Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gastronomy in the Windy City

Hello supper-clubbers,

I've decided to expand the blog to include all things eating, not exclusive to things we cook ourselves.  Example A, some of the eateries frequented this week during my trip to the College Art Association conference in Chicago (hey-o!).

Owing to the truncated nature of our economic fortunes as collegiate co-eds, we did not have the opportunity to eat anywhere truly revolutionary - but, on the advice of various locals, we had some pleasant surprises in the under-$15 range.

The first of these was Pizano's, one of many similar dives that self-identifies as Chicago's greatest and original deep-dish pizza.

The difference is that Pizano's actually is.  The stuff was like ambrosia.  We were beside ourselves.  At the insistence of our cantankerous server, Uncle Chach (who spoke to us for half an hour and looks forward to receiving his Chapman University sweatshirt in the mail), I have to explain to you that deep, stuffed, doughy and cheesy pizza is not the real Chicago legacy.  Pizano's serves the real stuff: deep-dish thin crust, with 100% homemade ingredients and crust like you wouldn't believe.  The crust!  Where to begin... it was crumbly, buttery, even sweet - you'd think it was pie crust.  Amazing.

The drink selection was substandard, but Fat Tire complemented the pizza pretty well and Chach offered us a free cookie-pizza and teas from his personal stash (Pizano's does not serve tea) to round out the evening.

The dark restaurant did not allow for photographs that would do Pizano's justice, but make a note of it nonetheless, because if you ever eat there, it will become the standard against which you measure pizza for the rest of your life.

Just down the street, on Randolph, is the Argo Tea Caf√©, where we went for lunch the next day.  We believe it's a chain, so keep your eyes peeled!  The ambiance is frankly lovely, with a huge tea brewing room in back.

Great tea, amazing food, and a huge variety.  Here are some samples:

My red pepper and goat cheese quiche.  As you can see, I didn't like it at all.  It was lighter than air - I never knew a quiche could be like that.  The filling was so whipped, so light - indescribable.

Earl Grey, naturally, although it was hard to settle on it when there were so many varieties to choose from.  I made the right choice - it was spicy, smooth, and extremely flavorful.

The above is - wait for it - the signature Argo teeny panini!!  It's worth ordering it just to say the name.  They're about 1 inch wide and 8 inches long, and served on tiny, thin baguettes.  A perfect tea snack.  I believe the above had red pepper and eggplant, and to the left is the spinach and pine nut quiche.

The only other restaurant worth mention is where we went to dinner our last night - Andy's, a jazz and blues club downtown.  It was incredibly fun, and the music was great, but the food was deeply mediocre.  However, it did occur to me how important atmosphere is to the entire eating experience.  I will always remember Andy's, even if their Chicken Saltimbuca was wholly uninspiring.



  1. Well shoot, I have photos and comments about one more restaurant that I totally spaced. Hmm. Maybe later this week.

  2. Em!
    Amazing. I am so happy that I get to see and hear about things you are doing like this :)
    No, I completely agree about the anything food related, and also think anyone should feel free to add anything food un-related if they deem it important. (Ex: good books, important life happenings, etc.)
    Laughed out loud (and startled Stewart) when I read Teeny Panini. Amazin!!