Nom to the death
The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks may be keeping their Stanley Cup tango to the rink, but we’re calling in our tastebuds for an epic battle of the eats between our fair city and theirs. Should Chi-town and the Bean put up their best contenders for regional culinary classics on the chopping block, who would come out a winner?
For starters, ethnic food. Chicago is often praised for its vibrant Mexican dining scene. They also boast stellar Indian eats on Devon Avenue as well as enough Polish hot spots to get a pierogi fix that Boston can’t even begin to compete with.
It’s on, Chicago. It’s on. Next
Boston and Chicago are both a little late hopping on the too-cool-for-school doughnut train so we believe it’s safe to say we’re neck-and-neck in this race.
While we have Union Square Donuts and its small batch maple-glazed rings of glory with bacon sprinkles, Chicago retaliates with its own doughnut mecca, Glazed and Confused, which serves a doughnut called the Bar Snack that comes coated a montage of goodness: caramel, pretzel bites, M&Ms, peanuts, and potato chips.
However, neither city has yet to produce a “cronut” — the elusive croissant-doughnut hybrid created by New York’s Dominique Ansel Bakery — so in the cold, harsh, hungry light of day: we both lose. Next
Chicago is known for its steakhouses, and Boston is getting there, but when it comes down to the question, “Where’s the beef?” in both cases: it’s on a sandwich. And that’s an epic battle for the ages because we’d like to challenge Chi-town’s beloved Italian beef sandwiches against a traditional roast beef from Kelly’s any day.
An Italian beef dates back decades in the Windy City and is a rather mouthwatering combination of thin shaved roast beef on a sub roll, dripping in a broth-based gravy. It’s a serious knife-and-fork au jus situation.
Us? We’re purists. Kelly’s leads the pack and is practically an institution in the suburbs outside the Hub but its fellow roast beef toting shops also serve up our take on the sandwich in its simplest form. Bulkie roll? Check. Piles and piles of sliced medium rare roast beef? Check. Need anything else? Not really. You can add barbecue sauce, pickles, mayo, or what have you but the real focus is on the beef. It’s all about the beef. Yes. The beef.
As you were... Next
So, Chicago has deep dish. Which is incredible.
We can’t even pretend that it’s not. Because it is. It just is. It also requires a knife and fork, which seems to be a pattern in Chicago.
Us? We like our pizza to go. And while Regina’s might be best representative of the region, if we were to go into a head-to-head “Hunger Games”-style battle of pies, we’d put forth our selection as: “Yuppie pizza.”
Why? Because it will thrive. We will eat your truffle-infused fontina and shallot pizza until we’re blue in the face. And we will love it.
Creme fraiche, gruyere, and bacon? Yeah. We’ve got that.
Sausage and peppers? Pepperoni?? Pssh. Amateurs. Next
Chicago-style dogs are pretty well known, and we suppose that’s reason enough to give them props. Ask for a hot dog in Chicago and tell them to “drag it through the garden.” You’ll typically get a poppy-seed-studded bun stuffed to the brim with a steamed beef frank, sport peppers, mustard, relish, tomato wedges, pickles, chopped white onions, and a sprinkle of celery salt. It’s a mouthful and a handful. We foresee the knife and fork.
Now go to Fenway. Order an all beef Fenway Frank by Kayem. Get it on a New England style hot dog bun, which if you’ve been living under a rock (or not in New England) — looks like a piece of white sandwich bread, folded the long way, sometimes buttered and toasted, sometimes not. Toppings are a diner’s choice. Ketchup, mustard, a little relish? Sure. Regardless, it’s a pretty portable meal. Which leaves our other hand free for cheering on victory. Next
Clam shacks are kind of a big deal here. Every summer, like clockwork, you head down to your local (or favorite) and order yourself a cardboard container piled high with crisp, hot battered morsels with a side of a fries. Sometimes they come on a roll. Sometimes they also come with cole slaw. Whatever. It’s like a religion. And when an out-of-towner comes to visit, you better believe they’re going to get served up a platter. Maybe two.
In Chicago, they have shrimp shacks — sometimes also called shrimp houses. They serve fried shrimp.
And that makes us feel a little bad for them.
Clams before shrimp? Or shimp before clams? The world may never know. But we do. We’ll take the clams. Back to the beginning
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