Best Food for Chicago Expatriates - 2002
If Saturday Night Live's Superfans (the portly chaps who worshipped "da Bears," Ditka, and Italian beef) died and went to heaven, it's a safe bet the pearly gates would look an awful lot like this Hayes Valley delicatessen. The walls are a proud, working-class shrine to the Second City, immortalized ceiling to floor in posters of the skyline, faded sports jerseys, and century-spanning advertisements for Chicago festivals, concerts, and art exhibits. It's the food, however, that will truly transport you to the shores of Lake Michigan. The deli's pastrami is duly famous, and sandwiches run the gamut from chicken salad to chopped liver, but the Chicago-style hot dogs are jaw-dropping in their authenticity and mouth-watering in their spicy, juicy flavor. The ingredients are all there: sport peppers, fluorescent-green relish, celery salt, poppy seed bun. Don't even think about adding ketchup. And go Bears.