I moved to Chicagoland recently. I’d always wanted to live up here, partly because it’s a big metro area, but mostly because it’s where my family, minus my generation, is from. I feel like I’ve been missing from this place my whole life.

The most notable part thus far has been the food. My first observation was that every other restaurant seemed to be or include a pancake house. Drive down these suburban streets: “Grandma Sally’s Family Restaurant and Pancake House,” “Quincy’s Restaurant and Pancake House,” “Gi Gi’s Restaurant and Pancake House,” “Pancake Café,” “Butterfield’s Pancake House,” “Egglectic Café,” Bob Evans (like IHOP, but better), IHOP (like Bob Evans, but worse), “Trixxxie’s Den of Sin and Pancake House” and so forth. Chicago loves its hotcakes.

My second observation was that there’s a lot of really, really good food up here that I’d never heard of, much less eaten. Capicola. Giardiniera. The Czech equivalent of lasagna (I couldn’t pronounce it because to do so would dislocate my tongue). All good. But all the proof one will ever need of God’s existence comes in pint-sized containers from Caputo’s or Butera and is called “Bocconcini.” Spelt with a capital “B” because it is from God. It’s like wet mozzarella that comes in little dollops or twists the size of your curled finger; except it’s so much better that I’m going to name my firstborn son after it. Sorry about that 600-year tradition, Dad.

My new favorite restaurant is Portillo’s Hot Dogs. I haven’t had any hot dogs there yet, but I’ve had their Italian roast beef sandwich. Wow. Especially with sweet peppers and mozzarella sprinkled on top. It’s far superior to any roast beef I’ve ever had. Must be all the ground-up non-union labor they feed to the cattle. It’s cheap, relative to what I’d pay for it, and they have locations throughout Chicagoland… but just in Chicagoland. I can’t figure out why they haven’t opened locations in the rest of the country, although they deliver to all 50 states. Anyhow, Portillo’s has so convincingly replaced Wendy’s as my favorite that I’ve only been to Wendy’s six or seven—maybe more—times since I’ve been up here.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2005.

3 Responses to “Food.”

1. aabrock Says:

September 7th, 2005 at 2:04 PM

Glad to hear you have found some good food up there Dom, but questions still remain. Is there a Papa Johns, a Green Olive? And what of doughnuts…for the love of God tell me!


Double-Oh, sorry about violating Posting Rule #1….or did I?

2. Vincent Viscariello Says:
September 7th, 2005 at 2:38 PM

    PJ’s yes; Green Olive, no; and doughnuts? They have 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts, where the fairest maidens bring you silver platters full of the finest Boston Kremes, silk napkins, finechina tea cups full of East India’s best, and plastic swizzlers with which to swizzle in the Splenda and half-and-half.

    3. ktea Says:
    September 7th, 2005 at 9:00 PM

      I used to go to pancake cafe when I used to live in Chigao. I miss beef sandwhiches so much that I could cry, but when I was in Cocoa Beach I found a place that comes close to making one. You failed to mention White Castle so I take that means they displease you.
      Oh and by the way Dictionary Boy [name “aliasized” by moderator per Rule #1] has been standing outside your window for three weeks holding up a sign saying ‘Batman Forever’.Its kind of depressing because the blinds to your old window are always shut. Its like that scene from Hook where Robin Williams wont let the children leave the window open.

      Former Student,
      Little Girl from Orland Park [name “aliasized” by moderator per Rule #1]