Emma here. My dad and I were in the Chicago area looking at schools last weekend before I had to make my final college decision, and we toured the city with my cousin the day before we left. From the shelter of the car, we toured gorgeous neighborhoods and antique buildings. We even braved a windy and freezing but still beautiful walk on the beach by the lake. We ended the day with famous Chicago deep dish pizza(“pie” in Italian. Don’t call it pizza pie, because you’re actually calling it pie pie, which just makes you sound like a non-pizza connoisseur). We went to Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta. We met the owner, Rudy, whose father invented Chicago deep dish at his restaurant, Pizzeria Uno.

The pizza wasn’t even pizza to me; it was something completely different, and completely wonderful. A thick, buttery crust that tasted like pie crust (makes sense!); the first layer melted slabs of mozzarella cheese, green peppers, and house-made sausage; all topped with chunky tomato sauce and mushrooms. Definitely a heart attack waiting to happen, but delicious.

Earlier in the day, we stopped in at Lito’s Empañadas for a light lunch. The good first: awesome beef and chorizo. The bad: Whatever you do, do not order the apple cinnamon. It tasted like candied mush inside a stale tasteless bread thing. That being said, I do highly recommend the meat empañadas. Perfect to warm you up on a cold, rainy Chicago day.

It was a great trip, and the city was made even better through the eyes of a local.