Alec’s Pizza Thoughts…

Posted on: 02/10/11 10:43 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Many of you prayed for my 17-year-old son Alec and I this past weekend as we traveled together in Chicago, then Wisconsin, speaking together about Bullyingand eating a lot of Chicago area pizza!

I told you that Alec would be chiming in with his two cents about the best Chicago pizza. You’ve heard my opinion on this tasty subject before. Now it’s the teenager’s turn.

Here it is: Alec’s Chicago Pizza Review:

So a couple of days ago I had the marvelous pleasure of embarking to the wonderful city of Chicago with my Dad on one of his speaking ventures. Because there is not a lot of room on the agenda for eating healthy during travel, Dad and I decided that since we were going to Chicago we should try and decide which restaurant made the best deep-dish Chicago-style stuffed pizza.
My Dad is a Chicago-style pizza veteran and already believes that Giordano’s is the best, but since the subject was foreign to me we decided that this should be my opportunity to decide which pizza place I thought was best. Whenever we present this inquiry to Chicago natives they will usually say that the best Chicago-style pizza is one of three popular pizza places: Gino’s East, Giordano’s, or Lou Malnati’s. So we determined that the best Chicago-style pizza would be one of those three, and planned on eating at each one of these “havens” for pizza-lovers during our weekend in Illinois/Wisconsin.
The first night of our trip we arrived in Chicago and HOLY SNOTBUBBLES IT WAS REALLY STINKING COLD! I think that the only other time I have ever felt that cold was the time that I went hunting on top of a mountain during a snowstorm. That night we planned on going to Gino’s East, but after a short walk through the treacherous tundra of Chicago we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was closed. Sorry Gino’s, you lost points with me before I even tasted your pizza. So we made a quick re-route to Lou Malnati’s, and sat down within the cozy confines of the restaurant to thaw while we waited for our pizza to cook. I’ll admit, at that point I was so cold that I would have eaten a live animal just to get something warm in my stomach. So I was positively ecstatic when the server brought the pizza to our table, and it definitely did not disappoint my lust for something warm, but I think it might have been a stretch to call it Chicago’s best.
Don’t get me wrong, this pizza was better than anything that we have here in Sacramento, but let’s just say that the pizza was so warm because of the heavy grease-bath it must have been soaked in! Grease was literally dripping down my hands by the time I got to the crust, which was a little on the crunchy side by the way. Lou Malnati’s is known for using a “butter-crust” in their pizza, which is basically just bread soaked and then baked in vast amounts of butter. Aside from the greasiness, I don’t know how to articulate why exactly I wasn’t crazy about the taste of this pizza’s crust. The best I can explain it, I perceive Lou Malnati’s like a deep-fried Twinkie; I like a good Twinkie, and I like fried food, but I’m not so desperate to stop my heart that I would dare combine the two. Same goes for pizza and a crust soaked in butter.
It was on the second day of our trip that my Dad took me to his personal favorite, Giordano’s. I had heard plenty of my father’s exclamations about Giordano’s superiority over the other two restaurants, so I think it is fair to say that I went into the restaurant with a small bias. But I can tell you right now that it would not have mattered if I had walked into that restaurant expecting to get dog poop on a plate, because when the server brought us our pizza I fell in love after the first bite. It only got better, the first bite catalyzed a flood of rich sensations in my mouth which was near perfectly complimented by the cheese’s soft yet firm texture, but when I got to the crust I was even further rewarded by a mouth-watering melody between a crispy exterior and a perfectly doughy center. The most significant things that Giordano’s held over Lou Malnati’s was that it just tasted way less…greasy, and it’s crust was a delicious breadstick “puff” rather than some freak kind of crispy “butter-biscotti.”
The verdict on the best Chicago-style pizza became blatantly lucid after Giordano’s, because we skipped Gino’s East and ate at Giordano’s again. Congratulations Giordano’s and “too-bad-so-sad” Gino’s East, you should have been open past ten p.m. when we arrived!


I think the kid is a better writer than me!

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5 Replies to “Alec’s Pizza Thoughts…”

  1. He didn’t write this because he got in trouble somewhere around the house, did he??

    You should add the footnote to the 10 pm closing time of Gino’s at the beginning of the story, before I had visions of Chicago going soft and closing up because of cold and snowy weather…

    Alec – you’ve never had a deep fried Twinkee?? You should have asked around – they are another staple in the Mid-west – along with snicker bars, bacon and butter on a stick!!

  2. Hi Jonathan,

    Not to be a grammar nazi, but “I think the kid is a better writer than me!” should actually read, “I think the kids is a better writer than I!” LOL

    Although I have not tried Lou Malnati’s, I must say that when I was in Chicago in November, I tried Gino’s East on the recommendation of my husband’s co-worker. NOT impressed. Giordano’s really is #1. And I also enjoy Pizzeria Uno’s–although it’s been over a decade since I was there.

    Food lovers/pizza lovers UNITE!

  3. Lou’s and Gino’s get my best for their thin pizzas. I personally don’t like the thick stuffed pizza that much, but I do like Giordanos over the others by far in the stuffed category. I lived three years in So Cal and had to spend my Super Bowl Sunday watching the Bears at a Gino’s that I think was in the Santa Monica area. The thing is, in California, or any state for that matter, the pizza is not the same as Chicago, even if they are a Giordanos or a Gino’s. I think it is something in the water. Nice job Alec! Great photo too…captures the essence of the pizza!

  4. This young man sounds like an absolute genius! Have you ever considered raising his allowance?

    I think that a boy with this much talent deserves a medal, for such bravery, superb intellect, and overall success at being a total stud.

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