Monday, March 5, 2012

Pizza Pizza

All is quiet on the running front.  This is a good thing.  Just to summarize this past week, I ambitiously did two short tempo runs, and also got an 11-miler in yesterday which went swimmingly.  Experimenting with my new CEP compression sleeves, though no solid opinion on them just yet.  Anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new Brooks Glycerin 8 shoes.

Since it's a slow running-blog day, we'll tackle some tangents.  Let's talk about the foods that we crave post-run (or whenever).  I have both a sweet tooth and a salt tooth, but if you held my feet to the fire I would have to say my salt tooth is actually the more dominant between the two.  After runs I prefer to eat something salty - a big favorite post-run snack is toast slathered with hummus.  I actually wish that they would invent GU or Clif Shots or other energy gels in savory flavors, rather than all the candy-like flavors.  I probably wouldn't mind savory sports drinks, too, if done right (e.g. tomato juice-flavored, perhaps?)

On the topic of savory foods, probably the top food that I crave at ALL times is Chicago-style deep dish spinach and mushroom pizza.

I am sorry, New Yorkers, but I am not into the thin-crust pizza that you can fold in half where one person can finish an entire 36-inch diameter pizza by him or herself.  I believe pizza should be eaten with a knife and fork. 

Respect the pizza!

There is great debate amongst Chicagoans regarding which of the deep dish pizza places are the best.  I will add my opinion to the mix here.

My Personal Favorites (in no particular order)
  • Bacino's - They have "heart-healthy" pizza which does taste a lot less greasy than most places.  I first tried their pizza at the Taste of Chicago festival and am a huge fan.  I like my deep dish pizzas thick (actually, I like ALL of my food thick - no wimpy food from this cook) and their pizza is solid and densely thick.  Perfect tangyness, not too sweet, not too runny, great blend of ingredients.  Delicioso.
  • I have made many a trek here.
  • Lou Malnati's - That buttercrust is to die for.  They have a signature pizza named "The Lou" which I love.  But, admittedly, I don't go to Lou Malnati's very much because their pizza tastes way too decadent to be good for the waistline.  I really enjoyed watching the episode of Bobby Flay's Throwdown on the Food Network where Bobby Flay went up against Marc Malnati in deep dish pizza.  I thought they did a terrific job showcasing quintessential Chicago in that episode.

  • Gino's East - Incredible cornmeal crust, great blend of ingredients and flavors.  Gino's pioneered the crustless pizza which is instead made on a disk of sausage (this became popular during the low-carb fad diet days).  I've never tried the sausage "crust" pizza but those that have rave about it.  Gino's is famous for letting its customers write their names on the walls in their downtown locations.  I have participated in contributing my artistries to the graffiti and I do so every chance I get.  It's part of the experience.
Benefit: cost savings from not having to hire painters or wall-washers.

  • The Original Pizzeria Uno (the one at Ohio and Wabash in downtown Chicago, NOT the Uno franchises you see in the suburbs or outside of the Chicagoland area), considered the birthplace of deep dish pizza in 1943.  Great atmosphere, very thick and buttery crust.  The restaurant is small and gets so crowded that they'll take your order while you are waiting in line - but I think it's well worth it.  They started a second location called Pizzeria Due which is just up the street and serves the exact same menu, but is usually much less crowded.

The original Pizzeria Uno.  Very 1940s Chicago.
WARNING: Regardless of which deep dish pizza place you go to, be aware of your public safety when transporting a box of freshly baked deep dish pizza in public.  You WILL get mugged, especially in broad daylight when there are lots of crowds around.  There is some statistic that a large percentage of crimes occur within a close radius of your home.  Case in point, I've been nearly attacked by would-be pizza thieves and their dogs and toddlers several times in my building's elevator, just steps away from my front door. 

There is only one guaranteed and proven way to bypass the high risks of pizza transport thuggery - and that is to carry the deep dish pizza inside your stomach.

Other Pizza Thoughts
  • I'm generally an equal opportunity deep dish pizza eater - I will eat pretty much all deep dish pizza.  The one exception to this would be Pizano's, which I don't like very much.  I think it's too thin to be considered true deep dish, and I find it alarmingly greasy.
  • I've never tried Pequod's but I keep hearing about it, so it's on the list of places to check out as soon as possible (though I don't think they have deep dish, just pan pizza).
  • I've tried making deep dish pizza at home in an attempt to keep it as healthy as possible.  It's a lot more difficult than it looks, and it doesn't taste nearly as good.  Probably better to let the pros handle it.
  • There are a few companies that offer deep dish pizza tours in Chicago.  What a great concept!  Next time I have any friends come to town, I might cajole them into taking a deep dish pizza tour just so that I can experience the tour myself. 
  • Although, I guess you don't really need to join a tour to try different varieties of deep dish pizza within a concentrated timeframe.  You could apply the concept of bar-crawling and just hire an open-air trolley to do a Tuesday afternoon pizza-crawl.  Who's in?!?
Sadly, this was apparently a satirical story.  But Blackhawks
fans like yours truly will get a chuckle out of it. 
Here's the article.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore.


  1. Nice post Emily! you just made me hungry...

    1. Thanks so much, Justin! Writing the post and finding all the pictures made me pretty hungry, too! Probably not the best thing to do right before lunch or before going grocery shopping, no? =D Would love to hear your favorite pizza choices, too!

  2. I don't think I've ever had real deep dish pizza. (I'm assuming that Pizza Hut doesn't count.) I have to say that I do like thin crust, but again, I've yet to sample the deep dish variety. I guess I need to head north & give it a try!*

    1. Amy - definitely come to Chicago and try deep dish pizza as soon as you can! You won't be disappointed! =D

      You didn't mention Chicago as one of the vacation destinations you were evaluating, so maybe a deep dish pizza excursion could be a consideration sometime in the future!?! =)

  3. I have dreams of Lou Malnati's butter crust. So delicious!!!!

    1. Me too, thinking about Lou Malnati's butter crust just makes my tummy growl. It is SO GOOD! I shudder to think about what they must put into it to make it that good...!

  4. Thanks for leaving me this link! Now I have many places to choose from. :)

    1. Yay! I hope your mom's visit goes well! If you do end up going for deep dish pizza, please let me know where you decide to go and what you think of it!