After abandoning Amanda in Boston this past spring to study abroad in London (not that she’s bitter about it), Marisa and Jordan knew that the reunification of The Trio had to be absolutely epic. Uncultured swines that they are, Marisa and Amanda had never been outside the northeast. Coupled with the fact that Jordan had visited them in their humble abodes on Long Island the previous summer, it was about time that The Trio journeyed westward to Jordan’s neck of the woods. Learning from the master planner (Amanda), Jordan created the ultimate itinerary (in PowerPoint form, of course) appropriately titled “The Trio takes the Midwest.” Like all of The Trio’s adventures, this one was all about food.
Having never been to the Midwest, Amanda nonetheless had already sampled its most important flavors: cheese and caramel. Ever the popcorn lover, Amanda demanded that every time Jordan returned to Boston from Chicago, she bring her a bag of Garrett’s Gourmet popcorn. So finally having the opportunity to go to an actual Garrett’s location was basically a religious pilgrimage. For any true Chicagoan though, a rite of passage is smelling the popcorn from down the street and ordering themselves some fresh Chicago Mix. Though today Amanda has refined her palette and prefers only caramel popcorn, she still enjoyed going straight to the source and stuffing her face (and bag at the airport) with popcorn.
If there’s one thing New Yorkers know, it’s pizza. Back in the day (the chubby days), Marisa would eat pizza for two of three meals. Needless to say, she was eager to see how Chicago-style pizza compared to her beloved New York slice. Jordan’s choice contender was Lou Malnati’s deep dish. The dough is piled with an ungodly amount of cheese, topped with marinara sauce and cooked in a “deep dish” for about thirty minutes. From a New Yorker’s perspective, the finished product looks more like a cheese pie than a pizza. The servers at Lou’s actually have to slice the pizza for the customers because it is so hefty. When the first slice is lifted out of the pan, it creates a waterfall of cheese (talk about food porn). There’s no denying the beauty of the deep dish pizza, but the copious amounts of cheese made the slice rather chewy, and to put the sauce on top (instead of underneath, where it belongs) is just plain wrong. Marisa and Amanda enjoyed their deep dish experience, but they are New Yorkers through and through. Sorry Chi-town.
Before dropping her off at the airport, Rich Barone had one piece of advice for his beloved daughter: get a Chicago style hot dog. Taking this advice to heart, Amanda set out to make her sports-obsessed father doubly proud by consuming this hot dog in one of the most iconic baseball stadiums: Wrigley Field. To truly understand how Marisa and Amanda felt that day, you must expel all the warm and fuzzy feelings the last couple of sentences gave you and instead think back to the coldest you’ve ever been in your life. Indeed, the baseball game in early May was literally freezing with temperatures in the forties and a severe wind chill (now we know why it’s called The Windy City). Marisa and Amanda stuck it out- really only to witness the beauties that are Kris Bryant and Chicago style hot dogs. Marisa tailored her hot dog to taste- choosing only to add mustard and onions. Amanda, on the other hand, was feeling bold (and cold) and went for all the classic fixings- mustard, white onions, relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato wedges, sport peppers, and celery salt. Though not very picturesque, what the dogs lacked in appearance they more than made up for in taste. The wide variety of elements involved came together to create a totally unique taste and flavors the two would not soon forget.
After months of separation and preparation, Jordan knew the trip had to live up to the hype. She was excited to show her favorite east coasters how it was done: Chicago style. Truly though, she was beyond thrilled to show her best friends her favorite childhood spots. It could not have been a more perfect week, filled with all the sights and the even more important meal destinations. When Jordan dropped them off at O’Hare, she knew she had converted them to claim deep dish as the best (although they weakly still attempt to disagree) and would be coming back for more.
Garrett Gourmet Popcorn
Deep Dish Pizza:
Chicago Style Hot Dog:
1060 W Addison Street
Chicago, IL 60613