Over Christmas we spent a number of days back in Chicago. The Chicago area is known (at least to those who have any clue) as the home of some of the best food in the world. I have developed three “must eat at” spots when I am visiting my childhood home:

portillos1) Portillos Hot Dogs.
While this place is a hot dog stand by name, it is the home of amazing Italian beef. Now I might sound like a heretic here, but I live in Philadelphia and while I enjoy the cheesesteak, I have always argued that they are a tad overrated. Why? It’s simple. It’s because I have tasted an Italian Beef is from Portillos. To be fair to native Philadelphians I guess if you have never had an Italian beef from Portillos, than you would not consider Philly Steaks overrated.

gene and judes2) Gene’s and Jude’s Hot Dog Stand
Here’s the menu: Double Dog. Hot Dog. Tamales. Fries. You won’t find Ketchup at this hole in the wall but what you will find is the best hot dog in Chicago. Give me two double dogs with hot peppers, mustard and fresh cut fries wrapped in the wrapper and I’m a happy, happy man. Oh, and I think the double dog and fries is a mere $2.

ginos3). Gino’s East Pizziaria
This might be last but it is not least. Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza and rightfully so. I go back and forth between liking Giradoano’s and Gino’s but Gino’s wins for atmosphere. Oh, yes a knife and fork are required.

Unfortunately, I was only able to get to Portillos and Gino’s East this Christmas. So, I must make it a point to hit up Gene’s and Jude’s next time I am home…