I am here to tell you about Day 2 in Chicago this past weekend. I’ve been so busy since I got back this past Monday that I have only made slow progress in blogging about our travels. Thanks for bearing with me!
Saturday, mid-morning, we walked from our hotel to Pizano’s to meet up with our Taste Chicago Tour, through Tastebud Tours. This restaurant was about one block from our hotel, on Madison Street. We actually ended up going to Pizano’s not one, not two, but THREE times, over the course of the weekend.
For the first stop on our tour, we got to try slices of Pizano’s classic Chicago-style deep dish pizza (top below), and also of the thin crust pizza with homemade sausage. Both were, as you might expect, amazing. We learned about the history of Pizano’s from both a friendly restaurant staff member, as well as from our tour guide.
A little history, from the Pizano’s website:
“We also have a secret weapon that Jeff Ruby so eloquently describes in Chicago Magazine. He says, ‘In a State Street basement, an 83-year-old lady named Donna Marie Malnati may represent our last link to the genesis of deep-dish pizza. The widow of Rudy Malnati—an early player at Pizzeria Uno—and mother of Pizano’s Rudy Malnati Jr., Donna Marie spends her nights fashioning dough balls from an old and secret family recipe. Whatever is in it, the recipe produces the most addictive thin crust in Chicago. Irresistible caramelized edges here and there give way to a buttery, pastrylike base that recalls deep-dish without the backbreaking bulk. It’s got the distinct flavor of history.’ “
The crust truly was awesome. Especially in the thin crust pizza. Crisp, with a forgiving crunch you can sink your teeth into. And the sausage. Oh the sausage. Good gracious, the sausage.
You’ll see more of this pizza in an upcoming blog post. We couldn’t get enough.
After pizza at Pizano’s, we toured the ornate and historic lobby of the Palmer House Hotel. Apparently this glorious building was the birthplace of the brownie, so we had a brownie made at a local brownie to celebrate this fact.
Like any good tourists, our tour group made a stop at
Cloud Gate The Bean for a few obligatory photo ops.
Another pit stop was made to see the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Next up: some hot diggities at Gold Coast Dogs.
Each member of the tour received a full-size authentic Chicago-style dog with a Vienna beef frankfurter, poppy seed bun, yellow mustard, tomato, disturbingly green sweet relish, onion, pickled sport peppers, a dill pickle spear, and a sprinkling of celery salt. NO ketchup! Thank goodness. Good stuff.
Next we went to Heaven on Seven, located at 111 N. Wabash, on, you guessed it, the seventh floor.
We tried a sampling of the gumbo and it was most delicious! Very bold, rich, and flavorful, with big meaty chunks in a thick sauce. Returning to Heaven on Seven is most definitely on my to-do list for my next Chicago trip.
Time for something sweet! A mini chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting was enjoyed at Sugar Bliss. The cake was extremely dense and moist, much more my style than the Georgetown Cupcakes ‘cake I had a couple weeks ago, in terms of the cake. The frosting was fine but nothing remarkable. You know I totally could have eaten a full-size version of this. C’mon.
The floral frosting design on each cupcake made for a unique touch.
And finally, we went to The Berghoff, Chicago’s first restaurant, which opened in 1898. The Berghoff was the first Chicago restaurant to obtain a liquor license after Prohibition. Score!
We had a mini brat smothered in sauerkraut (usually I’m not a sauerkraut person, but man, this was good), served with German-style potato salad. So good!
The tour took about 3.5 hours and was a very fun and interactive way to spend the first half of our Saturday. Not only does the tour provide entertainment, but it is provides enough food to serve as one’s lunch. Tastebud Tours is the company that runs the Taste of Chicago tour in which we participated. Our tour guide was a nice and enthusiastic young lady who did a great job leading our group (which happened to include a bachelorette party, I should mention!).