The Ultimate Checklist of Chicago Deep Dish Pizza that You Need to Eat

The Ultimate Checklist of Chicago Deep Dish Pizza that You Need to Eat

Recently, I got to spend three months with my parents in my hometown near Chicago. What started as a two-week trip home for a visit turned into three months, due to COVID-19 and the mess that became traveling shortly after. While my parents and I were quarantining together, one of the small highlights of the week became ordering in on Saturday nights.

As I’m usually in Barcelona, one of my top requests was deep-dish pizza. While I’m away it’s one of the local comfort foods that I crave the most. So of course, I had to take advantage of being in the Chicago area and get my hands on a cheesy pie.

It’s a dish that reigns supreme here will always be sacred to Chicagoans. This hefty pie is unlike any other pizza in the world and puts Chicago on the map when it comes to food destinations. While you can find deep dish all over the city, here is a checklist of the best of the best that will have you drooling in no time.

A Bit About Deep Dish Pizza

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A Chicago tradition, this pizza is unlike any you’ve ever had before. It’s unclear who created it or when, but it’s believed to have been around since the 1940s, or perhaps even earlier. Just like the name suggests, this pizza is more like a stuffed pie than a flat pizza. The crust has a medium thickness at the bottom and is filled in with tangy tomato sauce, loads of melty mozzarella, and toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and veggies. Newer, modern versions may play upon this recipe, especially when it comes to the selection of toppings.

Pizzeria Uno

Pizzeria Uno claims to be the creator of Chicago’s deep dish, even though that fact remains contested among its competitors. Even so, this pizzeria, which has been serving up deep dish since 1943, has one of the most classic versions in town. Pizzeria Uno’s pie is stuffed with cheese and topped with crushed tomatoes and toppings, according to tasty tradition. This pizzeria is worth the visit not only for the delicious food but for the bite of nostalgia as well.

Pequod’s

Technically, Pequod’s serves pan pizza and not deep dish due to its lighter, puffier crust, but the flavors and toppings are quite similar. What sets Pequod’s apart and makes it a favorite of locals in Lincoln Park is the signature “halo,” or caramelized crust. This is the result of cheese being sprinkled all the way to the edge, making the crust sharp and crunchy. And with a lunch deal consisting of a personal pan pizza for only $4.95 during the week, Pequod’s is hard to beat.

Giordano’s

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If you’re looking for a monster pie that’s stuffed to the max, you’re looking for Giordano’s. This co-owners, Italian immigrants Efren and Joseph Boglio, brought this tradition from their hometown in northern Italy to Chicago in the 1970s when they immigrated. Their deep dish is a play on their mother’s stuffed “Italian Easter Pie” and is now a favorite in the Chicagoland area. Giordano’s fills their pie to the brim with loads of cheese and toppings, making it one of the bulkiest pizzas in Chicago.

Bartoli’s

The owner of Bartoli’s is the grandson of the founder of Gino’s East, another powerhouse in Chicago-style pizza. However, this eatery offers a deep dish that’s a bit different from the rest, most namely when it comes to signature toppings. A classic deep dish usually has sausage, peppers, and onions, but Bartoli’s signature pie is stuffed with spinach and cheese on a bed of flaky crust. The sweet, chunky sauce offers a nice counter to the rich mozzarella, creating a perfectly balanced pie.

Lou Malnati’s 

There’s no way I could make a list of the best deep dish in Chicago and not include Lou Malnati’s. It’s known throughout Chicagoland as one of the oldest family-name pizza chains in the city and suburbs and has stood the test of time due to the popularity of its signature pie. The famous “Buttercrust” brings in customers to its more than 50 locations, and many agree that sausage is the way to go here. A thin disc of meat is spread over the entire pie, ensuring that every bite has meat, cheese, and tomato. You can’t miss this Chicago legend!

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. 

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A Lincoln Park tradition, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. is the home of the famous pizza pot pie, a deep dish all of its own. It’s prepared with cheese, Italian sausage, peppers, onions, and homemade tomato sauce with the crust built around it. When its time to serve tableside, the server flips the pot pie over to reveal the hot, steaming goodness inside. There aren’t many tables in this cozy place, so prepare for crowds.

Connie’s 

Connie’s Pizza is a classic in Chicago, a family-owned pizzeria and restaurant chain that’s been around since the 1960s. While they serve thin crust and pan pizza, deep dish is the star of the show here. The secret is in the crust, as the owners believe that no good deep dish deserves anything less than a perfect crust. Once you step into this old-fashioned Italian eatery, you’ll feel like you’re in for a real treat.

Did your favorite deep dish pizza make the list? Let me know your recommendations in the comments!

15 Useful Tips for Productively Working from Home

15 Useful Tips for Productively Working from Home

As more and more workers are staying home and working remotely, those who are used to a lively, social workplace might find the transition to be stressful, boring, or even unproductive.

The initial thrill of wearing pajama pants all day and not having to shave or put on makeup may wear off quickly when you realize that you’re spending more time checking your Instagram or Twitter feed than getting actual work done.

If this sounds familiar, never fear. Here are 15 tips for working from home that will help you be your most productive self (even with those pajama pants on).

15 Tips for Working from Home from Those Who Do it Every Day

Image by William Iven from Pixabay 

1. Set a Routine

One common error people make when they begin working from home is they don’t set up a routine. Not only does having a routine keep you accountable and productive, it helps you from falling into a slump mentally, too. Wake up early enough and set a morning ritual, like having a coffee, showering, exercising, etc. Set yourself up for success by starting off the day strong.

2. Stick to a Schedule

Similarly to setting a routine, having a schedule to stick to will also help keep you on track. In an office, you have set hours as to when you start and finish work each day, so do the same at home. It’s easier to get sidetracked if you tell yourself you have time to finish working later, so don’t fall into that trap. Aim to start and finish working roughly around the same time each day, as if you were going to and leaving the office.

3. Plan your Breaks

Are you sensing a theme here? In an office, you often have scheduled breaks for a set amount of time. Do the same when you’re working from home. Having periodic breaks will help you refresh and recharge for the tasks at hand without letting you get distracted. By taking them at the same time each day, this also helps you form habits and set your routine.

4. Define Your Work Space

When you settle into your work routine, you’ll find how important it is to have a well-defined work space. Wherever in your home this space may be, it should be a place for work and only work. Have all your supplies or equipment here at the ready so that you’re not wandering around the house trying to find things. Don’t take your breaks or eat meals here, just as you would want to escape your desk at the office from time to time. Your home work area should be functional, organized, and separate from all the other activity going on at home, if possible.

5. Avoid Instrusions

To go along with that point, try to avoid intrusions or interruptions as much as possible. It you’re working from home with family members or roommates present, try to establish a schedule or set of rules that allow for you to work consistently until a set break time. Life happens and this isn’t always possible, but allowing yourself to work without a break in flow will help your overall productivity in the long run.

6. Enjoy Your Breaks

Breaks are just as necessary when working from home as they are in the office. They give you time to step away and shift gears so you can come back to your projects with new eyes. Set the clock for your breaks or lunch hour, and really use them to take some time to disconnect or do errands. Don’t feel like you have to rush through them to get back; you don’t have to travel far anyway!

7. Avoid Social Media

Social media can be a real time-waster when you’re procrastinating, so avoid it as much as you can during office hours. Log out of the apps on your phone so that you don’t feel as tempted to check up on what’s going on on Instagram and Facebook when you’re supposed to be working. To further beat temptation, you can download an app like Offtime, Moment, or Flipd that prevents you from logging into your social media apps during work time.

8. Get Out of the House

When you’re working from home, you miss out on the social aspect that an office or traditional workplace provides. Maybe once or twice a week, have lunch or a coffee out, or bring your laptop to a coffee shop or library for a few hours. It’s important to have a routine, but it’s just as important to have a change of scenery once in a while.

9. Prioritize Your Health

Health is wealth as they say, so it’s important to prioritize it when you’re working from home. Make sure you’re setting aside enough time to get out of the house and take a walk, get some fresh air, or move your body in some way. Our bodies need exercise so be sure to wiggle this into your routine when it suits you best. Also make it a priority to eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, as those who work from home tend to get in less physical activity than those who work outside it.

10. Invest in Quality Equipment

As your own boss, it’s on you to make sure that you have everything you need to get the job done. That said, make sure that you invest in good equipment that will last instead of cheaper things that you’ll have to replace sooner. Pro-tip: splurge on an ergonomic chair. Chances are you’ll be sitting a lot throughout the day, so make sure you’re comfortable.

11. Try Out Some Background Noise

Sometimes the quiet of working from home can feel a little lonely or unnerving. Try putting on some music or a soothing sound app that will give you some light background noise without being too distracting.

12. Socialize After Work

Working from home can be a bit isolating so it’s important to maintain some social interaction outside if working hours. It can be as simple as a FaceTime or Skype call with a family member or friend, or actually going out to meet up at the end of the day. Socializing is an important part of maintaining a good work/life balance, even more so when working from home.

13. Stay Organized

Staying organized is key here. Depending on your work, some tools that can help include:

All of these apps can help you stay on top of things, manage your time, and track your progress.

14. Stop at Quitting Time

This is important. Just as you probably wouldn’t stay in the office late every day, don’t do it when working from home, either. When your scheduled work day is over, it’s time to stop and turn off work mode.

15. Log Out

To help you transition out of work mode, log out of your work accounts, like email, social media, or Zoom. Once your work day is over, make it more difficult for people to contact you outside of office hours.

It’s All About Balance

The secret to working from home is finding balance, just like any job. Being able to juggle your work and personal life from home is no easy feat, but it’s definitely doable. If you have any other tips, be sure to leave a comment!

3 Simple Tips for Landing Your Dream Job as a Freelance Writer

3 Simple Tips for Landing Your Dream Job as a Freelance Writer

In the age of digital nomads and remote work, many fledgling writers set their sights on freelancing for the freedom and flexibility it can provide. Who wouldn’t want to be able to travel the globe and earn money doing a profession they love? While many dream about landing a job like this, most don’t know here to start or how to gain consistent work. Here are three tips to get you started on your career in freelance writing that will put you on the path to success.

Find Your Niche

Not all those who go into freelancing have a single niche, and that’s fine. However, it may be a good idea starting out to choose a couple of topics that you’re most inspired by and interested in. By focusing on writing what you know, you’re establishing credibility as a writer and authority in the field. Use these guidelines for picking a niche:

  • What are you passionate about? Do you know all the benefits of yoga and can name every pose? Do you know the stats of every player on your favorite baseball team? If you’ve got the knowledge and passion of a topic, use it in your favor.
  • Look at the market. If you notice that a topic you’re interested in is lacking attention online, use that as your opportunity to step up and become an expert.
  • Find your voice. Once you’ve bounced some topics around, think about what kind of voice you may need to write about said topics. Some will need a more formal, serious tone than others, and vice versa. 

Freelance writing is competitive, so you want to make sure that you have the knowledge and skills that will separate you from the rest of the pack. Finding your writing niche will do just that.

Optimize Your Existing Blog to Get You a Future Writing Job

If you already have a personal blog, you’re off to a good start. If you don’t, now is the perfect time to start. Having a blog that is regularly updated is almost a resumé in itself, as it can show future employers not only your writing skills, but your consistency and professionalism.

Creating a blog and writing about topics you know and love is a great way to start blogging for business. When you start reaching out to potential clients, you already have something to show them that demonstrates your interests and your expertise in that topic. Writing your own blog and letting it grow also leads to possibilities of branching out and using affiliate links and advertising, for profit in the future, which are steps in the right direction towards monetizing your writing.

Bulk Up Your Portfolio

Breaking into freelance writing might be difficult if you don’t have a portfolio or many samples to show potential clients. Here are a couple of easy ways that you can solve this problem.

Write Guest Posts

Usually, guest posts are unpaid but that doesn’t mean that they’re not worth anything. If you reach out to a blog that’s within your target niches, this really helps your credibility as a writer as you publish more content. More than this, writing a guest post will most likely get you an author byline. It’s an incredible opportunity to introduce yourself and your writing to your potential audience as an expert.

Offer to Write for NGOs or Community Programs

While this most likely won’t earn you any money right off the bat, it’s again more practice and exposure. Offer to write for non-profits, charities, community programs, or any other kind of organization that might benefit from your services but doesn’t have the budget. Providing high-quality work to these groups might be your ticket to getting your name out there, and it will definitely help to beef up your portfolio.

Look Locally

One big tip is not to look for work on huge sites or for big companies when you’re just starting out. Reach out to smaller businesses in your community and offer to write something like a newsletter, program, menu, or anything else you can think of. If you do this well, not only will you be able to use this in your portfolio but you also have the magic of word-of-mouth on your side. One happy client locally may very well lead to another!

The Bottom Line

Now you have a foundation to get you started on your freelancing journey, so it’s time to get started! This isn’t a definitive guide, but with these simple steps you can get your writing career going and kickstart your journey towards becoming a freelancing professional. So if you’re ready to take the challenge, there’s a sea of potential clients out there waiting for you to throw in your hook!