Although this was my second time in Chicago, a lot of it felt brand new and much different than the first time I was in Chicago exactly eight years ago. Nevertheless, as one of America’s three “global cities” alongside New York and Los Angeles, Chicago is an experience that should be had and enjoyed to its fullest if possible.
Chicago is virtually synonymous with its ‘Deep Dish Pizza’ and if I’m not mistaken, the ‘Deep Dish’ is what makes Chicago-style pizza unique from all other styles of pizza in the world. Perhaps the most original of all the deep dish joints in Chicago is ‘Lou Malnati’s’ which is now a deep dish chain in the Chicago area.
‘Pizano’s’ is yet another deep dish chain in the Chicago area and coincidentally, it originates from the Malnati family as well. But as mentioned before, the most original and perhaps the best of the deep dish joints in Chicago is ‘Lou Malnati’s.’
‘Billy Goat Tavern and Grill’ is not necessarily about the burger in and of itself, even though the burger is pretty damn good. Rather, the significance of ‘Billy Goat’ comes from the story behind the burger, namely, the story of humble immigrant beginnings which evolve into leaving a permanent mark on mainstream American culture.
‘Ghareeb Nawaz’ has a dual meaning in three different languages (Farsi, Urdu, and Hindi). On one hand, the term ‘Ghareeb Nawaz’ translates into ‘A Stranger’s Love.’ And on the other hand, the term ‘Ghareeb Nawaz’ can also translate into ‘Champion of the Poor.’ Located in the ‘Little India’ neighbourhood of Chicago’s Northside along West Devon Avenue, you can find all types of Desi dishes and delights at ‘Ghareeb Nawaz’ where the menu offers at least a hundred different items for dirt cheap prices.
The other of the two mainstays and staples of Chicago’s food scene which makes Chicago unique aside from the ‘Deep Dish Pizza’ is the ‘Italian Beef Sandwich.’ And in terms of the Italian Beef Sandwich, it is ‘Portillo’s’ which is perhaps the more popular of the places that offers Italian beef sandwiches because it’s now a huge chain, although the smaller and individual Italian beef joints must also be reckoned with.
‘Frontier Chicken’ is a Pakistani rice dish which is cooked on top of a flat iron grill and is mixed with pan-fried onions, small slices of green peppers, and all sorts of great spices. And when it comes to dishes like this one, Chicago does it better than everyone else.
‘Tahoora’ offers more Indian sweets than one can wrap their heads around. Although it has faced competition and perhaps even shit from haters over recent years in addition to adversity and hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there is little to no doubt that “Tahoora” is the crème a la crème of the Indian sweets industry in the entire United States.
Although it is believed that there are 1,374 steakhouses in the Chicago area, some folks have placed “Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse” among Chicago’s top 15 steakhouses. This “Chicago Cut” came with a complimentary beef barley soup which was really good and in turn made the steak worthwhile.
The “March of Religion” is a set of statues carved into the front of Chicago’s famous Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, which is located on the University of Chicago campus in the Hyde Park Neighborhood of the city’s famous South Side. The statues represent a range of famous figures from various religions, in line with the non-denominational orientation of the chapel. Surprisingly, the Prophet Muhammad — who is the founder of what is now the world’s largest religion — isn’t among the figures displayed in the “March of Religion.” However, this may all have been by design in order to avoid offending Muslims, although I could be wrong.
The “Osaka Japanese Garden” is also located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, and is a nifty retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, although one must note, the hustle and bustle of Chicago has largely diminished from decades and years past, based on what I experienced and observed and heard from the locals.
‘Ja’ Grill’ is a lively Jamaican restaurant in Hyde Park. I got to sit right across from this huge and spectacular mural of Bob Marley, who is perhaps the most famous rebel artist, entertainer, and intellectual of recent times and whose void has yet to be filled. While observing and reflecting on this spectacular mural, I munched on Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings (Honey Glazed) and a Jamaican Beef Patty, which I downed with a brilliant grapefruit flavored Jamaican soda called “Ting.” All of which would be better had at a beach in Jamaica.
Chicago also has a “French Market” located near its main train station. It hosts a wide array of canteens which offer foods and drinks from many different parts of the world. It’s just one example of why Chicago is one of America’s three “global cities.”
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I have a Bachelor's Degree in History/Government and International Relations from George Mason University, and a Master's Degree in International Affairs with a Concentration in U.S. Foreign Policy from American University in Washington, DC. I was born in New York City, and have lived in Northern Virginia since childhood. I am an independent writer and an entrepreneur. I am also a book author.
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September 22, 2022 September 24, 2022