Pizza on a Plane! (or: how do I take pizza from Chicago to Phoenix?)
I'm at the Hyatt Regency (151 E. Wacker) and fly back to Phoenix on Sunday at around 5 p.m. As it happens, a friend is having a BBQ that night, and because of the time change, I'll arrive around 5 p.m.
I thought it would be pretty cool to drop in with a pizza or three from Chicago. I checked with the airline and though you can't take any liquid on a plane, you can sure as heck cart boxes of pizza. I'll probably take the train from downtown to Ohare.
That said, where should I grab some pie?
- it needs to be good
- it needs to scream 'only from Chicago' - as in unique
- it needs a shelf life of a few hours (no tuna tartar)
- it needs to be in the vicinity of my transit route
- it needs to be reasonably priced. The lower the cost, the more I can take.
- it needs to fit in boxes that would take up the same space as an average carry-on piece of luggage in an overhead bin. 4-foot wide pies, though party friendly, wouldn't work. 4 or 5 2-ft wide boxes seem more manageable.
Any thoughts? This is last minute so any ideas would be appreciated.
Bad news from my end...
If you are talking about taking the "L" from downtown to O'Hare and hopping on board a flight to Phoenix, you are talking about a minimum of 4-5 hours. No way I would leave cooked pizza "out" that long. Options are asking wherever you get it from to freeze it for you...if frozen solid enough you could get by with out a cooler (just buy one of those insulated bags).
Or, the other option if you want some real good "Chicago-style" thin crust, wait until you land, call Rosati's (a Chicago chain that is very good and has several Phoenix area locations) and pick 'em up hot on the way.
I'm a chicago-native in exile. I'm sorry to say that the Rosatis here in Phoenix are sadly lacking. Rosatis was one of my favorite chains back in Chicago, but something was lost in translation. I'm not sure if it's the water, or the lack of authentic Chicago grease, or the fact that most of the pizza cooks aren't from Chicago, but the Phoenix area Rosatis are just lacking soul.
There are some really good restaurants that serve decent deep dish in the Phoenix area. Vito's is one of them, I believe. For thin crust, Pizzeria Bianco cannot be beat. It is, hands down, one of the best pizza places I've ever had the luxury of dining at.
There is a Connie's Pizza in Terminal One (United) at O'Hare. You should be able to buy a whole pizza there. Connies makes good Chicago style pizza (though I can't vouch for the O'Hare concession). That will reduce the travel time by a couple of hours. As long as it is vegetarian, it should hold for a few hours at room temperature.
I once took a pizza thru JFK (purchased at the terminal) security by putting in ON TOP of the x-ray machine, walking though, and picking up the UNCHECKED box on the other side. Of course, that was 10 days before 9/11!
Pizzeria Due (619 N. Wabash) sells frozen pizzas for carry-out. It's deep-dish, on your way to O'Hare, and since it started in Chicago, it screams Chicago. Of course, there's a Pizzeria Uno in Phoenix, but I've never found the pizza at the non-Chicago Uno's to be as good as at the Uno's/Due's in Chicago.
Buy a frozen pie and pack the bag with dry ice. A buddy of mine took a pie from Chicago to London this way; he said it cooked just fine.