You know, I’ve been to 30 states and 12 countries, but one city that I have never actually stepped foot in is Chicago.
I’ve passed through the state of Illinois on one of my road trips to the west coast, but never actually was able to stop in this gleaming metropolis, and for that I feel cheated.
Despite this, I still was intrigued upon hearing of a restaurant here in Burbank called Taste Chicago, offering authentic Chicago-style food (and all Cubs and Sox games for you fans). I was even more intrigued to find out that the restaurant was owned by Arlene Mantegna, wife of famous character actor Joe Mantegna.
I didn’t get to hear the voice of The Simpsons’ Fat Tony while I ate, but I was pleasantly surprised by the selection of food here: Chicago-style deep dish pizzas, Chicago-style hot dogs, and the sandwich that I settled on, the Hot Chicago-Style Italian Beef.
The sandwich was packed with this delicious, thinly sliced, tender and juicy roast beef into a flaky soft Italian roll and then seemingly dunked into a vat of gravy because this sandwich was soaked in it.
My first thought upon seeing that was that there was no way this roll would stay in one piece until the end of this sandwich, but I was proven wrong. Bite after bite, the bread stayed together even though it was practically soaked through. My sandwich tray had a significant collection of the dripping (enough to dip the sandwich back into) and still managed to stay together. Bravo.
To make my sandwich “hot” besides just the temperature, Taste Chicago added a relish of sorts containing giardiniera peppers and other vegetables. This was the perfect flavor contrast and the spicy cut of the relish went up against the mellow flavor of the beef.
All in all, I must say that if the actual city of Chicago can present delicious sandwiches as good as the ones at the Mantegnas Taste Chicago, I will be headed there soon enough…and multiple times.