Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Deep Dish Debacle in the Windy City

Gino's East Pizzeria
8725 West Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631-2716
(773) 444-2244

Beer Selection: Moderate
Food: Deep Dish Chicago Style Pizza
Red Sox vs. Yankees
Apple Pie vs. Cherry Pie

Coke vs. Pepsi
Newt Gingrich vs. Conservatism
Democrat vs. Republican
It seems there is no end to the rivalries we are continually faced with on a daily basis... without a doubt one of the most debated food rivalries that seems to never be settled is... Chicago Style Pizza vs. New York Style Pizza.

As I landed in the chaos that is Chicago O'Hare Airport I jumped in my hotel shuttle and was immediately thrust straight into the heart of the city that festers with the likes of people like Barry Sutaro, William Ayers, and the infamous 2nd Amendment-mutilating Mayor Daly.

As my stomach started to rumble I reluctantly decided to venture out into the city known for it's mob bosses and union militancy with one goal in mind...
...Decide once and for all who deserves the title of "Americas Best Pizza"

The epic task of deciding which style of pizza was truly the best was not a assignment that I took lightly. And if I was going to be truly objective, I needed to experience “Chicago Style Pizza” in its purest form. Upon questioning Chicagoans where I might find the quintessential representation of their storied pie, I found out very quickly that not only do they unanimously agree to strip every basic liberty from the American citizenry, but they also agree that there is only one place that represents Chicago Style Pizza at its best… Gino’s East Pizzeria.
Apparently the Gino's East story began in 1966 when two taxi drivers and a friend, frustrated with rush hour traffic, decided to open a pizzeria just off Michigan Ave. and Superior St. in Chicago.
That decided it. I plugged the coordinates for Gino’s East into my GPS and set off to decide for myself.
Upon arriving, I was surprised to find that every single employee of this fabled Italian eatery was of Hispanic decent. Not a good start. I was again disappointed when I realized that every TV in the joint was tuned to the Phillies vs. Cardinals baseball game, and I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Was I not in the land of Cubbies and Black Sox?
Did they not know that the Houston Astros were at Wrigley field this evening? The blatant disregard for their local teams was stomach turning.
I had a glimmer of hope as I passed a patron singing along with the jukebox to Hank Williams Jr.’s “if the south would have won” while drinking a microbrew straight from a pitcher. But my elation only lasted moment as I approached the bar to order a pint of their finest micro brew and the bartender, Jose, asked me what I would like in barely discernible broken English. Given the circumstance I quickly decided to skip my normal ritual of asking the bartender for his recommendation and ordered what looked to be a local brew -- Honkers Ale.
The tap handle was a goose head buried in a sea of domestic rot guts and seemed like the clear choice.
Upon taking my first sip I was pleasantly surprised by my selection. It was the perfect blend of hops and barely and went down easier than water off a gooses back.
The propaganda on the wall left me little choice in my quest, the Gino’s signage proudly declared that the Meaty Legend deep dish was the best representation of their storied pie.
I pounded what remained of my beer and proceeded to order the Meaty Legend deep dish.
Upon its arrival I was taken aback by the sheer size of this behemoth in a pizza pan. The server quickly cut me a slice of this piping hot creation and slapped it on my plate. The huge chunks of bacon, sausage, ham and pepperoni where clouded in a haze of steam and molded in a thick gel of melted mozzarella and tomato sauce. .. things were looking up.
The first bite dropped into my stomach like a lead weight. It was too much. The overwhelming amount of sauce was fighting with the sheer volume of slaughtered pig for taste dominance. The cheese was barely discernible in the sea of sauce and the crust reminded me of week old stale corn bread. Disappointment was the only emotion I could muster. I methodically choked down the remaining pieces and decided without a doubt there is no contest; Chicago Style Pizza couldn't hold a candle to its New York counterpart.
Nausea began to set in as I stared at the remaining pieces, so I ordered another beer and asked the server to get the pie out of my sight. As I finished up, I struggled to understand why Chicagoans were so devoutly addicted to this gluttonous creation.
This was no pizza pie. At best, it was a poorly constructed meat lasagna slathered on a cardboard representation of "crust."
As I left the building I longed for a six-inch wide piece of New York pizza folded in half, dripping with grease and coated in Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes served by a rude and obnoxious self entitled New Yorker dropping the F-bomb as an adjective.
Sorry Chi-town, I hope your hot dog lives up to its reputation We will soon find out.
Rating: Would wear the shirt if it were free (you'll need to decide for yourself)

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