April 17, 2011

Chicago Trip: Oven Grinders

The other day I filled my car with gas and Z kept saying, "Z car!"  After forking over $50 for gas I said to him hopefully by the time he's old enough to drive there are cars or some other form of transportation not reliant on fossil fuels.   Fingers crossed.

In Chicago we stayed with my in-laws.  They live a couple blocks from the train line.  Nearly daily we walked to the tracks around 4:30pm to watch all the rush hour trains pass.  Z loved it!

One of the days Z stayed with C's parents and we took the train into Chicago for dinner and an overnight!  Woo Hoo!  Thanks Bubbe and Papa Choo Choo!  We went to our old favorite: Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder.

It is a favorite since we first started dating 12 years ago.  We went there on one of our first dates and then the night C proposed.  Awe.  The only catch it they don't take checks or credit cards and usually there's a super long wait.  The host asks how many and gives you a wait time.  He doesn't take your name and he certainly doesn't write it down.  I doubt he even looks to see if you're waiting outside or in the bar.  Almost every time we're there someone is waiting and agitated about this procedure.  Clearly, a newbie.  Incredibly, usually within the time quoted we have a table.

It is on Clark St across from the now closed Clark Bar.  There's a story with Oven Grinders dealing with the St Valentine's Day Massacre.  I read about it most times we dine there and promptly forget it.  C is telling me now that it was a lookout.  Thanks C.

We have tried nearly the whole menu, not that there's much to it.  We now always get Mediterranean bread and a half-pounder each.  Mediterranean bread is an app that overflows the plate.  It is super thin and chewy and covered with seasoning, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.  No plates, no silverware.  Rip and devour with your fingers.  Food of love.

As you can see in the picture below a half-punder is a pizza pot pie!  Inside is oozy cheese, button mushrooms (optional), sausage (optional), and their sweet/tangy heavenly sauce.  The server brings it out in a bowl filled with the toppings and covered with the dough, upside down.  Using an oven mitt and spoon the server flips the pizza pot pie onto a plate and removes the bowl to let all the topping slide into the dough.  From there it is one big wonderful mess of a meal.  It doesn't get any better!