Eat your way around Chicago, a city that relishes good food
Chicago is, rightly, famous for the Willis Tower, the stainless steel 'Bean' sculpture and people such as Al Capone, Oprah and the Obamas. But it's also a city that knows, and loves, good food.
When the Blues Brothers sang Sweet Home Chicago they probably weren't referring to The Doughnut Vault's triple chocolate glazed doughnuts. But there's nothing sweeter than these calorific monsters which are such a Chicago staple you might have to queue at either the Franklin or Canal Street stores. Or track down the roving doughnut truck.
The windy city is a serious pizza town, perhaps even more so than New York, and you can't visit without sampling a deep-dish pizza. There's nowhere better than Giordano's, which has been called the best pizza joint in Chicago.
It's easy to see why: stuffed with pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers and onions, these slices will challenge the biggest Kiwi appetite. Be warned: it takes 45 minutes to cook a deep-dish. But they'll doggy-bag the leftovers so you can take them back to your hotel.
As soon as you get to Chicago, forget everything you've ever believed about hot dogs. Chicago-style hot dogs come with a pure Vienna Beef frankfurter on a warm poppy-seed bun with mustard, relish, pickled peppers, onions, tomato slices, a quartered dill pickle and a dash of celery salt.
Change the formula (or ask for ketchup) and you'll be run out of town. Try one at Gold Coast Dogs, which has been churning them out since 1985.
If you're after a quick snack while on the go, Garrett's Popcorn is a Chicago institution. It's popcorn but not as you know it – the Chicago mix is caramel and cheese flavours combined providing you the ultimate sweet and savoury snack. It is cooked in traditional copper kettles and best eaten straight away when still warm.
If you've still got room, head down to the West Loop to one of Chicago's best restaurants, Girl & the Goat. Executive chef Stephanie Izard was the first woman to win television's Top Chef in 2008 and does amazing things with local ingredients. To borrow a line from Frank Sinatra, Chicago is definitely your kind of town (especially when it comes to food).
Air New Zealand flies non-stop to Houston five times a week (where you can connect to Chicago). Check out USA travel tips from fellow Kiwi travellers at www.usathekiwiway.co.nz.
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