Oh Dear Lord in Celestial Heavenliness, What I Would do for an Italian Beef

Sandwich that is.

I’m not talking about Fabio here…

There’s been a lot of Chicago on TV this week.  And, you know, I love that with all its internationalism you can get just about any kind of food there is here in DC (if you can afford it).  But one thing you can’t get is Chicago food.

Monday night Anthony Bourdain reminded me that I never did make it to that place that cooks its fries in duck tfat.  Part of the problem was that for a while, the only times I passed it were when I was coming back from the (park district) gym.  Didn’t have the heart to erase all that work(pun intended).

Then I came home today and that one guy who’s show I’ve avoided because his commercials make him look like a douchebag is on the TV eating an Italian Beef (sandwich).    (Parentheticals included for you non-Chicagoans — just know that “sandwich” is understood but not said aloud, right.)  You can’t get those things here.  You just can’t.  You can get gyros and passable burritos, good ones if you avoid places where white people go, and even Five Guys that everybody in DC thinks is so damned special is pretty much just like a normal Chicago old school burger joint (which there are a million of).  But, you can’t get Italian Beefs.  And it’s not that I would want or that my arteries could stand for me to eat them all the time.  Just that they’re good, dry with hot peppers and mayo, and that I can’t get one.


That, and I’d sacrifice a finger for a proper elote.

If you don’t know what elotes are, and your not familiar with non-American Mexican food, any description I can give won’t help you.  I’ve tried before.  They’re corn, usually on the cob, but sometimes available in cups, with Cotija cheese that most white people think is Parmesan when they see it, Mexican cream, which is Mexican and not acceptably substituted with non-Latino creams, and, properly (if you ask me) with powdered red pepper.  They are so, so good.  People have doubted me.  So, if you find yourself among them, it’s OK.  However, no one who I’ve ever seen try elotes has not liked elotes.  They are so, so good.  Did I say that? They are messy.  And, in my last two former hoods, they’re available on the street within a block or two of wherever you are, cheap.  Take one down with a liquado, please.

And don’t even ask me how many times an old dude/lady selling tamales out of a cooler has saved me when I didn’t feel like cooking dinner.

I’d trade in all our Ethiopian restaurants for a little of that.  And that would really hurt.

Oh, yeah, and your “Pizzeria Uno” doesn’t use the same recipe as the tourist-trap original, it just bought the name, and Chicago hot dogs are way, way, WAY better than NY hot dogs, or DC’s for that matter.  What’s with the red sauce on the onions?  Geez.