One for Zim, one for Seth
Nodding through a very, very long Chicago Crime Commission banquet tonight, I ruminated on this board. Specifically, to our pizza thoughts. Enough griping, here is a place for Zim and here is a place for Seth:
For Zim, who simply seeks good pizza what ever form it may take. Tonelli's in Northbrook is never a perenial for best of anything. In fact, the quality of Tonelli's has decreased drastically in recent years. Still, they make an excellant thin pizza. Do not get any pizza. Get the pizza that my dad and I have been getting for years. A pie with italian beef, italian saugage and green peppers. Somehow, this combination of ingrediants on the Tonelli ultra thin crust reaches culinary perfection. A few shakes of red pepper and you are in business. For Elizabeth, do be forewarned, all of my recent helpings of non-pizza product at Tonelli's have been shear crap. Tonelli's is on the corner of waukegan and shermer in "downtown" northbrook. Eat in or Take-Out only.
For Seth, have you tried Salerno's. Originally from Berwyn, but seeminlgly placed forever on Grand in the old Italian neighborhood west of Milwaukee. Their pizza is very east coasty. Thicker, cheesier and (I believe) cut into pie shapes not square shapes. (To digress, when you have kids, Seth, they may appreciate the chicago cut. Number two, Sophie, only likes the middle squares with "no crust". I was the same way, way back when.) I believe that Salerno's will deliver to your Humbolt Park abode as they used to deliver to our further away Logan Square flat.
Still, going to Salerno's can be quite a trip if you are a goodfella's kind of fan. One of my most endearing eating memories was the time that Ms. VI and myself were eating at Salerno's while Junior Soprano and his equally aged cohort remembered of killings past. Sheila and I just shut up the whole meal and listened in on these two hearing impared characters. They recollected (very) loudly on years of mob membership. Sample conversation, "Chuckie was no shooter." I cannot promise you similiar experiences eating at Salerno's, but you might like the pizza.
Finally, pizza aside, I do not necessarily disagree with Seth's sentiment on regional foods. Afterall, I spent my college years in DC trying to convince my roomate that Armands WAS NOT real chicago pizza. I agree that many things do not translate well. The fried seafood at Heavan on Seven is a pale comparison to the stuff in NOLA. So, let me just say, while I agree with Seth on principle, I do not necessarily agree on application.
I'm a little shy to horn in on a discussion by the three kings of Chicago chow, but...
I love pizza - from enjoying those true italian brick oven pizzas to delighting in New York, New Haven, Chicago and dare i say it, Twin Cities varieties. Being born and bred in Wisconsin, a meal is not a meal unless cheese is involved! And few meals feature cheese more prominently than pizza, hence my affection.
I live just a few short blocks from Salerno's and would concur that it has plenty of local color and is a fine suggestion, but I think a better pizza may be had at Oggi's down the block at Grand and Noble. My favorite is the Sicilian, but the anchovies probably make it too salty for the more refined palate.
I am convinved that there is some great pizza right here in Chicago, but it does require a bit of seaching. Best of luck in finding your way to it.
An Italian beef pizza, what an excellent idea for Zim! I can almost picture him eating one of those and saying "this wouldnt be half bad without all that sauce and cheese."
Funny that you brought up Oggi, I was going to mention the Italian beef pizza I had there last summer. It was just Italian beef and hot giardiniera in addition to the tomato sauce and mozzarella. I dont think Id say it was one of my all-time favorite pizzas but Id happily return. Have you tried other things on their menu?
isn't there some huey long quote - Every man a king and a chicken in every pot?
i'd be lucky with "clown prince".
anyway, thanks again everybody for all the recommendations. The sound you hear is me cutting and pasting a compendium to carry with me in the glove compartment.