Frank Sinatra's classic My Kind of Town,
makes several references to famous Chicago landmarks as in the line "Chicago is the Wrigley Building," I'd like to think that if Old Blue Eyes were a fan of that city's food, the tune's first line would be: "Now heartburn like this could only happen to a guy like me/And only happen in a town like this."
After all, the Windy City is the inventor of deep-dish pizza and the Chicago hot dog, two gutbusters guaranteed to make you reach for the Rolaids. Today's edition of The Toledo Blade
had a fascinating article on the history of these classic dishes and several others.
One of the most important features of a Chicago hot dog, apart from the truckload of toppings, is the wiener's texture, it should have a distinct snap when you bite into it. One thing that should never dress a Chicago dog is ketchup. Most everything else seems fair game, though. Chicago dogs are dressed with mustard, bright green relish, chopped onions, pickled hot peppers, tomato slices and dill pickles. The one optional ingredient is celery salt, which goes back to the days when the city was a big producer of celery.
I must confess that Chicago's other claim to culinary fame, deep-dish pizza, doesn't rank very high on my list. Nevertheless, it was interesting to learn that what I consider to be a horrible pie was first served at Riccardo's in 1943, and that Pizzeria Uno was started by that restaurant's liquor manager.