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Looking for Local Food fares of Indy and Chicago

I am a Philly guy, my family and I have a Super Bowl Party every year. During which we have local foods of the participating teams. Such as Some of previous years, New England Clam Chowder, Philly Cheesesteaks etc.

We would like to hear from Indianapolis residents and Chicago Residents, As far as I can see we are looking at Deep Dish Pizza and probably Chili but haven't really found anything for Indy yet.

All help would be appreciated.

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  1. I've been thinking about this myself. Breaded tenderloin sandwiches? Fried catfish? Popcorn?

    1 Reply
    1. re: myplateoryours

      Oh I'd go for tenderloins, they are not definitively Indy but I can't think of anything that is but they are certainly a Mid-West thing.

    2. For Chicago

      Chicken Vesuvio
      Italian Beef Sandwiches
      Deep Dish Pizza
      Chicago Hotdogs

      Indiana, thats a hard one, Corn chips? lol

      1 Reply
      1. re: jillhil1

        Chicago - Eli's cheesecake for dessert! Basically a graham cracker crust cheesecake with a thick, dense cheesecake and fruit toppings. Bratwurst cooked in beer also. You need celery salt and buns with poppyseeds on them (Rosen's locally) and your hotdogs should be from Vienna. Call Garrett's popcorn and find out how they make the wonderful caramel popcorn they sell throughout the city (and post the recipe). Italian water ices would also be a good dessert suggestion.

      2. Definitely go with the breaded pork tenderloins for Indianapolis. That is the signature sandwich of almost all the sports bars there. If you need help, here it is...

        My Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Recipe Tutorial

        Here is another tutorial

        Instead of making large sandwiches I have been toying with the idea of making miniature pork tenderloin sandwiches by cross cutting the tenderloin in about 1/4" slices, pounding them flat to no more than 3" in diameter then breading and frying them and serving with those small heat and serve dinner rolls. That way you can have a variety of foods appetizer style. One regular pork tenderloin sandwich would fill you up.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Davydd

          Here is my follow up. Check the photo and check my web page on how they were made.


        2. For Chicago, DEFINITELY the pizza!

          The most popular places here in Chicago for deep-dish pizza - both the double-crust "stuffed" pizza and the thicker-single-crust "pan" pizza - sell them via the Internet, shipping them partially baked and frozen, packed in dry ice.

          Giordano's (stuffed pizza):

          Lou Malnati's (pan pizza):

          Gino's East (pan pizza):

          Edwardo's (stuffed pizza):

          1. Not a resident of Chicago or Indy, but you might consider the "Italian Beef" sandwich. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_.... And I would serve one of Indiana's canned foods, Van Camp's Beans.

            1. For Indy, Persimmon Pudding, or any dessert made with persimmon pulp.

              5 Replies
              1. re: pikawicca

                Come to think of it, didn't Tallent have a great persimmon bread pudding on their late fall dessert menu? I have to take a dessert to a similarly-themed super bowl party, and will try to find a recipe for this.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  There is a recipe for Persimmon Buttermilk Pudding in the dessert cookbook masterpiece, Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax. (You should also know that the first sentence in the recipe says, "Persimmons are best in the fall".)

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    Thanks for the recipe heads-up. I actually have this cookbook, and the recipe looks good -- I like the idea of buttermilk in this. I live 50 miles south of Indianapolis. Around here we can buy frozen persimmon pulp year-round; it's actually as good as fresh, IMO.

                  2. re: pikawicca

                    I'm not positive, but I think that Krissy Tallent may have done the persimmon bread pudding for Indy Dine Magazine and there may be a recipe there. Or you could ask her. There is also a recipe for persimmon trifle from BLU Culinary Arts on the Bloom Magazine site (magbloom.com.)

                    1. re: myplateoryours

                      Thanks for the suggestions. The trifle sounds interesting (and quite different from the usual persimmon fare). I think I'll go with that.

                2. Chili? Chicago? Nah...

                  First on my list would be Chicago-style hot dogs. For the hot dogs you'll need to get Vienna brand dogs, S. Rosen "Mary Ann" poppyseed buns, neon-green relish, marinated hot "sport" peppers, and celery salt. Lots of other condiments too, but these are the ingredients unique to Chicago-style dogs.

                  And I agree with others on serving Italian beef. I'm sure if you do a search here or on other foodie sites (eGullet, LTHForum, etc), you'll find a good recipe for the beef and jus. You'll also need Gonnella buns and spicy giardinera.

                  However, even though it's classic Chicago, I wouldn't do pizza. "Chicago style" is very difficult to make at home, and the frozen pizzas are horribly expensive and poor imitations of the originals.

                  As for Indianapolis, nothing comes to mind. If you want something unique to Indiana, the only thing I can think of is Orville Redenbacher popcorn. But I like the idea of breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches, it's something I personally associate with central Indiana, even though they are also found in central Illinois and eastern Iowa...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: markh

                    When I think of Indiana I think of corn. And I'm bringin' a nice big pot of corn chowder to represent the AFC at the party I'll be attending (full of Bears fans). If my beloved Patriots had just held on a little longer Sunday night, I'd be bringing my clam chowda, which was a big hit two years ago ...

                  2. Indy Eats:

                    White Castle restaurants are all over Indy, so maybe some sliders. I know that you can get boxes of frozen sliders online.

                    As to desserts, sugar cream pie is definetly a Indiana traditional favorite.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: corabeth

                      White Castle restaurants are also all over Chicago, too, so if your crowd includes Bears fans as well as Colts fans, sliders might appeal to both.

                      (FWIW, White Castle is a national chain, and the first White Castle opened in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921.)

                      1. re: corabeth

                        Ugh. White Castle. I actually want to watch Super Bowl XLI, not sit on the can for two hours ...

                      2. Here ya go for the Italian Beef. Tried this one last night although in the crockpot. Deelish!
                        "da Best" Chicago-style Italian Beef Recipe #95534
                        Tender, garlicky and full of oregano 'n stuff! Start this one a day ahead; the beef slices need an overnight stay in da gravy to be at their best. And please don't overcook the roast! As it rests right out of the oven and as it's reheated it'll stop mooing! Serve on crusty Italian sandwich rolls; add sauteed peppers if you like, but too much more and it starts looking like a Philly steak 'n cheese, a whole other beast. Prep time includes overnight marinating.

                        by EdsGirlAngie



                        ½ day ½ day prep

                        1 (5
                        lb) rump roast (please don't use chuck roast, too stringy and greasy)

                        teaspoon garlic powder

                        teaspoon dried oregano

                        teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

                        Da Gravy
                        cups boiling water

                        beef bouillon cubes

                        teaspoons dried oregano

                        teaspoon dried thyme

                        teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper, to taste

                        teaspoon Tabasco sauce

                        cloves garlic, minced

                        tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

                        salt (bouillon can be salty - taste first!)

                        Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
                        Sprinkle the roast with garlic powder, oregano and pepper, then cook roast, uncovered, in a shallow roasting pan, about 30 minutes per pound.
                        Roast will be very rare-- don't overcook it!
                        Let cool slightly, then thinly slice.
                        Add to the roast's pan drippings: the boiling water, bouillon cubes, oregano, thyme, pepper, Tabasco sauce, garlic and Worcestershire sauce.
                        Simmer for 20 minutes, scraping up the browned bits.
                        Taste for salt and add some if you wish.
                        Add the sliced beef; cover and marinate in da gravy overnight.
                        Reheat the next day and serve in crusty Italian sandwich rolls

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DetectDave

                          I just made this today to prepare for my super bowl party. WOW! Da Gravy is AWESOME! This is the closest I've ever had to my favorite childhood restaurant in the burbs of Chi-town (Pop's in Palos Park) I can't wait until game time!

                        2. I forgot to add for Indiana: Shagbark hickory syrup!! Drizzled on sweet potato fries, or even on persimmon pudding. http://myplateoryours.typepad.com/my_...

                          1. I found this article on the Hungry Hoosier blog, pretty much confirms what has been said here (tenderloins, sugar cream pie) ....http://scotthutcheson.typepad.com/the...

                            Also, companies with headquarters in Indiana:
                            Hurst Beans http://www.hurstbeans.com/
                            Maple Leaf Farms duck http://www.mapleleaffarms.com/index_f...
                            and several popcorn companies....

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: prose

                              Corn chowder. Make corn chowder. Get creative, people. ... Nobody's going to be impressed if you bring "maple syrup from Indiana" ...

                              Look, I googled this in 4 seconds:

                              1. re: ML in Naperville IL

                                Just fyi, shagbark hickory syrup is not maple syrup from Indiana. It's not tapped from a tree, it is made by steeping shagbark hickory bark in syrup. It isn't really just sweet, it's more complex than that, with almost a sharp edge to it. It is a traditional Indiana thing, is used as an ingredient by many local chefs who want to highlight local Hoosier food, was written up pretty extensively in Gourmet, among other places, and I think it is currently produced exclusively in Brown County, south of Indy.

                                You wouldn't want to bring it by itself, of course, but as an ingredient in a dish. When Slow Food Bloomington held its fall harvest festival to showcase Indiana food, sweet potato fries with shagbark hickory syrup were the best seller. For a Super Bowl party it might make more sense to cut the sweet potatoes into wedges and roast them til crispy, then glaze them with the syrup. You might want to try it before you decide that nobody will be impressed by it.

                                Your corn casserole sounds lovely, in a have-a-heart-attack kind of way, but I am not sure that putting "Indiana" in the title makes it a recognizably Hoosier dish. The thing about Hoosiers and corn is that we know it tastes best in summer, fresh from the farmers market or roadside stand. Markh (below) is right that the way to eat it is on the cob, but not in February. We do winter casseroles like the one you suggest, but doesn't everyone?

                                1. re: myplateoryours

                                  Super Bowl food often IS have-a-heart-attack kind of food. It's a tough day for food snobs, I'm realizing ...

                                  I want to watch the game, not spend two hours explaining to other guests what shagbark hickory syrup is, and why I brought sweet potatoes to a Super Bowl party ...

                                  1. re: ML in Naperville IL

                                    If you had ever tasted shagbark syrup, you wouldn't be so flip; your guests will be begging you to tell them what the wonderful flavor is.

                                  2. re: myplateoryours

                                    The shagbark hickory syrup is truly Hoosier in that it is claimed that Hickoryworks is the only one that makes it. But it is rather finite in its availability and is shipped mail order all over the country. I wouldn't be surprised if more Manhattenites than Hoosiers have actually tasted it.

                                    1. re: Davydd

                                      This is so weird, I lived in Indiana for 8 years and never heard about this! I feel like I missed out. Gonna have to track it down now...

                              2. Corn chowder? I thought the Patriots lost! That's like bringing Philly cheesesteaks made with a Chicago-style beef preparation!

                                If you're gonna do something corn-related, at least do something that is common in central Indiana. How about corn-on-the-cob, quickly boiled then dunked in a shallow bowl of melted butter, and finally sprinkled with salt.

                                Or Orville Redenbacher popcorn...

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: markh

                                  Corn-on-the-cob in the Midwest in February?

                                  Didn't think 'corn chowder' was a New England-centric dish. You're trying to tell me that people in Indiana don't make soup out of corn? ...

                                  1. re: ML in Naperville IL

                                    > Didn't think 'corn chowder' was a New England-centric dish.

                                    Maybe it depends on whether you pronounce it CHOW-DAH. ;)

                                    1. re: ML in Naperville IL

                                      Yes, we make soup out of corn, but we don't call it chowder!!! I guarantee you, if your Super Bowl party is in DuPage County, saying you brought chowder will result in more than one person re-living the 1986 Super Bowl...Bears 46, Patriots 10. Da Bears!

                                      In all candor, if I were going to make something corn-related for a Super-Bowl party, I'd probably do corn dogs on a stick.

                                      FYI, I currently live in a town just east of you. At the party I'm attending, we're having homemade Italian beef sandwiches and Vito & Nick's pizza, along with Three Floyds beer. REAL food. Beef, pizza, and beer...all three major food groups are covered. Da Bears!

                                      1. re: markh

                                        Fine, I'll call it CORN SOUP. And I'll bake some CORNbread and slather pikawicca's Indiana shagbark syrup all over it. Does that make everyone happy?

                                        (Corn dogs not a bad idea, actually ...)

                                        Neighbor accross the street, a beer distributor, is hosting the shindig I'll be at. So it won't matter what food anyone brings, we'll all be half in the bag by halftime ...

                                        I'd say the Tom Brady era has made up for Super Bowl XX and then some, wouldn't you? And I'd probably watch those "46 to 10" jokes. The Colts can make a good defense look real bad in a hurry ...

                                  2. My vote goes to Breaded tenderloin and sugar cream pie (we're kind of a boring bunch aren't we?)
                                    How about fried biscuits? - The Nashville House fried biscuits - real white bread dough deep fried and then slathered with apple butter. Can't say that I've seen those anywhere but Indiana.
                                    Fried chicken cooked in an iron skillet?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Spoonula

                                      Definitely biscuits and apple butter. Biscuits and gravy too, but kind of leaden in the tummy for game watching.

                                      1. re: Spoonula

                                        There was a little Italian restaurant in Plattsburgh, NY that had fried bread in their roll assortment that they brought to each table. That stuff was so good! Unfortunately the place is long gone.

                                      2. Get some wax or butcher paper and right before you serve your italian beef sandwiches, dip the whole thing in jus and wrap it up. Sounds like a good party, go Bears....You might wanna put some newspaper down on the floor and have plenty of pepto for the after party.

                                        1. My husband and I go to a Super Bowl party every year called "Dip-A-Palooza" where everyone invited is to bring a dip. My husband every year strives to come up with something related to one the teams, ie Clam Chowder dip & Philly Cheese Steak Dip (yes, you can make it into a dip), similar to what it sounds like you do with your party. He tries to be creative with it. So this year we have been trying to think of something out of the box to make for the party - of course Pizza Dip is always a hit and would work, but that would not be as original as he tries for.

                                          So, we came up with the idea of doing a dip in which a main ingredient is beer, and using Colt 45 in honor of the Colts. So, I think he's going to do something like Colt Cheese Dip... or Colt Battered Chicken (in some form of a dip)... something like that. That was the idea and when I saw this post, I just had to respond and let you know what we came up with.

                                          And you could always serve Colt 45 to drink, to really nail the idea as well. Not sure if it will be consumed, but you could still put it out....

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mwilley

                                            Billy Dee would be proud, please tell me more about philly cheese dip, sounds like something i'd wake up covered in after a night of colt45.

                                          2. I think the quintesential Chicago foods for a Super Bowl Party are:

                                            Italian Beef Sandwiches
                                            Beef and Sausage Combo ( and its pronounced saaasage..)
                                            Chicago Style Hot Dogs
                                            Deep Dish Pizza

                                            Lifelong Chicago area guy here, rooting for the Colts... Go Colts.

                                            1. Indiana is one of the largest pork producers in the US. Breading and frying a tenderloin is OK but like most fried things they don't hold very well. Try BBQing whole pork tenderloins and then slice on the bias for sandwiches. Of course roast pork loins can be done a million different ways are cheap and sit on the buffet well.

                                              If your eaters are hard core try some sagey souse (highly seasoned head cheese) an Iindiana bit of exotica. If they are REALLY hard core, pigs testicles (Prairie Oysters) are something to horrify those sissy Bears fans. Of course pork rinds come in lots of flavors.

                                              Don't forget to invite your cardiologist

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: gargantua

                                                It's "hog fries" in Indiana. soaked in salt water overnight, slice and then dip em in "swamp batter" made with garlic and onions and deep fried.
                                                not for the squeamish

                                              2. Ex-Indiana boy here, just dropped in from SoCal to see what the Indy fans were gonna cook. Persimmon pudding is a wonderful suggestion - just wish there were REAL persimmons around here instead of those Japanese things. As for the tenderloin sandwich idea, I did some for a couple of parties a month or so ago: marinated two tenderloins in seasoned oil (three parts olive oil to one part hot chile oil, plus kosher salt and some dried herbs) overnight, then roasted them to medium rare (145º internal), sliced them up, and put them on split 2" biscuits with some red pepper jelly. Easy (especially if you're a biscuit wiz) and tasty. Don't know how Indy-authentic that'd be, but after a few of these and some beer who'll care?

                                                1. With a little advance work you could easily serve bear meat in Indianapolis and horse meat in Chicago. I'm just sayin'

                                                  1. How about Mini Ribeye Sandwiches? We eat these at county fairs all over Indiana. Photos and instructions can be found at http://scotthutcheson.typepad.com/the...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: hungryhoosier

                                                      seeking foodstuffs with indiana ties was no problem. it's all in creating a preparation appropriate for the given event. 10-30 years from now, people may forget the final score of the game. but we will never forget the duck potstickers we consumed that night with english style ale! i'm happy to have Maple Leaf Farms in my back yard. Duck fat at the right temperature is liquid gold!