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What to bring back from Chicago?

ClaireLiz Jun 10, 2008 05:31 PM

My neighbor is in Chicago this week and asked could she bring anything back for me - is there anything she can transport to me that isn't too perishable that is good Chicago chow or rather close to chow? Know what I mean? We're in Philadelphia, so it's about an hour flight for her, give or take. TIA.

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    Pete Oldtown RE: ClaireLiz Jun 10, 2008 06:56 PM

    I'm not a fan, but perhaps Italian beef with the juice and fixings. Al's 1, at Ontario between La Salle and Wells (so easy walking distance from many downtown hotels) has a good version and can probably sell by the pound.

    Edited to add...http://alscatering.com/

    1. chicgail RE: ClaireLiz Jun 10, 2008 07:26 PM

      Your neighbor can get a frozen pizza at either Lou Malnatis or Unos/Dues, but if it were me, I'd probably ask for a nice big box of mixed (cheese and caramel) popcorn from Garrett Popcorn. It think it's pretty darn unique to Chicago and it won't be warm when you get it, but it sure won't spoil.

      There are several locations around the Loop and North Michigan Avenue. I did see on their website that they opened two stores in NYC. Now that's a surprise. I hope New Yorkers learn to appreciate a fine Chicago treat.


      1. Kate is always hungry RE: ClaireLiz Jun 10, 2008 09:03 PM

        If it were me I'd ask for a bucket of Italian Beef. It's easily frozen and travels fairly well. Maybe a few bags of Jays potato chips. I'd love some Karmel Korn but unless you eat it right from the store it's not the same. Alas, the bakeries from my childhood are no longer . . .

        3 Replies
        1. re: Kate is always hungry
          masha RE: Kate is always hungry Jun 11, 2008 04:17 PM

          Given that the OP is in Philadelphia, I would not bother importing Jays Potato chips from Chicago. Utz chips, from Pennsylvania, are far superior.

          1. re: masha
            chicgail RE: masha Jun 12, 2008 09:20 AM

            Just about every other potato chip is better than Jays.

            1. re: chicgail
              masha RE: chicgail Jun 12, 2008 11:51 AM

              Agreed, but I grew up eating Utz, so that's my gold standard of mass-marketed chips.

        2. lulubelle RE: ClaireLiz Jun 11, 2008 02:15 AM

          Portillo's has pre-packed Italian beef and gravy to take home. It's pre-frozen, so it's easy to carry home. I've flown cross-country with 5 pounds of beef several times. A word of caution--carry-on, don't check, and don't use it as a headrest in the airport; it will give you a stiff neck.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lulubelle
            JungMann RE: lulubelle Jun 17, 2008 10:19 AM

            Actually I usually check the Italian beef since the stow is usually colder than the cabin. This along with the packs of Vienna Beef hot dogs and at least 2 frozen pizzas from Lou Malnati's or Gino's. The OP should also ask for a package of Gonella or Turano rolls for the beefs just to make it an authentic experience.

          2. c
            chrischris RE: ClaireLiz Jun 14, 2008 09:01 AM

            Definitely Garrett's Popcorn. Get the Chicago Mix. It's a mixture of cheese and caramel corn that might sound weird, but it's incredibly good. I grew up in Chicago, and going downtown always meant stopping for some Garrett's. Now, whenever I go back I make sure to get some to bring back home with me.

            1. njfoodies RE: ClaireLiz Jun 17, 2008 12:30 PM

              Garrett's Popcorn is good as a few mentioned, but there is a Garrett's now at Penn Station in NYC. Everytime I go home, I pick up some Vienna Beef hotdogs, freeze them, and pack them. Can't get them out here and they are a little piece of home that I really miss! Great stuff! -mJ

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