Up until now I have never posted about my dining and nightlife experiences in Chicago. There is a simple reason behind it: I just haven’t gone out much lately! I remember the first year after my husband and I came to Chicago: We used to meet on Michigan Avenue and go to concerts, visit museums or watch movies at the various theaters downtown. Those were the days when Chicago and its all enchanting magic drew us in – and hardly let us go. Sadly, this past year we have been very busy with work – so busy that we’ve forgotten all about the magic and vibrancy of our city. Isn’t that a shame?
Luckily, a first change for the better happened earlier this week, when I was invited to attend the grand opening of Gino’s East River North. Famous for its deep dish pizzas and with a history which goes back almost 50 years, Gino’s East is a legendary presence on the Chicago dining scene, and I am glad that I got the chance to taste some of their creations on this special occasion.
The weather was freezing cold, and I was looking forward to tasting the pizzas that Gino’s East is famous for. I wanted the taste, but also their comforting warmth. My prayers were answered quickly: they were serving some of their thin crust pizzas, which were hot out of the oven and good to keep me warm and happy on a merciless winter night. The margherita pizza was the first one I tried. It had a good balance of flavors, and the tomatoes on top made it fresh and very light:
The artichoke pizza was my favorite. As a big cheese lover, I appreciated the copious amounts of shredded parmesan and mozzarella on this pizza, which blended with the artichokes perfectly. You may remember from a previous post that I am trying to find ways to incorporate artichokes into my cooking. I think pizza is a great “vehicle” for artichokes, and I intend to use this vegetable when making homemade pizza in the future.
While at Gino’s East I also got the chance to try out their spinach and mozzarella sticks served with roma tomato sauce…
…and their smoked salmon crostini. Both tasted as good as they looked!
Along with the artichoke pizza, the BBQ brisket sliders were the culinary highlight of my experience. The brisket was tender and comforting, and the homemade pickles added a welcome assertive flavor dimension, which complemented the demure sweetness of the meat. I love pickles and I use them often, and I thought these pickles were very good and had a complex, multi-layered flavor.
I thoroughly enjoyed my night out in the city, and I can’t wait for my next dining adventure. I think that I should get out more and reconnect with my beloved Chicago, and this is what I plan on doing in the near future.
*Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated by Gino’s East for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.