Everything’s Local.

It’s a local shop for local people. There’s nothing for you here! Source: Tellyspotting

A friend of mine who’s from Chicago is really annoyed by a recent story about the best Chicago-style pizza—the deep dish stuff—being found in California. There are a few things to keep in mind here. The first is the ranking came from Yelp so there’s not exactly a lot of control. Another thing is that taste, especially in food, is really subjective and there are a lot of factors that influence it, including price, which is why you can pour cheap wine in an expensive bottle and wine snobs will love it. Also the best Chicago deep dish pizza I’ve ever had, which was the first time I had it, was in Chicago. A lot of things that had nothing to do with the pizza itself made it great: I was with good friends, we’d had a fun evening, and it was nine o’clock at night and we hadn’t eaten since a little before noon. I also mentioned that I’d never tried deep dish pizza and that’s all it took for us to decide we wanted some. We wandered down the street from our hotel and asked a nice cop where to go and she directed us to a place just one block over. It was a nice place with checkerboard floors and friendly staff.

There was also something special about having Chicago-style pizza in Chicago.

I get it: Chicagoans, like people in a lot of other places, take pride in things that make their city distinctive and when somewhere else lays claim to those things it can be annoying. It bugged me when KFC started selling “Nashville hot chicken”. I felt like something special that originated in Nashville, something people purposely go to when they come here, was being ruined by mass-production. It was losing its authenticity.

What’s authentic, though? I get defensive about Nashville hot chicken but I also love the fact that I don’t have to go more than a few miles to find restaurants that are Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai. I can get “certified” Neapolitan pizza, made with ingredients imported from Naples and baked in a special oven that’s been approved by a committee of Italian chefs. Across the street from the pizza place I can get sushi. Could I get similar sushi in Tokyo? Maybe, depending on where I went, but having it in Tokyo would feel different. Maybe it would even be better—or at least it would seem that way, even if it were made with the same ingredients.

In fact there’s a place just a few blocks from me where I can get an authentic Chicago-style hot dog. I could really go for one of those right now.

Would someone please pass the ketchup?  

Source: Yarn

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  1. mydangblog

    Don’t ever tell anyone this but I’ve had pizza in Italy and pizza in Canada, and the pizza here is better. Also, pizza in the UK is bizarre—they have breakfast pizza which is covered in chopped up hard boiled eggs—yuck!
    mydangblog recently posted…Don’t Blink Or You’ll Miss ItMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Somehow I missed the hard boiled egg breakfast pizza when I was in the UK, and I consider myself lucky. And luckier to have discovered Scotch eggs while I was there, but that’s another story. Also just a word of warning if you’re ever in Chicago and craving a hot dog: do not ask for ketchup. This is one area where my easygoing Chicago friends are surprisingly touchy.


    Food for thought, Chris, and very delicious.

    Ann in Beantown

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I appreciate the reminder that I could really go for some Boston creme pie right now, since I don’t have the pleasure of being in Boston at the moment.


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