Thursday, June 28, 2012

Off the Map: We'll Have a Medium Pizza - We Recommend the Small

Sausage Patty Style Pizza -- Gino's East of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Gino's East of Chicago

And for the first time in Chicago, we get ourselves legitimately tipsy.  And all is then right (well, better) with the world.
Who Needs Valium When You Have Cocktails and Views?
After being thwarted out of drinking at the Hancock Building's Signature Lounge the night before, we realize the flaw in our previous plan: we are day drinkers.  We cannot drink at night, what with all those other boozers crowding up our barstools.  For this reason, we head back to Signature Lounge at 11:30 the following morning, with nary an elevator line to be found.
Cozying up to two seats overlooking the western Chicago skyline, we settle in for a solid two hours of cocktailing it up.

And true to form, we are never happier.
Was That So Hard, Chicago? Just Hand Over the Booze Before Lunchtime, and Nobody Gets Hurt
It is in this jovial state that we stumble back out onto Michigan Avenue to make our way to our final stop of this Best Thing I Ever Ate adventure: Gino's East of Chicago.  Despite the above-80-degree temperatures and hoards of slow walkers, our high altitude alcohol intake keeps us relatively appeased until we actually reach Gino's East.  There, our affability comes to a screeching halt because we spot our most dreaded sight: a line.

What is this, Bubba Gump Shrimp?!
Which Is Our Way of Saying We HATE Lines
While Ginger waits in line and Vodka waits across the street (the sun's vicious rays are to blame), we slowly drag our feet towards the entrance.  Apparently, more people than just us have been sent here to consume Duff Goldman's chosen Best Thing I Ever Ate PIZZA dish, the sausage patty style pizza.  By the time we make it inside (which in reality does not take very long, but we are sans patience), our early morning pastry indulgence has been fully digested and we are ravenous.  Perusing the menu, we settle on one medium-sized pizza, which promises three slices for each of us.  When we relate our choice to our waitress, she looks us up and down and states, "We recommend a small."

Never before have our overeating capabilities been questioned in such a direct way.
This Best Fill Us Up, Or There Will Be Trouble
When we are advised that the pizza will take at least forty-five minutes to cook, we decide that we will certainly die of starvation before then and order a Tuscan Harvest Salad to tide us over.  Unfortunately, said salad comes with the most vile dressing known to man -- it is given the moniker of "raspberry vinaigrette," though in reality, it tastes more like "raspberry chemicals."
There's a Reason Gino's East Is NOT Known For Their Salads
The salad is somewhat improved when we ask for oil and vinegar to substitute for the berry monstrosity, though we are slowly getting tired of waiting for our pizza.

And waiting and waiting.
PS Thanks For Essentially Plopping One Large Apple on Top of Our Greens. Stellar Knife Skills
We are aware that Chicago-style deep dish pizzas take much longer to cook than regular pizzas, but for goodness sake -- over an hour after we have sat down, there is STILL no pizza in front of us (imagine what would have happened had we ordered a medium).
This Is How We Feel, Only Picture the "Hunger" Version
Table after table of diners who had arrived after us receive their pie, and we become increasingly indignant, tapping our fingers and bouncing our knees and greeting the pizza's eventual arrival with next to no fanfare.
Perhaps the Staff Was Too Busy Perfecting Their Graffiti Skills to Actually, You Know, COOK
Our waitress attempts to cut our pie into four slices, which quickly proves to be an impossible endeavor.  Unlike a normal pizza, in which the cheese, sauce, meat, and dough all meld together into one, Gino's is downright falling apart.  The cheese seeps out from the bottom, pulling the sausage patty and sauce along with it, and we are in desperate need of bibs.
A Full Hour and This Is the Best You Came Up With?
Once we get over this foray into messiness, we resign to the fact that the pizza is fairly good (if possibly tastier than we would normally think because only because we are ravenous).
Actually, That's Not "Possible" - It's a Fact
Each of the toppings is plentiful, and though they cannot stick together for the life of them, we have to admit that they are pleasing separately.  Well, except for a couple of things:

The sausage, which has been flattened out like a pancake to fit within the pie rather than crumbled on top, is rather gray in appearance, which is off-putting aesthetically if not in flavor (though considering we also hated the color of the chorizo, perhaps we have a thing against sausage color palates).
Mmm, Nothing Like Gray Meat In the Afternoon
And even worse, we are not a fan of Gino's dough -- it is sunshine yellow and crumbly dry, and while we know they are famous for its distinction, we're failing to see the appeal.
Corn Bread-Colored Crust
And with that, we wrap up our time in Chicago, departing the city a couple of pizzas and hot dogs fatter than we arrived.  And while the city was clearly not a true debacle in flavor, we believe it failed to live up to its outstanding culinary reputation.  Whether this is the fault of poor Food Network choices, passive aggressive waitstaff, or a proliferation of weak cocktails is unclear.

But we're betting our money on the cocktails.

Gino's East of Chicago Sausage Patty Style Pizza: 4 stars

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