Fave Foods – Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder

I love pizza. It’s probably one of my favorite foods.  I admit to being very particular regarding my pizza toppings.  My ultimate preference is for simplicity.  Just sauce, cheese and fresh basil.  I will eat mushrooms (fresh only please.  No respectable pizzeria should even think about using canned mushrooms!) and occasionally sausage, but I’m super picky about it.   Something I will not eat on pizza ever (and cannot even be picked off because it smells like feet) is pepperoni.  I will graciously allow you to have pepperoni on your half, but don’t expect me to eat it and please keep it from contaminating my side of the pizza.

Other things I will eat on pizza… dollops of ricotta, thinly sliced onions, sometimes garlic, meatballs (again depend on the place). Once I had a pizza with garlic and broccoli, it was very different for me, but I really liked it.  As for crust…I’m a New York girl at heart. If you can’t fold it in half, it’s not real pizza.  And for the record, pizza should always be cut into slices, like pie slices not tiny little squares, thankyouverymuch.  A nice chewy crust is best, but I can now appreciate Chicago Deep Dish style of pizza even if it’s not my first or second choice.

So I just wrote all of these things about my favorite kind of pizza and this blog post is about a pizza that’s completely different from what I just explained.  This is a true Chicago treat.  It’s in a little place that’s been around for years and has a very interesting history.  It’s called Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder.  They have a very limited menu which allows them to make those items really well.   I’m pseudo-apologizing for the darkness of the phots and video right now. This place is a dark cave of a restaurant, which is cool when you’re in there eating, but doesn’t set the stage well for photos.

CPOG has really good, fresh salads.  Even better are the dressings that accompany them.  They have a sweet poppyseed dressing as well as a spicy garlic one.  Put a little of each on your salad and mix it all up and it’s a very good taste combination.

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They are also known for their Mediterranean bread which is a giant flat bread that arrives at your table on a really tiny plate.  The bread hangs over the plate and you rip it into pieces and chow down.  They put an herb and spice topping on it that is full of dried onions, garlic, parsely, salt and pepper and probably a million other tasty things.

This is a gigantic bread as you can see from the photo below:
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No, really, it’s huge.  Here it is in relation to a human.

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(This same human has also requested his own Mediterranean bread on the occasion we bring more than four people to  CPOG.  He loves it that much and he doesn’t like to share. Much like my friend Rob who refuses to share his french fries.)

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(Same human after eating the majority of the Mediterranean bread.  I never say “I told you so” even though I always say “Don’t eat it all!! You’ll regret it later”  Now, I’ll just flash this picture instead of not saying it.)

They are best know for their pizza pot pies (I don’t know how else to explain them).  The pizza comes to you flipped over like a bowl of dough and they flip it out onto a plate leaving it cheese side up.  They come in two sizes, half pound and full pound. (In thirteen plus years, I’ve never seen anyone eat a full pounder!)

Look at this thing of beauty:

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Your options are for meat, meat and mushroom (with a few giant mushrooms) and vegetarian.  The sauce is a thick meaty sauce that would taste amazing on a plate of spaghetti. It’s really a hearty meal.

Here’s a short, dark video clip of the flipping of the pizza pot pie.

The last thing I’ll say is that after you’ve had this amazing salad, Mediterranean bread and then the hearty pizza pot pie, they bring you the most delectable chocolate honeycomb candies.  The waiters guard these candies with their lives. You can’t get more even if you beg for them and forget about finding out the supplier.  At least that’s the experience I’ve had over many years.

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If you’re in Chicago and are looking for a different kind of pizza experience, give Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder a try.  you’ll love it.  Just letting you know, they only take CASH! and the wait can be long.  Go when they open for an early dinner and wave at the crowds as you leave.

CHICAGO PIZZA AND OVEN GRINDER COMPANY
2121 NORTH CLARK STREET
CHICAGO, IL  60614
773-248-2570

And that, my loyal readers (you ALL know who you are) is the latest installment of Fave Foods.

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