Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Taste of Home at Home: Lou Malnati's Deep Dish Pizza

A new theme seems to be recurring in my recent blog posts, and I apologize if it becomes a little redundant. Yes, I continue to be deeply and lovingly immersed in poop, breast milk, diapers and beautiful grunting, squirming babies. As duly noted in prior posts, my going-out-to-eat life has come to a temporary standstill, but that doesn't mean that when I have a few semi-lucid moments in between the eight daily feedings I have been attending to I won't try to write something about what I've been eating.

The other day a great thing happened to our household. I woke up from one of those rare stretches of sleep that lasted for more than two hours and came downstairs at the respectable hour of one in the afternoon. I opened the blinds to be greeted by another sun-shiny Colorado day and on the porch spied a pile of boxes. Among them was a box from none other than Lou Malnati's pizza of my native Chicagoland. I pinched myself and shook myself awake because the line between dreaming, sleep walking and being awake is fuzzy at best when you are caring for newborn twins. Once I was more or less fully aware I realized that in that box was a pie packed in dry ice from one of Chicago's greatest pizza joints.

It is not unusual for Chicagoans to ship their food around the country on dry ice. You can get everything from Italian beef and ribs to burgers and hot dogs. It is understandable because as I have mentioned before (in my search for a decent beef in this town) it is often very hard to get a proper Chicago-style meal anywhere outside of Chicago. And likely the hardest of all Chicago-style meals to re-create outside of Cook County is the deep dish (or stuffed) pizza. (Note on behalf of my friend Al: Deep dish is different than a stuffed pizza in that a stuffed has another layer of crust on top, where a deep dish is simply a thick stack of cheese and meat and sauce in a deep pan.)

The message on the box from our dear friends read: "Congratulations...! This is to keep up your strength!!" As we all know, there is really nothing like a deep dish sausage pizza for developing or maintaining strength-- and with newborn twins dictating my every last bit of my energy expenditure, I figured I would easily need two or three slices of deep dish fortification.

What's more, Lou and the crew were nice enough (you shouldn't have--really) to include the Nutrition Facts with the order. Each slice is considered a full serving so it's nice to know that with three slices I would be able to get 99% of my daily Saturated Fat needs along with almost 800 calories (e.g, pure strength). That saves a little room for the dessert cookie they sent as well.

Of course any time you are citing Nutrition Facts like these you can almost guarantee that the food will be good. Lou Malnati's serves a great deep dish pizza, and while I am decidedly non-committal as to my favorite Chicago-style pizza, this one is up there.

I turned on the oven, unwrapped the pizza and forty minutes later I had a steaming Lou Malnati's pizza on my counter. It really was that simple. The layers of this pizza are as follows from the bottom up: thick and crispy crust, dense mozzarella cheese and a disc of sausage all topped by a simple, chunky tomato sauce. The best part of course is the layer of sausage.

Being that every single square inch of surface area (π * d) is covered in sausage, every bite is full of sausage flavor. The sauce got a little watery what with the freezing I imagine, but still had that same light and fresh taste that balances the inch and a half of heavy cheese and sausage underneath. The crust was perfectly flaky and crispy. It was in the end a great pizza and not unlike being at Lou Malnati's itself.

Now properly fortified-- Chicago-style-- with goopy cheese, buttery crust and meaty sausage I was ready for whatever these boys had in store for me next --that is, if I could have only managed to get out of my chair. In fact in my excitement of eating such great pizza I went for that fourth piece, thus tipping the scales (literally) in the direction of sloth-like apathy. Lesson learned: The line between strength and somnolence is a fine one.

Whether like me you are from Chicago and miss the food there dearly, or if you've never had a real Chicago style pizza, visit Lou Malnati's site and place an order for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


  1. Thanks for the honorable mention. It's clear we're going to need to make you a pizza and bring it over to meet those twins...

  2. My least favorite part of living in Chicago for 10 years was the pizza. I prefer mine thin and lightly cheesed. To quote Zsa Zsa Gabor (as I so often do) "New York is where I'd rather stay...

    With that said, have you tried Aurelio's Pizza on Hampden (at Happy Canyon)? It appears to be a western outpost of a Chicago pizza institution.

  3. Deep dish pizza is the best for refueling when taking care of twins! Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your experience and pictures - it certainly looks like it was tasty :)

  4. Didn't know there was an Aurelio's here, though I remember them for their thin crust. Thanks for the tip. I'll have to check them out.

    And as far as the ridiculously gluttonous pizzas in my hometown I always like to quote an infamous corrupt alderman of years past: "Chicago ain't no sissy town."

  5. Cant take my eyes from ur clicks,soooooo delicious and absolutely irresistible pizza..

  6. Congrats- I'm not from Chi-town or anywhere like that, but being a Denver native Walnut Room is the best I've found. Love me some goofy hippy pie, with actual nuts on it. I know, WEIRD.

  7. Have you tried Rosati's pizza at Wadsworth and Church Ranch Road? We used to have their pizza in Chicago and it was no match for Gino's. Tried it here and it is pretty good.



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