscreen tv, in the middle of a RESTAURANT. Is this not AMAZING?? Have you ever seen such a thing? We were totally enthralled. It was seriously set up like a living room, it was so EFFING WEIRD.
Both of us swore we weren't that hungry. So you know what we did? We ordered two INDIVIDUAL pizzas. fail. Fail. FAIL! But how were we supposed to know what was coming? We got one sausage, and one "Lou", with spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes.
We were told the pizzas would take 45 minutes or something absurd like that. I was starting to understand the importance of the couch and tv setup. So I took my beer...
... and watched tv for a little bit.
Then the pizzas came out. Exactly like this:
Not in those steel pans, but taken out and placed on tiny little fucking white plates. I was horrified-- it literally looked like we ordered from the kids menu. At this moment I realized how important aesthetics are to me. This was just so depressing to look at! They could at least bring them out in the actual pans! What busters!
Matt's more of a deep dish pizza lover that I am, and he seemed to like it ok. But I was just traumatized by how pathetic they looked. It's so sad-- but it was our bad for cheaping out and getting the individual size, I guess. I've honestly blocked this experience out of my mind. Needless to say I was in a foul mood for the rest of the night.
Alright though, this doesn't look so bad. The sausage was just a huge flattened piece of sausage, caked over with thick tomato sauce.
The Chicago Slice dude calls Lou's "The Home of the Flawless Deep Dish", and it was recommended to me by another friend who grew up in Chicago. So maybe it's not so bad. I mean, we clearly fucked up on the ordering. I've usually got a killer instinct for ordering at restaurants, but once in a blue moon, I'll fuck up, I admit it! This was just one of those times.
But at least now we can say that we've been to a restaurant with a super comfortable leather couch in the middle of it.
958 West Wrightwood Avenue