Be sure to check out these famous sandwiches on your next trip, which are must-tries whenever you visit their region of origin.
The Windy City draws large crowds for deep-dish pizza and Chicago dogs, but the Italian beef is a long-time local favorite. Thinly sliced seasoned beef is piled high on an Italian sub roll, dredged in gravy or au jus, and topped with hot or sweet peppers. Absolutely mouthwatering! You can find these bad boys at practically any local dog stall down the street from your Chicago hotel -- plus a variety of other street-food vendors around the city once you get sick of dogs.
If you’ve ever spent time in the Carolinas, you’ve likely caught wind of the BBQ standoff between the eastern and western parts of the state (and don’t get them started on South Carolina BBQ). Visit the state's capital, Raleigh, or stay close to the coast and check out little hole-in-the-wall joints that boast vinegar-based sauces and a mix of dark and white meat. Or head to the western part of the state, which holds onto the belief that dark meat and a ketchup-based sauce is the ticket. We’ll let you decide.
Buffalo chicken may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of upstate delicacies, but beef en weck is an equally famous local crowd-pleaser. Sliced roast beef is stacked on a salted and seeded bun and served with a side of au jus for a simple but satisfying meal.
In the South, pimento cheese goes with just about everything. Use it as a topping, a dip or the main ingredient of a good ole Southern sandwich. Georgia's laid claim to the sandwich as the signature eat of the Master's at Augusta National, but you can find this sandwich on many a Southern menu. Make it your own with additions like bacon or tomato.
You can bake ‘em, boil ‘em, or smother 'em in butter. Or you can add a bit of mayo and herbs to fresh lobster meat for a knock-your-socks-off lobster roll. Eat your way up and down the New England coast on a self-guided food tour. Whether you're staying in Bar Harbor or spending a few nights in a Boston, you won't be far from one of these delicious seafood sammies.
If you’ve ever been so hungry you could eat a horse, getting a meal fit for a cowboy could be the next best thing. Not to be confused in any way with the pork BBQ on the East Coast, Texas BBQ is made with brisket, with sauces ranging from a tomato-based sweet sauce in East Texas to molasses-based sauce in the South and spiced rub in the central part of the state.
Tasting these culinary masterpieces in the places where they were perfected is the best way to enjoy an authentic sandwich experience.
This article is an updated version of my old guest post for Hipmunk's Tailwind< Blog in early 2016.
Headed to Chicago? Let's take a look at some of the best boutique hotels located in and around town for all budgets.
View from the W Chicago Lakeshore. Photo via flickr by micahb37
Located right in the heart of Chicago, the W Chicago Lakeshore is the premiere lakeside hotel in the Windy City. Recently completely a $38 million dollar renovation, the W Chicago is now more stylish and comfortable than ever before. Their stylish rooms are immaculately decorated with a funky fresh modern design that will instantly impress every guest with a sense of style. Want more? The Museum of Contemporary Art is just a few minutes walk away.
Crystal ballroom at the Millennium Knickerbocker. Photo via flickr by hbkim
As the name implies, the Millennium Knickerbocker is a historic hotel full of classic decor that will instantly transport you back in time. After all, when was the last time you heard someone use the word knickerbocker? The hotel highlights include an amazingly exquisite dining hall that if reminiscent of a classic, bygone era will a large emphasis on wood carvings and ornate chandeliers. However the rooms are as modern as they come with all the modern conveniences, spacious marble bathrooms and amazing views of the city.
When looking for a reliable budget hotel chain that won't break the bank? This is where La Quinta Inn & Suites excells and their Chicago Downtown hotel is no different. Located in the financial district, guests here have convenient, easy access to the theatre district and downtown Chicago, as well as tons of great shopping and dining options. Rooms and suites at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown come in a variety of configurations but are minimally furnished, making this hotel the idea choice for the budget-concious traveler who only needs their room for sleeping.
View of (and from) Hotel Burnham. Photos via flickr by bpende
Travelers looking for a nice boutique hotel right in the heart of downtown Chicago action but with a slightly subdued, intimate feel need look no further than Hotel Burnham, a Kimpton Hotel. This 100% non-smoking has enough amenities to making leaving the property unnecessary. Relax with an in-room spa session or be social and meet a few fellow guests at the nightly wine evening. Stay in shape with their fitness center or indulge in excess with their delicious 24-hour room service from the hotel's restaurant. You can even bring your favorite furry friend because Hotel Burnham is pet-friendly.
Suite at the Champage Lodge in Willowbrook. Photo via flickr by discoverdupage
Quietly located 20 miles outside of Chicago in Willowbrook is the Champagne Lodge & Luxury Suites, a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Windy City. This sprawling property only has 38 suites, each of which includes an oversized whirlpool tub, walk-in marble steam room with rain forest shower, stone-encased fireplace, wet bar, luxurious bedding, premiere appliances and the finest toiletries. The spa is one of the main attractions here, however there is also an abundance of scenic trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding located nearby.
White Sox. Hot dogs. The longest street in the world (within one single city). The Bulls. 15 miles of public beach. Chicago-style pizza. Yes, the Windy City is home to many things, and it's important to experience and indulge in as many of them in as possible while here. If you've only got time for a short trip to Chicago, overabundance is the key.
When it comes to Chicago cuisine, hot dogs are one of the city's most iconic dishes. Part of this is undoubtedly a result of Oscar Mayer getting its start way back in 1900. And while they still have a factory here, in this post-9/11 world we live in now, it no longer offers tours. (Because we all know that's the first thing the terrorists will go for, our wieners.)
However, thankfully Chicago style dogs can still be found throughout the city. The battle for Chicago's best dog still rages strong, but that doesn't mean you cannot partake in a few selective battles. Jimmy's Red Hots usually tops most people's top three lists of hot dog joints in Chicago, and for good reason. For over 50 years they've been perfecting that art of the dog and still stay true to tradition by serving all its meals through a small walk-up window.
On the other end of the spectrum is Franks 'N Dawgs, which despite the rough name is actually a rather refined hot dog joint. They've elevated hot dogs to a gourmet level. You have to taste them to believe them! Try the Lamb-orghini, or for a Vietnamese-infused flair, the Banh Mi.
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Pizza in Chicago also has its own unique flair. And much like the rivalry between Nathan's and Oscar Mayer, the feud for the best rages not just between restaurants within the city but also between the cities themselves. While New York goes thin and wide, Chicagoans do like they do with everything and overload it.
The most popular of all Chicago-style pizzas is known as "deep dish," and it is exactly what it sounds like. It's pizza so hefty you can eat it with a fork. It's the pie of pizzas. And there are far too many amazing pizza joints doing phenomenal things to mention. The Art of Pizza is one such place that is doing great things -- you can tell that by the name alone. Another is Burt's Place, which thanks to Anthony Bourdain is now so popular you have to place a reservation -- not for seats but for a place in the oven for your pie.
Other versions of Chicago-style pizza include the stuffed pizza, a mid-1970s evolution of the deep dish, and thin crust -- with crust so thin it's crispy, unlike New York-style thin crust. (It is also cut into small squares, as opposed to gigantic slices.)
Of course, great Chicago food isn't limited to purely dogs and deep dishes. They also have fabulous Italian beef and a wealth of great Polish and Mexican restaurants. If all else fails, just go out and explore whatever establishments are nearby. And don't forget to book a >cheap Chicago hotel to save some extra cash and put it toward that amazing Chicago-style food.