Back on Friday one of my good friends from Northwestern days came by for dinner. Cole's family has some cottages along Lake Michigan about an hour south of here and he bopped up from Indianapolis to do some work about the place. Ever since we found Joe Chicago's Pizza over by Rivertown Crossings Mall, we've tried to get together with Cole and his family for some lovely Chicago stuffed pizza. Alas, though I was able to bring one pizza by the cottage last summer, other attempts to eat at Joe Chicago's have been thwarted by (1) going out of business for a time and (2) not being open every day after the new owners came in. But they either have new management or new owners yet again, because lately they've done a top notch job of being open, making pizzas and have been creatively expanding their menu.
As for the two pizzas, I ordered them on the way home, which magically enough allows me to bop off of the M-6 freeway at Wilson Avenue Exit 3, swing by Joe Chicago's for pick up, then jump back onto I-196 from 44th Street. We would do this far more often if one had no concerns about spending all that money or eating all those luscious calories. The deal was, since Cole was coming up alone, he was under orders to bring a large stuffed pizza home to his wife. I think maybe their son might get some of this. Might, mind you. (grin)
The advantage of this plan was that there was more pizza for us -- we wouldn't feel like we had to send some of "our" pieces home with Cole. (evil grin) The pizza we ate on Friday was a large 14" Chicago stuffed pizza with sausage, mushrooms, black olives, roasted red peppers and spinach. The one we sent on, assuming Cole was trustworthy, to Indianapolis was also a 14" Chicago stuffed pizza with sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms and black olives.
Lovely. Simple lovely.
Heaven On Earth
One of the great things about great friends is that you can sit and talk about anything without any kind of prep. But of course, one of the topics of conversation was pizza -- go figure. Anyway, I told Cole that the Sunday before I'd seen a piece in the Grand Rapids Press about Chicago Pizza Tours. Oh you read that right. Chicago. Pizza. Tours. 3-hour bus tour of FOUR styles of Chicago pizza INCLUDING Gino's East and... drum roll please... Edwardo's on Printer's Row. Now I first ran into the original Edwardo's on the border of Evanston and Chicago in early 1979 not long after they opened. And fell in love.
The tours run 3 hours, typically start at noon, and cost $55 a head, not including drinks and tips. You get one slice of signature pizza at each venue. Click on the thumbnails to really enjoy:
Marcello's cracker crust
Gino's East -- also a world famous Chicago deep dish pizza. (But really, it's not Edwardo's -- grin.)
Coalfire's pizza is cooked in a coal-fired oven. Wasn't this featured on an Anthony Bordaine's No Reservations?
Finally we have The Food Of The Gods: Edwardo's Double-Crust Stuffed Pizza. The FINEST pizza in all the lands. Now THAT'S a pizza. That's a meal. (sigh) (swoon)
They're limited to 15 max, but they will do private tours. And you can pick your toppings when you order your tickets. I'm thinking I think I know what I want for my birthday this year. Now I just need to figure out a weekend in August or September... and how many people I know I could get to join us. (yet another evil grin)
You know, assuming it's on time, the Amtrak train from Holland MI to Union Station arrives at like 10:30am CT and leaves a little after 5pm CT, and Chicago Pizza Tours start and end at Gino's East, 633 N. Wells St -- Wells and Ontario -- one could get a cab to/from the train. And then sleep on the way home. (zzzz)
So... what's better than two pizzas? Four classic Chicago pizzas in three hours? Mmm... maybe.
PS - go by the Joe Chicago's website (linked above) to check out a really LARGE Chicago stuffed pizza. (grin)