Of all the things I love about Maine, there is one thing that I can’t get here and that is Chicago-style pizza. Having lived in the Chicagoland area my entire life up until now, I grew accustomed to (and love) deep-dish, cut it with a knife and fork, feel like you swallowed a brick kind of pizza pie. I’ve had a few arguments with Mainers about what the “right” kind of pizza is. Most prefer the thin, soggy, fold in half, New York style pizza. After much debate of Chicago style vs. New York style pizza we ultimately agreed to disagree. I’m severely outnumbered out here so I’m now known as the kooky Midwestern girl who likes deep-dish pizza–a title I wear proudly.
I’ve been to a couple of pizza places here in Maine — Otto Pizza and Portland Pie Company. Both places have very tasty “pizzas.” At the Portland Pie Company you can even select a beer-flavored crust! But to me, it still doesn’t compare to Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s pizza. What I have learned to do when I’m going out for “pizza” is to think of it as going out for flatbread pizza which is basically what it is out here anyway. Once I stopped expecting to get my Midwestern version of pizza I was actually able to enjoy it.
A good trade-off to not having Chicago-style pizza is how ubiquitous lobster is out here. Nearly every restaurant here in Maine has at least one lobster dish on their menu, and I’m well on my way to trying them all. I feel a bit like Bubba from Forrest Gump when I list all the different kinds of lobster dishes I’ve tried so far: lobster rolls (butter and mayo varieties), lobster bisque, steamed lobster, baked lobster, lobster mac & cheese, lobster tacos, lobster and pasta, and lobster salad. I love lobster so at least I’m in the right place for that. Now if only I can find a good substitute for another Chicagoland staple–Portillo’s, I’ll be all set!
What are some of your favorite dishes from your hometown? What’s been a good trade-off for you in your new city?