I have a dirty little secret.
But, before I tell you what it is, this was all prompted by my reading about the pizza chain Giordano's, which has 35 restaurants in the Chicago area. The article I saw, from Yahoo!, noted the restaurant is filing for Chapter 11 protection. Now, Chicago is my adopted second home, as you all know, and though I have never been to Giordano's, I have had some pizza in town. (Also note that Gordon Beckham does one of the commercials.)
Diane maintains Gino's East is the best pizza along with Lou Malnati's in the Windy City. The last few years, we have gotten our Super Bowl pizza at Randall's Roadhouse on Randall Road in Carpentersville, and they not only produce a good deep dish pizza, but many of my Chicago posse think it is the best around.
Plus, I have spent a couple of Sundays sitting with my friend's Mike and Jeff, at Randall's eating pizza and beer sticks and salt and pepper shrimp for six hours, watching football, with Coke after Coke--and if you think I am a lightweight, I never drink Diet Coke--and pretty much gone home not wanting to eat anything for a couple of days.
Looking at the Yahoo! comments under their article, there is a pitched discussion, primarily pushing Gino's, Malnati's, and Giordano's culled the most votes, but the talk seemed to suggest that the best pizza was in Chicago.
Now, I watch Man vs. Food and The Best Think I Ever Ate and, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, so I have seen some pretty promising looking food all across our delicious and wonderful country. I have eaten pizza in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, London, Phoenix, Washington D.C., Miami, Denver, St.Louis, Kansas City, Seattle, and of course San Francisco and the Bay Area.
In fact, when we were driving back to the Bay Area from Chicago last summer, we purposely mapped the trip using places Guy Fieri frequented on Route 66, hitting six over the 2200-mile trek. And, Diane and I, with our friends Gabe and Kelli have hit another half dozen, and in a few weeks, when I am in Phoenix for Spring Training, I expect to knock a few more Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives places off the list I have tried.
But, back to the pizza, the deep dish at Randall's is very good, but, I like Zachary's Chicago Pizza in Berkeley, where the deep dish spinach and mushroom is amongst the most flavorful things I have ever eaten. Diane, reared on Chicago deep dish, says Zachary's is comparable to the best Chicago stuff, so we know it is at least authentic.
But, for New York Pizza, John's, in mid-town Manhattan is really, really good, but I think Amici's East Coast Pizzeria, in the Bay Area, who make this Calabrese Pizza, with fresh tomatoes and grilled pancetta is one of my five favorite things to eat on the planet.
Note that also on that list are wings at Virgil's BBQ, on W. 44th in Manhattan, Grilled Squid with Ceviche at Kaminari in Lake in the Hills (in the Chicago area), the Wedge Salad at Skates on the Bay at the Berkeley Marina, and the Thai Curry Mussels at Fog City Diner in San Francisco.
In fact, I really like to cook, too. If you saw Fantasyland the film, during the scene I am in the kitchen, I am making scratch fried rice while on camera. Lately, my burgers and home made fries--in fact I have a great reputation as a potato cook--are a big thing amongst my friends, and the blondies I made for my sister-in-law Jill's birthday, last November, merited her asking me to bring them again for our family Christmas celebration.
I will stop, there, for by now you must know the truth: I am a foodie.