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Jul 12, 2006 07:17 PM

Chicago Themed Food

I've never been to Chicago (connecting thru O'Hare doesn't count, does it?) but I've got a client who needs Chicago-themed food at a reception (I work for a catering company in San Francisco). The only things I can think of are deep-dish pizza and special hot dogs we once had to fly in for another client a long time ago. Can anyone suggest what foods are special to the Chicago area? I should add the client is requesting 4 pieces of food per person for this reception, and is on a tight budget. Many thanks for any and all suggestions!

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  1. When I was in Chicago recently on a "culinary tour" they also considered Cracker Jacks a Chicago-themed food. They also claimed the brownie was invented in Chicago (which I've heard disputed) by Mrs. Potter Palmer. Also, Kraft Macaroni & CHeese, if I recall. They also claimed the candy bar was invented in Chicago--Baby Ruth. Italian beef sandwiches count, too, I think.


    1 Reply
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      Also, Frango Mints were invented in Chicago.

      Here's a link about the brownie


    2. You'll definitely need Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches (made w/ bottom round roast), with hot giardiniera on the side. Other possibilities include Chicken Vesuvio and Shrimp de Jonghe (you should be able to find recipes and/or descriptions on the web), two dishes that I believe are native to Chicago and rarely found elsewhere.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BRB

        By the way, if you want to order many things in from one supplier, check out for deep dish pizza, Italian beef, Eli's cheesecake, Vienna Beef hot dogs, etc. Lou Malnati's offers outstanding deep dish pizza, and while I hear that that shipped versions are not as good as the ones you get in the restaurant, I hear they're still very good.

        1. The budget "Chicago" menu would consist of char dogs, cheese fries, Cracker Jack, and Old Style beer (or Goose Island which is much better). For extra realism be sure to order some of the freaky green "Chicago Style" relish available at Vienna Beef. Also the coffee should be from Dunkin' Donuts, really.

          1. What about Eli's Cheesecake and Tootsie Rolls (not together, of course...but maybe...?)

            Dunkin' Donuts coffee is supplied by Sara Lee, which I believe is now a Chicago corporation.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cipsi

              Better yet -- Intelligentsia or Metropolis Coffee can give the Seattle folks a run for their money