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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Food Review: Gino's East Cheese Pizza

The first time we went to Chicago in 1994, we found Gino's East Pizza and it was our first introduction to true deep dish pizza.  We were in love.  The sweet, cornmeal crust, stringy cheese and robust, if not always a little too chunky for my preference, sauce that made our hearts swoon.  We got it again on a return trip and when we found out they shipped frozen pizza, we paid the hefty price tag to do so.  We did this twice, the first time with good results and the second time a few years later, it wasn't enough to warrant paying the price.  On return trips, we found that their quality had fallen from that initial trip.  I don't know if it was a supplier changed or a recipe but that sweet and delicate crust was now just kind of dry and meh.  So despite seeing it in grocery store freezers now for the past 3-5 years, we've been reluctant to try it.

In celebration of our first viewing of Home Alone  (affiliate link)  for the season, we thought we'd give their cheese pizza a try in honor of Kevin.  No faux barfing from Buzz required.

(Sorry for the blur...must've been excited!)
Here's the nutritional info...

Fresh outta the box.

It says to place it on the center rack but I've been burned before by that mentality.  Luckily I had a spare pie tin from Thanksgiving in the kitchen so it fit pretty perfectly in there to give you an idea of the size.

It says to bake it for 40-50 minutes which is the same amount of time you're going to wait in Chi-town because deep dish just takes time.  Problem is, even after 50 minutes, the middle was lukewarm.  So I jacked the oven up to 400 for 5 minutes with a little luck and then broiled it for about 2 minutes which you can see browned up the edges so make sure you cover them like I wish I'd done.

It still wasn't as hot as I would've liked it to be but it was good enough.  I'd say after the 40-minute mark, check the middle and be prepared to turn it up to 400 for 5-7 minutes depending on your oven after covering the edges just so they don't dry out.

So how did it taste?

You can see the thick, yolk-rich dough, abundant cheese and decent amount of sauce.  It tasted like the same thing we got shipped to us the last time we had it.  It was good but not 1994 good.  (But anyone who had Pizza Hut in the 80's can attest their current pizza tastes NOTHING like that anymore either.)   It was fun to eat it while watching the cheese pizza part of the movie and knowing it was from Chicago where the movie was filmed.  If you've never had deep dish before, this is definitely a good one to cut your teeth on so to speak.  I will definitely take the $10 price tag over the $40 one which is what we paid with shipping back in the day.  We may get it on occasion.

I will say we found that going to the burbs did yield us the old school taste.  I don't know why that is but on our way to Woodstock, we stopped at a Gino's and it was like the good ol' days.  So if you find yourself in the Chi, go north outside the city and you'll get a more accurate representation of the days of yore in Gino's East lore.  If you can't make it there, this is the next best thing once it's heated properly.

Deep dish?  New York style?  Pizza is pizza-hand it over?

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  1. Living in the NW subs, deep dish is my favorite. I prefer Lou's though. My son delivers for the hut and I always tell him how they used to have the best pizza around back in the day!

  2. There was nothing like Gino's 1994. The suburbs still do get pretty close to that. But now my favorite Chi-town pizza has to be Pequods by far, of course I'll take any deep dish I can get just about, and this frozen one did satisfy the itch a little bit.

  3. I grew up in Wausau, WI and the only two places that will bring us back for a visit up there is Angelo's, because their pizza recipe has been the same forever. It's a flavor I can't get where I am now, and that makes me sad. And I have tried every pizza place here to get it. The other place up there is Papillons for Italian fries. Thick chewy crust with a ton of mozzarella on top and a marinara dipping sauce. I am just glad that those two places are still what I remember, because it is really disappointing when you have such a fond memory and when you go back to get that again its just..meh.

  4. I agree about the Pizza Hut thing 100%. I like Lou Malnati's to Gino's to be honest. Lou's ships as well, but again, with a hefty price tag. They have a ton of locations so you might be near one on your next visit.

    I have not tried Uno's, but there is one in the burbs that I know of as well as Chicago, but I can't attest to how it tastes.


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