Friday, July 31, 2009

Pizza strips?

To those of you who saw the title to this post and excitedly wondered, "Pizza & strippers - Hell yes!" I must regrettably inform you that pizza strips is not some code for pizza delivered by strippers (although this might not be that bad of an idea...).

According to the Trib's Christopher Borelli, pizza strips as he knew growing up in Rhose Island Read more!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicago Pizza Tweeps

Check out this post from the Chicago Breaking Tweets blog about Chicago's leading pizza tweeps. In addition to those on the list, Piece and Ian's Wrigleyville are also tweeting it up. Self promotion alert: Chicago Pizza Project will soon be twittering all things pizza. Click here to follow the CPP on twitter.

Tweet tweet y'all. Read more!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

4,000 reasons to leave pizza making to the pros

I just ran across this item in the Village Voice about a 10-day pizza-making class in New York that costs $4,ooo bucks. My first thought: how many pizzas can I buy with $4,000? My second thought: I'm no math genius, but I'm pretty sure that I can buy HUNDREDS of pizzas for $4k. Conclusion: no pizza class for me, I'm investing my $4k in a rainy day pizza fund to secure my pizza fiend future for years to come. Read more!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pizza at Ballparks

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Out-of-town reviews

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it. Read more!

History of Pizza in Chicago

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Pizza & Beer

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Pizza with a Politician

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Going camping? Make some pizza

I don't camp. I can camp, I have camped, I just generally don't camp. One reason I don't often camp is the idea that the entire purpose of western civilization was to provide bathrooms to all and that by eschewing bathrooms during a camping trip, we're throwing sand in the face of Plato, Sir Issac Newton, Ike Sewell, et al.

Another big-time problem with camping: no pizza. There just are not any good pizza joints in the wilderness. And good luck trying to give directions to your campsite to a pizza deliveryman ("It's in the woods, near a bunch of trees and stuff...")

But it seems that the camping pizza problem is one that others have been working on (namely those that camp). In the video below, the folks from Backpacker Magazine show how you can whip up a quick pizza in the backcountry. While one could surely argue whether what this young lady ends up with from her camp stove and some basic ingredients is really pizza, it's probably as close as you're going to get out in the woods.

Read more!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Review: Lou Malnatis Pizzeria Lincolnwood

The Joint: Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, Lincolnwood

The Dish: There may not be a more well-known or loved pizza franchise in Chicago than Lou Malnati's. For decades, Lou's has been turning out famous deep dish pies, spreading Chicago style deep dish devotion across the city and suburbs with its 30 locations. Lou's has even set its sights on converting the rest of the nation to its deep dish religion with its shipping service that sends Lou's frozen deep dish pies on dry ice to pizza freaks nationwide.

Lou's traces its deep dish wizardry back to the original Chicago deep dish emporium, Pizzeria Uno. After cooking up pies at Uno's for thirty years, in 1971 Lou Malnati decided it was time he started up his own joint and opened Lou Malnati's Pizzeria in Lincolnwood, just north and west of the city limits on Lincoln Avenue.

I've been visiting Lou's original location in Lincolnwood for more than 20 years, and while I can happily report that the pizza at the original Lou's is still top-notch, the atmosphere has changed substantially. My memories of Lou's in Lincolnwood are of a dark, smoky, wood-panelled pizza joint. These days, Lou's in Lincolnwood seems more like just another franchise rather than an authentic original. But this criticism is surely more about me and my memories and one that should not deter anyone from visiting Lou's in Lincolnwood for one of it's incredible deep dish pies.

Lou's deep dish pies are cooked in 2 to 3-inch deep pans blackened from hundreds of trips through Lou's ovens and can take as long as 45 minutes to get to your table after ordering. Due to the long wait time, many call ahead with to order their deep dish pies to cut down the wait time at the restaurant. (While the call-in order is a great idea for the time-conscious, it's also great for a pizza freak like me, as I can tell you from experience, a 45-minute wait on an empty stomach while Lou's steaming deep dish pizzas are being delivered to surrounding tables that seemingly arrived after you absolutely inspire murderous thoughts, or worse.)

Lou's deep dish pizzas start with the three traditional characteristics of Chicago style deep dish pies: a thick, pastry-like crust topped with plenty of gooey cheese and an incredibly fresh, chunky, slightly sweet tomato sauce. Lou's encourages patrons to add any number of ingredients to this mix, but for my money (and probably most other non-veggies) the best topping to add to the basic pie is chunks of Lou's savory, and very garlicky, italian sausage. This combination of fresh, homemade ingredients adds up to one of the finest examples of world famous Chicago style deep dish pizza along with Pizzerias Uno and Due, Pequod's, and a couple other deep dish joints.

While Lou's is famous for its deep dish pizza, it also serves pretty damn good thin crust pies too. Lou's thin crust pies have a thin version of the same pastry-style crust in Lou's deep dish pies and can be loaded with same tasty toppings. Besides the difference in crust thickness, Lou's thin pies lack the excellent chunky tomato sauce that is such an important part of Lou's deep dish pizza. Bottom line: if deep dish isn't your style, or you're looking to avoid the food coma that comes gratis with Lou's deep dish pies, their thin pizza is a pretty decent alternative.

Over the years, like many others, I've often struggled to determine what makes Lou's deep dish pizza so great. Is it the tasty, thick crust? Or the amazing sausage layered across the pie? Or maybe the chunky tomato sauce? I've probably changed my mind on what the answer to this question is dozens of times since my first Lou Malnati's experience. To this day, I'm still not sure what the secret is behind this mystery. But this isn't a bad thing. It simply gives me a great excuse to head out to Lou's for another pie in the near future.

Chicago Pizza Project rating: 3.5 out of 4 Read more!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pizza eating contest in Chicago this weekend!

Bacci Pizzeria is having its annual Bacci Pizza Fest this Saturday, July 11 at its Taylor Street location.

The highlight of the Fest is the Jumbo Slice Eating Contest in which contestants work up a serious sweat scarfing down monster slices of Bacci's pizza.

Think you're up for making a run at the title and the $1,500 first prize? Bacci wants all comers to enter but has some standards. Here's how to prove you're worthy to enter:

Go to any one of the 18 Bacci Pizza locations.

Notify the cashier that you would like to enter the contest.

Purchase 2 slices and get a third free.
Eat all 3 slices within twenty minutes.
Give cashier your info &
Show up the day of the contest

(Must be 18 y.o. or have parent's permission).

Best of luck to all and maybe see you at the Fest!

Read more!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Chicago deep-dish pizzas sent to U.S. troops

Here's a great story heading into the holiday weekend:

Local charity organization Pizza4Patriots is sending 28,000 deep-dish pizzas from Uno's Pizza & Grill and 8,000 cases of beer to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in what they are calling Operation Pizza Surge. The goal of the operation is to provide every serviceman and woman in Iraq and Afghanistan a slice of Chicago deep-dish pizza on July 4th. Please check out the Pizza4Patriots website (or their their YouTube channel) and make a donation if you're able this holiday weekend. Read more!