Whenever I'm asked what I'd choose if I were only allowed one food for the rest of my life, I don't hesitate: That would be pizza. But beyond the mystical one-meal world, it's pizza I return to so often in my multi-meal world for a fulfilling lunch or dinner. (Or breakfast, when no one's looking.)
When a college friend arrived for a visit last week, part of my neighborhood was on fire—the perfect time to get some dinner! Resisting the desire to hang out my window with my cat and try to save our building by pouring Dixie cups of water down its side, my friend and I headed to the best pizza deal in the city, at Edwardo's Natural Pizza.
The first time I ever went to an Edwardo's was in the late 1980s, back when adding the word "natural" in the middle of a restaurant name still was a revolutionary business move. In those early days of low-fat cuisine, when frozen yogurt shops dotted the landscape and aerobics were all the rage, I suppose everyone felt less guilty about ordering their pies from the natural place.
I'm not sure what about the pizza is natural (to be fair, there were vegetables, but also a lot of cheese), but I do know what is expensive—the price. A medium stuffed pizza will run you around $20. I'm not saying that's too much for piles of cheese and tomato, but, well, it's $20 for a pizza. It's a simple food that shouldn't be pricey—that's part of its beauty. But the stuffed kind? Kinda expensive, on average, which is why I don't often order Chicago-style pies. (Well, that and the fact I have a sneaking suspicion it's actually a cheese wheel laid gingerly on a crust and hidden with some sauce.)
But on Tuesday and Sunday nights, the Dearborn Street Edwardo's serves a large thin crust or medium stuffed jobby job and a pitcher of soda for $14.99. (And they say magic doesn't exist outside the Hobbit glen...)
Sensing our mood, the waitress not only brought us a pitcher of Diet Coke (because you know, despite the giant cheese wheel pie, we were being very healthy) but two full glasses of Diet Coke to start with. One delicious large salad (again, futile) later, we cut into the gooey goodness of the Chicago-style pizza.
I forgot how good that shizz is. I mean, GOOD. The buttery crust, the tart sauce, the cheese that's seasoned with...more cheese. A slice and a half in, I had to call it quits. Maybe it was the richness. Maybe it was the voice in my head that, after years of overdoing it with pizza, was screaming "For the love of God, pace yourself." Or maybe that was my friend, and not a voice in my head at all. But I backed slowly away from the deep, deep dish. And digested.
Walking home, we talked about our lives and the fact the fire was still blazing and my street smelled like a giant campfire. I wondered what we'd do if it spread and swallowed up everything, which you isn't exactly an unlikely scenario for this city. But I was tired and had leftovers to put in the fridge (just because I hadn't hoovered the whole pizza in the restaurant didn't mean I had ruled out doing it later).
So I went home. The fire did get put out, and the city started knocking the building down a day later. My coat smelled like smoke for two days, but eventually, that too was gone.
And that pizza? Like the burned building, it didn't last long—in fact, it just bid its final adieu to the world an hour ago. And it was GOOD.
Craving some deep dish? Order one up at the Edwardo's at 521 S. Dearborn St. on Tuesday or Sunday nights for $14.99 with a pitcher of soda.
Erin Brereton is our resident urban cowgirl on a bi-weekly search for life on the cheap. If you know of the mythic happy hour that she missed, do clue her in.